Jackie Hook

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Newton Abbot North, District Councillor Bushell Ward Learn more

Stagecoach Response to Complaints about Bus Service 88 and 88a

by Jackie Hook on 12 September, 2018

A number of residents have been in contact with me about reliability issues with the new 88 and 88a bus service. I have had a response from Stagecoach (see below). They initially have been blaming current road works in both Torquay Rd and Ashburton Rd. I informed them that neither of those sets of road works would account¬†for delays of an hour or more. The response “It is proving very difficult to identify what the source of these delays is. Our new timetable allows significantly more time for each journey than the old one, and the only external factor that we can see is the various sets of road works in place at the moment that other reports suggest are causing substantial delays.¬†”

The original response was “Further to my holding response, I have now heard back from our local operations manager (who can be contacted directly using our advertised torquay@stagecoachbus.com address). He advises:

The Newton Abbot services have suffered greatly over the last 6-8 weeks, predominantly because of the untimely roadwork’s that have really hampered our service reliability. There is one lane closed from Penn Inn towards Newton Abbot Centre from just after the lights on the junction to Salisbury’s for approximately 200 yards to where the roads splits towards the train station. This slows everything from Penn Inn, even with queues on to the roundabout. These works were extended but are meant to finish at the end of next week.

The next problem is the longer term roadwork’s along Ashburton Road which is being completed in sections. The next phase of this starts on Monday with three way lights just prior to Barton Drive. This road will become one way for this phase with no access on to Ashburton Rd.

I cannot say with whether our timings are correct as we haven’t really got enough fair data to go on. When we are free of hold ups we will be able to complete some urgent monitoring.

We have tried wherever possible with spare vehicles etc to in-fill any gaps in service and generally help the service to cope.

In relation to Castlewood Avenue, work is in progress with the Council to install an additional bus stop at 7 Castlewood Avenue near Hill Park Road due to a gap between stops there. This has been approved by the Highways department but it will take them several weeks to get a pole installed. In the meantime we have asked our drivers to stop there on request, although clearly the lack of signage will create a degree of uncertainty.

In addition to this response, I have arranged for one of our mobile inspectors to monitor the service on the ground to help identify where any issues are arising so that we can put measures in place to correct them. He is there today and will be reporting back with his findings. I will also re-interate my instructions that a spare vehicle and driver be provided without fail each day to ensure that we can promptly respond to any delays, and am sorry if this does not appear to have happened since my previous correspondence. I would once again encourage people to contact us at our advertised email address torquay@stagecoachbus.com if they have any issues, as they are best placed to respond to the concerns.

I trust that this answers your concerns, and am sorry for the ongoing issues caused by the combination of factors that are not all within our control. We are working towards finding a solution as quickly as possible, and would ask customers to bear with us whilst we do so. Unfortunately our changes were necessary due to poor financial viability combined with Council funding reductions, and if the changes are not successful then there are no easy answers to solve the problem. “

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