New buses launched amid calls for measures to protect local services

13:31 05 June 2013

The sun shone as crowds gathered to admire the new buses.

The sun shone as crowds gathered to admire the new buses.

Archant

Cuts to local network would impact on rural communities, warns MP.

NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has asked the Government for measures to protect local bus services in the next Spending Round.

In the week that Stagecoach launched a £4 million fleet of new buses for North Devon, Mr Harvey has stressed the importance of bus links and the impact that further cuts could have on the area.

With bus services already having faced significant cuts, the MP and other Liberal Democrat colleagues have written to Chief Secretary Danny Alexander to outline alternatives that could safeguard bus routes.

Mr Harvey said: “Good local bus services are vital to connect our rural communities in North Devon.

“Through getting people to jobs, appointments, education and training, they are also essential to achieving the Government’s core objectives of getting people into work, increasing skills and promoting economic growth.

“The Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) was reduced by 20 per cent last year and funding has also decreased for local authority transport services.

“It’s also clear from discussions with local authorities that the concessionary pass scheme for older and disabled people is underfunded and does not cover the costs of the scheme to councils and bus operators.

“Bus links are so important in North Devon, and we need to look at new ways to make sure our rural lifelines are protected.

“I hope the Treasury will consider some of our suggestions – like pooling funding from all the Government Departments that benefit from local bus services.”

On Wednesday, Stagecoach’s 22 new North Devon Wave buses were unveiled in Barnstaple Square.

The buses are built to the latest environmental standards and represent the single biggest investment in Stagecoach’s North Devon bus network to date.

Timetables will see an increase in journeys in the evening and the Scania Enviro 400 buses will operate between Ilfracombe, Braunton, Barnstaple, Instow, East the Water, Bideford and Westward Ho! and Appledore.

Michelle Hargreaves, managing director of Stagecoach South West, said: “These buses are a huge investment and it’s thanks to the people of North Devon that have used our buses for the last few years.

“Without them this just wouldn’t have been possible.”

Councillor Valerie Elkins, Barnstaple’s deputy mayor, had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially launch the fleet into action.

“It’s a fantastic investment for the area,” said Cllr Elkins.

“I hope this will open the door for other companies to invest here.”

Torridge District Council’s deputy leader Councillor Roger Johnson also attended the launch event.

He said: “It was my wife’s birthday a few days ago and we got the bus back and it was great; you didn’t have to rush off or worry about having a drink.

“It’s just a wonderful way of getting around the area and I think these new buses will be brilliant for that.”

Related articles

1 comment

  • Great news, saw the Buses in Barnstaple today. So when will Combe Martin be getting a decent Bus service, after 6.00 PM and on Sundays ? Any time soon? It is summer after all. There are tourists, people working etc. Our Bus service is shameful.

    Report this comment

    J_Harrison

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Other News Stories

59 minutes ago
Jordan Cooper of Tails to Trails is calling on dog owners to be more responsible

Owners of dogs which aren’t good with people or other dogs urged to wear something yellow in new campaign.

Read more
Barnstaple Library.

Councillors question whether there is a need to move North Devon Records Office from Barnstaple Library.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:31
Starr the duck with Barry Hayman. Picture: Andy Keeble

Chulmleigh Old Fair is now in full swing and runs until Sunday (August 2).

Read more
Yesterday, 14:31

Police are appealing to find offenders who broke into home on Exeter Road and took cash from safe - including £11,000 in £50 notes.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00
Lisa Wallis, Georgie Oldfield, Lisa Mackenzie are urging people to sign up for Relay For Life.

Barnstaple mum who survived breast cancer is urging people to join Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life this weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:45
Peter Robb receives his new mountain bike from Mr. Kilpatrick (principal) courtesy of M&E Alarms.

54 pupils commended for 100 per cent attendance - with one even winning a mountain bike.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:42
The Torrington bonfire

Torrington Trumpton village is nearing completion ahead of the big burn on August Bank Holiday.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:43
Chelfham Mill. Picture: Nicholas Mutton

Ofsted suspends school’s permission to operate while investigation gets underway

Read more
Yesterday, 11:40
Benjamin Barton was captured on CCTV carrying out the masked raid (left) and pictured right buying the bag he used to attempt to rob Coopers Jewellery.

As Benjamin Barton, 18, pleads guilty to attempted armed robbery at Coopers Jewellery in Barnstaple, detectives have revealed how ‘bag for life’ and an odd purchase held the key to solving the investigation...

Read more
Yesterday, 09:26
Burton Art Gallery

Councillors agreed in principle to co-locate Bideford Library with the Burton Art Gallery and Museum in Victoria Park.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition



North Devon's trusted business finder