'Bring back our bus' - petition demands return of evening service

Bus users wanting to keep out of the rain in Sidmouth have called for a shelter to be reinstalled.

A Stagecoach bus - Credit: Archant

More than a thousand people have now signed a petition against Stagecoach’s cuts to its bus service between Sidmouth and Sidbury. 

From Sunday, July 31, the number 9 buses from Sidmouth to Sidbury and Honiton stopped running after 7pm. 

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and the MP for East Devon, Simon Jupp, have both raised their concerns with Stagecoach. 

The online petition has been launched on Change.org by local resident Corinne Sycamore, and she is also collecting signatures on paper petitions from people who do not use the internet.   

Corinne Sycamore of Potburys Funeral Service

Corinne Sycamore of Potburys Funeral Service, who has launched online and paper petitions against the loss of the evening bus service - Credit: Contributed

She said: “Sidmouth, Sidford and Sidbury are very much a community, people tend to socialise within the Sid Valley, attending social clubs, pubs, restaurants, cinema etc. Shift workers rely on the bus to get home from hotels, pubs and supermarkets.   

“The buses that would run hourly during the evening have been a way of getting between locations for years and have become relied upon. There is a lack of taxis available around the town in the evenings.

“The road from Sidford to Sidbury does not have lighting or a pathway so is an accident waiting to happen as is the only way to walk back. Drink driving may also increase.” 

She is asking people to write to her at Potburys Funeral Service describing how the change will affect them, so that she can collate their responses and send them to Stagecoach. Paper copies of her petition are available at Potburys, The Red Lion Sidbury, The Rising Sun Sidford, the Radway Cinema, Blunts hairdressers, The Courtyard, The Swan and The Anchor.    

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Simon Jupp said he had met Mike Watson, the managing director of Stagecoach South West, to discuss the issue. 

He said: “Mr Watson is taking the concerns from the community seriously and agreed to explore possible options at my request. I’m hopeful a solution for Sid Valley services can be found.” 
  
In a statement Stagecoach said the timetable changes across Devon are in response to staff shortages, and were introduced in consultation with Devon County Council as well as using its own data on the very poorly used journeys. 

It said: "We will of course continue to review the services along with Devon County Council and are working up further changes for the end of October when we can adjust any of our services."