Using Public Transport
In our Environment Action Plan, there are two actions relating to public transport.
For several years, it has been a concern to the Parish Council that no funding has been allocated to provide a bus service for residents of the large housing development at Matford at an early enough stage in its construction. Without such a service, new residents will have little option but to use their own cars to travel around and so increase traffic congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.
Bus operators are only able to run commercially viable services when the number of residents on a new estate reaches a suitable level. So it is normal practice for house builders to contribute money to local authorities under a ‘Section 106 Agreement’ or ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’ to subsidise bus services before then. Under action ENV12, we encouraged the Parish Council to lobby Devon County Council and Teignbridge District Council for funds to provide such a service. This is ongoing.
The Exminster Community Plan survey in 2019 asked residents to list those features of the present bus service in the village that need to improve before more people can be persuaded to use the bus. Under action ENV15, we presented a report to the Parish Council setting out the responses received and the Council forwarded this to Stagecoach and Devon County Council (as local transport authority) for information. We received a partly supportive but cautious response.
Meanwhile, the Government published its National Bus Strategy for England – “Bus Back Better” – early in 2021. This recommended a step change in the provision of bus services, involving a much closer partnership between local transport authorities and bus operators, to take effect from April 2022. Authorities like Devon County Council have had to draw up a local “Bus Service Improvement Plan”, which includes much of the same ground as our report above. Version 1 was published in October 2021. Devon County Council will be holding a public consultation on the measures proposed and we will advise the Parish Council on its response in due course. The Plan is due to be reviewed at least annually and so this action is ongoing.
National Express coaches used to pick up passengers at the bus and coach stop opposite the Victory Hall, as indicated on the flag next to the shelter. When the current pandemic subsides and passenger numbers pick up again, we will carry out a survey in the village to find out if there is sufficient interest to justify asking NX to resume serving the village.