Torbay Council has been working hard with other operators to try and ensure that bus services can be maintained, following the announcement last month that Torbay bus operator ‘Local Link’ was withdrawing from the fare element of their business with effect from Saturday 1 April 2017.
The local authority is pleased to announce that two new operators, will shortly be running services within the Bay.
Cllr Mark King, Executive Lead for Housing, Planning, Transport and Waste said: “I am delighted to hear about this news. To have two new operators working within Torbay and bringing fresh ideas is with them is very positive. I wish them both well. This is a good day for the bus users of the Bay.”
DJ Watts Coach Travel Ltd T/A Torbay Mini Buses has registered the following bus routes currently being operated by Local Link. These routes are numbers 62, 64 (revised), 108/109 and supermarket services S1-S6 and TC1. The buses will carry new branding under the name Torbay Buses.
Darren Watts, Managing Director of Torbay Buses, said: “It is intended that there will be no break in service. Many of the vehicles and drivers will be familiar to those members of the public currently using these services. The first day of operation for Torbay Buses will be Monday 3 April 2017.”
“Torbay Mini Buses currently specialises in providing mini coaches for private hire work and 16 seat and wheelchair accessible minibuses for school contract work. Fare paying bus routes are a new venture for us and we hope this will become a growing and successful part of our business.
“We have had the full support of both Torbay Council and the current operator Local Link in the registering of these routes and are very grateful for their continuing help and advice.”
At the same time, Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT) has joined forces with a team of dedicated volunteers to take over the running of the recently withdrawn 60/61 bus service between Paignton and Torquay. The new community led service renamed the 60 will come into effect from Monday 3 April and offer passengers a similar service to the old route, travelling from Paignton to Torquay, via Occombe Farm, Preston, Livermead and St Lukes.
A recent transport survey undertaken by the TCDT demonstrated how vital the service was to the lives of vulnerable and older people.
As with the previous 60/61 service, the new 60 bus route will offer residents a Monday to Friday service. The new route will also offer a Saturday service enabling local residents who rely on the bus greater flexibility to travel around the Bay on the weekend. The continuation of the service, which has created a number of job opportunities for drivers, was only made possible due to Torbay Council generously offering a favourable concessionary fare agreement to the new providers, without which the service would not be able to run.
Rhian Keyse, Ageing Well Community Transport Coordinator, said: “We are delighted that TCDT will be operating the new 60 bus service. Our research into transport needs demonstrated that transport links across Torbay are absolutely critical.
“Without access to transport, many of the most vulnerable members of the community say they feel lonely and isolated, which has a negative impact on their wellbeing. This new initiative is a real triumph of community action and shows what can be done by dedicated local volunteers working to solve issues within their communities. The new route will be reliant on the support of the community and we would like to encourage residents to make good use of the service.”
Cllr Mark King, Executive Lead for Housing, Planning, Transport and Waste said: “The 60/61 is a vital route for the residents of Torquay and Paignton and many would be left isolated without this service. The TCDT and their partners have worked hard over the past few months to put this route together and I have supported them every step of the way.”
Country Bus, in association with Devon County Council, will also operate a new 125 service from Stoke Gabriel into Paignton via Marldon.
Unfortunately no companies came forward with proposals to run the existing Local Link 65 and 67 routes and council officers will continue to work with operators in an effort to fill any gaps left in the network.
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