Call for more buses between Cred and Tivvy
MID Devon bus users are growing increasingly frustrated at having to travel in over 25 miles just to go between Tiverton and Crediton.
Turners Tours currently runs a bus service between the two towns, and neighbouring villages, but it only operates on Tuesdays.
Passengers wishing to visit either town on any other day can only do so by reaching their connections at Exeter Bus Station.
Councillor Frank Letch, Mayor of Crediton, is one of those who thinks a better service is required.
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"At the moment, the only way into Tiverton from Crediton is via Exeter, and for people who are not so mobile, it's not good. We want a bus service that will spend a sensible amount of time operating."
The town council is exploring whether the public could pay to use the service that runs from Crediton to Petroc, Tiverton.
"That would be a term-time, daily service getting people into Tiverton for 9am and leaving around 4pm, but we're not sure how feasible it would be."
Tiverton East Councillor Des Hannon said that commuting between the towns by bus is not practical at the moment and anyone visiting relatives in hospital would find the triangular trip difficult.
He said: "In an ideal world it would be fantastic if there was a service between Tiverton and Crediton but I understand that in the current economic climate the council can't subsidise it. But if you've got a relative in an NHS recovery unit it can be difficult; the journey is inconvenient and takes time."
A number of elderly residents who live in Shobrooke and Cheriton Fitzpaine relied on the 347 service, which was run by Hatch Green Coaches and subsidised by Devon County Council. Many considered the service, which ran frequently between Tiverton and Crediton, to be a lifeline but will now need to travel to Crediton to catch a Stagecoach bus to Exeter, which is around eight miles away, before travelling another 15 miles to reach their destination.
The distance between Crediton and Tiverton is only 12 miles.
Cllr Gordon Kingdom, for Cheriton Fitzpaine Parish Council, said: "A bus is important because people need to get around. It's not only the elderly people who struggle but youngsters are finding it difficult as they have to rely on other people."
Pip Gilson, a partner at Turners Tours, which is based in Chulmleigh, said John Richardson-Dawes, senior transport coordinator for Devon County Council, approached the company in a bid to extend the 870 Crediton to Tiverton service.
She said: "We would be quite happy to do it but we would need funding as without it, it wouldn't be commercially viable for us. Not enough people use the bus at the moment and with a lot of our passengers being OAPs we would need funding to do it."
A Devon County Council spokesman said it is unlikely the 347 service will be reinstated and that a daily shopping bus from Cheriton Fitzpaine to Crediton and Exeter and a "fare car" to Tiverton currently operate.
The spokesman said: "In order to achieve overall budget reductions of £54m last year, following the £1.35 million reduction in government support for public transport, we have reduced bus services across the county which were relatively expensive in relation to thier use."