Ottery councillors urge Stagecoach to reinstate late night bus service

Stagecoach buses

Stagecoach buses - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary Town Council is 'horrified' by Stagecoaches plan to cut services around the town.

It was debated at the town council meeting last night (Monday, August 1) after Stagecoach scrapped the late night bus from Ottery to Honiton. There was particular concern that the last bus from Exeter to Ottery will be at 18.40 and there will no longer be a service from Ottery to Honiton at 21.51. 

Councillor Dean Stewart said: "I've been speaking with our local MP, who is also a member of the transport select committee, and we understand they're was a government subsidy during covid that was paid to the Devon County Council, that government funding ahs now finished last month and he is not aware of any other plans to renew it."

A new 44 service will be covering Exeter, Cranbrook, Ottery St Mary, Honiton and Axminster. There will be a two-hourly service from Axminster and a combination of one to two services in the hour from Honiton.

Councillor Peter Faithfull said he didn't see the need to do anything about the changes, given the lack of passengers using the bus.

He said: "As one of the few councillors here who regularly uses the buses, I'm aware the buses that have just started the new timetable were cancelled because they could get any drivers, there is no point putting back the old timetable if have no drivers. 

"Ottery to Honiton there were hardly any passengers. I have been to Honiton to Axminster and I was the only passenger from Honiton high street to Axminster railway station, and its not economically viable to drive all the way to Axminster and all the way back with no passengers, nobody paying to be on that bus, so I do see the need to do something but to sit there and say we want the old timetable, try getting the bus more often."

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However, mayor Vicky Johns said: "We aren't criticising the drivers what we are saying is, Stagecoach cant just suddenly slash services that people need, if you have a job in Ottery that works late and the late night service is cancelled, what do you do."

Councillors agreed they were going to write to Devon County Council and Stagecoach urging them to keep the late night bus services.