At Devon County Council yesterday, I asked Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Transportation, if the Council would support peak services on the X52 Jurassic Coaster bus services, which are threatened with closure by First Wessex.
First Wessex proposes to run only two off-peak buses a day in each direction from September, instead of the current five peak and off-p
eak services. While better than nothing, these will be inadequate for people in Seaton and Beer who want to work or study in Exeter or get to appointments at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Relying just on these services, people would barely be able to spend an hour in Exeter before having to get the bus back.
This is the only service direct from Seaton and Beer to the RD&E and this narrow window will not enable people to get to appointments. Using other services, people in Beer who want to get to the hospital will have to change twice in Seaton and Exeter Bus Station and the journey which currently takes an hour will take more than two hours each way, making it arduous and impractical for many people.
Councillor Croad initially replied to suggest that people could use these alternative routes, but in a supplementary question, I suggested that since hospital services are increasingly being centralised in the RD&E, the withdrawal of direct bus services discriminates against people without cars in communities like Seaton and Beer which are on the periphery of Devon. Seaton is further from the RD&E than any other town in Devon and has the oldest population profile of any town in Devon. We need direct public transport links to the acute hospital in Exeter.
Councillor Croad then said that if I would meet him afterwards, he would discuss the issue with me. We later talked and he agreed to look further at the question. My supplementary question and the reply can be viewed here 1:47:50 to 1:49:15.