• West Hill bus - major inconvenience to save five minutes

    2nd September 2013 | News | Claire
  • This is because when the service change was implemented in May, many Exeter schools students would have been on study leave and an accurate picture of the number of children having to get off instead, at either Hand and Pen (Whimple) or Ottery, would not have been obvious.

    I share parents very understandable concerns about the forthcoming dark evenings where children as young as 11, will either have to hang around in Exeter, to catch the 16.40 bus, or parents will have to drive to Whimple or Ottery to collect them if they catch the earlier bus, which also may involve hanging around in the dark.

    Parents have told me that driving to collect children from Whimple or Ottery is often not convenient as many work, so the only option will be for those children will be to catch the 16.40 bus at the end of a long school day. In the winter this is an unnecessary risk.

    I believe it is a risk that could and should be avoided and I believe that Devon County Council should be commissioning a bus service that people need and want, and not simply hiding behind the legal obligations of what they must provide. 

    There was no formal consultation before the change took place. Instead, the new timetable was launched as a big improvement to the service. But the changes have resulted in a poorer service for West Hill.

    Officers have agreed to provide me with passenger numbers getting on the bus at Hand and Pen, Whimple.

    I believe that passenger numbers getting on at Hand and Pen are very low, yet DCC refuses to re-route this one service through West Hill, saying that the service through Hand and Pen is faster for passengers travelling to Ottery and Honiton.

    OSMTC council wrote to the head of transportation in July but the request to re-route the bus through West Hill was also refused.

    I have studied the timetable and the time saved by avoiding West Hill is just five minutes.

    Given that my numerous initial representations have been unsuccessful, I will be stepping my action on this issue.

    The Exeter schools return on Wednesday and I will be at the bus stop on Wednesday morning for the start of the new term, with a letter for the children to pass to their parents.

    Photograph: The West Hill bus about to leave for Exeter, via Cranbrook.