Connect Bude, the group which sees the importance of connecting the town to the rest of the country/world via rail links held its AGM and public meeting recently.
The key points raised were as follows:
Chairperson, Richard Wolfenden-Brown said Connect Bude now has 311 members and supporters from all over the country, the furthest at present being from Fort William!
Mirchi is offering to distribute a new leaflet designed by two of the members in all their takeaway bags and paying for the printing of a further 5,000 which enabled the group to add the new Corporate Members, update the name of the Transport Secretary from Chris Grayling to Grant Shapps and make other improvements to the leaflet.
Ben Regis of Bude Solutions was thanked for his work on maintaining and developing the website.
The use of the line for daily services from Okehampton to Exeter would cut the number of car journeys to Exeter from North Cornwall significantly. This is borne out by the popularity of the Sunday Service from Okehampton to Exeter this summer with 7800 passenger trips over the period of operation from May-Sept 2019, up 6,500 from the previous year. No doubt the use of the two poster sites in The Strand Bude
and in the bus shelter in Holsworthy helped publicise this service to the surrounding area.
In conjunction with OkeRail, a rail trip from Okehampton to Dorchester and Weymouth was run on September 14 with 450 passengers. Bude and Holsworthy nearly filled Coach B.
Members of the audience who went on the trip reported that it was very enjoyable.
1. To campaign for a fast direct, integrated and comfortable coach from Bude and Holsworthy to link with the new rail service at Okehampton, as the first step to a rail service towards Bude.
2. To encourage GWR and Okerail to initiate more special trains next year in order to demonstrate the demand for the line and to maintain momentum towards the reinstatement of daily services to/from Exeter.
3. To encourage cross-county collaboration between Cornwall Council and Devon County Council in order to further the aims of Connect Bude.
4. To make sure that the recently announced trial ‘superbus’ initiative in Cornwall includes Bude.
5. To continue to support the Northern route to Plymouth via Tavistock.
6. To politely but persuasively demand the sort of public transport that other communities across the country take for granted. Bude and Holsworthy are geographically remote but they do not need to be isolated.
A range of recent reports and comments by leading public figures have encouraged us to believe that the aims of Connect Bude are absolutely in line with an emerging shift in attitude towards public transport policy. The new thinking stresses the importance of local and regional connectivity as a key driver of economic, social, educational cultural and wellbeing benefits forcut-off communities with the added benefits of genuine environmental credentials which are vital at a time of climate crisis.