Sunday, 22 April 2001

From Herald Express 22 April 2008


11:00 - 22 April 2008
Congestion on the notoriously busy Newton Road has forced Stagecoach to re-think the bus routes and services it provides in and around Torbay.Managing director Chris Hilditch has hailed the road a 'disgrace' and blamed constant traffic jams between Penn Inn and Riviera Way for an unreliable bus network.So from May 19, Stagecoach will reduce the amount of number 12 buses running between Newton Abbot and Torquay.
Instead it will increase the number of journeys between Torquay and Paignton.And it is ending the existing number 85 service from Torquay to Teignmouth and on to Exeter.Other changes in the South Devon network are to follow as a result, including the withdrawal of the 12b service from St Marychurch to Castle Circus, Torquay Seafront, Preston and Paignton bus station.It will be replaced by a new 12C service which will run every 20 minutes from South Devon College to St Marychurch via Goodrington, Paignton and Torquay.
On May 19, Stagecoach will also withdraw its number 85 bus which serves Torquay Harbour, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Starcross, Exminster and Exeter. Instead, this route will be met by the 12A and the new 12C service.Mr Hilditch said a new Kingskerswell Bypass is needed if Torbay is to continue to be a viable place to live and work.

He said: "The Newton Road is unreliable. It has a huge volume of traffic on it that would not disgrace a motorway."It's constantly subjected to accidents, road closures and digging up, for hours at a time."Just last week a piece of road near the Penn Inn Roundabout was dug up and the queue went all the way back to Torquay."You cannot run a bus service on a road like that. It's hard for people waiting for a bus in Preston to appreciate the bus is late because of roadworks 10 miles away."We needed to make the network more reliable."He continued: "At the end of the day, the Newton Road is a disgrace in terms of living in a country like this. It's just hopeless."That corridor is absolutely vital to Torbay. You either take people's cars away by force or you do something to deal with the congestion there. You have to do something, you can't just grind to a halt."Newton Road is not going to get any better. I can't see how else it can be dealt with other than to build a bypass."I'm not a supporter of building roads particularly, but I don't see how it can be avoided if Torbay is to continue to be a viable place to live and work, because the congestion is going to kill it."

Other major changes to Stagecoach's bus routes include removing Newton Abbot and Brixham as destinations from the 12A service, and replacing the South Devon College and Brixham link in the 12A service with an extended 66 service.A new 12C service from South Devon College to St Marychurch via Goodrington, Paignton and Torquay will be introduced.The withdrawn 85 service from Torquay Harbour to Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Starcross, Exminster and Exeter will be replaced by the 12A and the 12C, both of which will run hourly services to Teignmouth.The 85A service linking Teignmouth and Exeter will remain, but will be renumbered 2.

Mr Hilditch said there will be more buses between Paignton and Brixham, and more linking South Devon College, Paignton and Torquay.He said: "Generally speaking the loop from St Marychurch through to Torquay and Paignton and then around Waterside, Roselands, the college and Paignton, is usually reasonably reliable."Therefore, we have made what will be the 12A and 12C very reliable and the number 12 will just have to take its chances as usual, because of the Newton Road."

We have kept the same overall number of buses and crews, but we are putting more buses where we are busy and fewer where we are not so busy. It's about adjusting the volume to the requirements."We think the system will flow better for people. There will be buses when they need them and a more reliable service."

For more information about the new timetable phone Stagecoach on 0871 200 22 33 or log on to Stagecoach Devon