Monday, 23 May 2016 05:43

Devon keeps bus services on road

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Devon keeps bus services on road

DEVON County Council has stepped in to keep two important rural bus services on the road.

Service 688, a Dorset-based service which serves Hawkchurch in east Devon on its way to and from Axminster, Dorset, had its subsidy withdrawn by Dorset County Council in April.

The service will be able to continue thanks to a new arrangement between Devon County Council and Dorset Community Transport.

Service 20 from Seaton – Honiton – Taunton will undergo minor changes to its route from Monday 25 July.

Devon County Council has provided an additional £18,700 to keep the modified service running following Somerset County Council's withdrawal of its share of the subsidy.

The service, which is operated by Stagecoach, will no longer stop at West Buckland and the last bus of the day will terminate at Culmstock, rather than Taunton.

Stuart Hughes, Devon's cabinet member for highway management, said: "The subsidies from Devon for these services will enable the continuation of these important links and we recognise how highly they're valued by Devon residents.

"These services now rely exclusively on subsidies from Devon County Council. We have had to make minor changes to Service 20 but that has ensured it is cost effective for Devon."

Councillor Andrew Moulding, Devon County Councillor for Axminster, said: "I have been pleased to support the efforts of local parishes to continue a bus service between Axminster, Hawkchurch and Thorncombe.

"This is an extremely good example of partnership working between Devon County Council and Dorset Community Transport across two counties, with an excellent result for local residents."

Local residents welcomed the commitment to keep the services on the road – although potential passengers face a "use it or lose it" scenario for public transport to be secured for the longer term.

Devon county councillor Sara Randall Johnson said: "The bus company needs to help encourage these vital fare paying passengers to really establish this much needed service for our concessionary bus pass residents and visitors."

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