The 6/6A bus service was discussed at the Bude-Stratton full council meeting, which is probably of interest to many people and tells us a few things we perhaps didn’t already know. All of this information was discussed publicly at the meeting.
By Councillor Robert Uhlig:
1. Stagecoach receives £90,000 a year (£45k each from Devon and Cornwall councils) to subsidise the 6/6A service.
2. Although the 6/6A service is timed to coincide with certain South West Trains services at Exeter St Davids, it is not a rail replacement service that Stagecoach is for any reason required to fulfil. The rail replacement obligation elapsed several decades ago.
3. Stagecoach launched its consultation exercise shortly before the government announced it was investing £170 million to improve bus services. Stagecoach will have known that the government funding announcement was imminent.
4. It has been suggested that there is an element of ‘look what Flybe got when it threatened collapse’ about Stagecoach’s consultation exercise. I couldn’t possibly comment.
5. I invite readers to draw their own conclusions from the items above. I know what I think.
6. Bude-Stratton councillors voted unanimously last night to write a robust letter to Stagecoach to make clear that the 6/6A service is essential to Bude and that, unlike cuts proposed in other parts of Stagecoach’s local network, no public transport alternatives exist for this service. We will also be pointing out that any cuts would not be in keeping with the Climate Emergency Declarations by Cornwall and Devon councils and Bude-Stratton Town Council.
7. Previously, after being approached by several local parents, I proposed a motion at January full council that BSTC should lobby for Stagecoach to move the starting point of the 06.57 term-time service from Red Post to Bude. This service arrives at Exeter College shortly before lessons, but students who cannot get independently to Red Post have to take a much earlier bus from Bude and arrive a substantial time before college/school starts. Given that it’s the first run of the day for the 06.57 bus (it spends the night in the Stratton depot), there’s really no logical or operational reason why it can’t start the journey about 10 minutes earlier from Bude. In January, the council voted unanimously in favour of the motion to lobby for the change.
8. Following a meeting with Bude mayor Bob Willingham, North Cornwall MP Scott Mann met with the Managing Director of Stagecoach, as he reported in a statement published very recently on Bude and Beyond. However, he appears to have missed the point about the early morning buses or been palmed off by Stagecoach: ‘The Mayor of Bude also asked me to raise the issue of journeys for college students in Bude to Exeter. They are 30 mins apart and one goes from central Bude the other from Redpost. This service will remain active.’ The point is that we need the 06.57 departure point to be moved to Bude Strand.