Have your say about public transport matters!

This page is for discussion of matters already raised on our website or for new ones you want to raise. Contributions will be edited and regularly published for all to read and perhaps comment on further.

First some specifics:

… and now some in-line controversy:

“Many people move to northern Devon due to the pleasant rural environment, low crime rate etc. Property websites usually show the distance from the nearest train stations, and it’s easy to check the level of service at them. For example, a property at Beaford will have the distance to Portsmouth Arms given to the nearest 10th of a mile (as the crow flies, across hills, rivers and woods), but no mention is given of the good bus service that village enjoys.

“Conversely, some home seekers will deduce that because the property is near a main road, there must be a good bus service. I was recently told of a pensioner who moved to a location just off the A377, near Umberleigh, but beyond walking distance of its well served station, on the assumption that there would be a bus service. To their horror, this is not the case.

“Perhaps estate agents should make potential buyers of rural properties more aware of existing public transport in the locality?”

“Northern Devon is a generation behind the times, and is generally lazy. People still think that cars and private transport are the norm and regard public transport as an expensive social service, while the railway is a relic for tourist experiences. This attitude isn’t just about public transport — it is manifest in all areas of business, particularly the food industry. Rural Scotland is very different. The tourist industry here is still based on the bucket and spade era. This is a shame, as the SW could be the California of the UK if it got its act together and made opportunities out of problems rather than vice versa.”

“Two days ago I listened to a talk given by three ladies from the North Devon Hospice, one of whom had attended a meeting of hospice managers in London where one of the London-based managers said that her staff/volunteers have to cover patches that sometimes require them to walk four streets away by the time they have seen all their patients for the day whereas in northern Devon their peers are driving typically 100 miles per day to cover the area between County Gate and Welcombe. It’s very easy for this mode to become habitual and therefore to reach first for the car key rather than the bus/train fare when any journey is required. We need a practical and effective way out of the ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation that is public transport usage (or not) in northern Devon. Otherwise the powers that be in London (national government) and Exeter (DCC) will decide that there simply aren’t enough of us in this large area to bother with public transport at all.”

“Despite the rural nature of northern Devon, the great majority of folk here live in urban areas. Also, average incomes are low, while the proportion of the population not in work — unemployed, retired, students etc. — is high. Providing public transport is more challenging than in big cities, but it’s even more of a necessity. We hear a lot about fuel poverty, but here we have transport poverty, with many people forced into running cars that they cannot afford. The scattered geography of the area also means transport is more important than in a more densely populated area. This, along with high housing costs, impacts the rest of the economy. For example, I am told that the range of goods in supermarkets in northern Devon is very different from that in the SE.”

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