Ladies get to the church on time with Ottery bus change

The ladies of Ottery will be able to get to the church on time after the council altered the new bus timetable for them.

One of the conditions of Sainsbury’s building its new supermarket on Hind Street was that it contributed to an improved local bus service for the town.

But when the new timings came out for the 381, it meant six elderly women would miss their weekly service at the parish church.

They had been going to Holy Communion on a Thursday morning as the town bus didn’t run on a Sunday.

The Dartline run service passes the church at 9.30am, with communion starting at 9.45am. But the new timetable due to come in at the end of this month, operated by new operator Sovereign, ran 15 minutes later, meaning the ladies would miss the church service.

Once the church became aware of this Wilfred Reynolds, an assistant churchwarden, got in touch with local county councillor Roger Giles.

He said they look forward to the opportunity of attending a midweek service and were most concerned that they will be unable to come to church on a Thursday.

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He then contacted Devon County Council (DCC), who is in charge of public transport, to see if they could change things back.

John Richardson-Dawes, the principal transport coordinating officer at DCC, agreed earlier this week to alter the service back to accommodate the church-going ladies.

He said the later start was to try an accommodate bus pass holders, and was unaware of those who used to attend the Thursday communion service.

But having spoken to operators Sovereign he confirmed the 381 will run 15 minutes earlier.

One of the planning conditions on Sainsbury’s building a store in the town was it funded an additional three days for the local bus service.

It currently runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings but at the end of the month a low-floor vehicle will run every day except Sundays.