25 Jul 2012
· New and expanded services to deliver vital bus links in North Devon
· Improvements to be launched in September, creating some new jobs
· Pledge to build on track-record of investment and good value travel
Stagecoach announced today (25 July 2012) that it is to launch an expanded bus network in Devon in September, providing new services and creating a small number of additional jobs.
The new network will provide vital bus links in North Devon and build on the company's track-record of investment and good value travel in the south-west.
Stagecoach employs around 900 people and operates more than 320 buses on around 120 routes across Devon and Somerset, and in the past three years has invested more than £13 million in new buses for the region.
The new and expanded services will be operated out of the company's depot in Barnstaple, which currently employs around 120 staff and runs around 50 buses. Around a dozen extra vehicles will be added to the fleet and Stagecoach will also be recruiting new drivers.
From Monday 24 September, the following enhancements will be introduced:
· Service X7, an express direct service, will run hourly between South Molton and Barnstaple Bus Station
· Service X9 will provide a link between Bude, Holswothy, Okehampton and Exeter, with services running approximately every two hours.
· Service 21 will now operate between Westward Ho!, Bideford, Instow Quay, Fremington, Barnstaple, Braunton, and Ilfracombe.
· Service 21A will now operate between Appledore, Bideford, East the Water, Fremington, Barnstaple and Braunton.
The expanded network will bring a boost to people in North Devon, whose services are currently under threat after First announced the closure of its Barnstaple depot. Stagecoach will provide:
· A 20min daytime service from Westward Ho!, Bideford and Barnstaple to Ilfracombe with a 30min evening and Sunday service.
· More links from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple Rail Station, particularly during the evening and on Sundays.
· A 10min service between Northam, Bideford, Barnstaple and Braunton, with a 30min evening and Sunday service.
· A 20min daytime service from Westward Ho! Bideford, Barnstaple and Ilfracombe to Instow Quay and hourly during the evening and on Sundays.
· A 20min daytime service from Braunton, Barnstaple and Bideford to Appledore and a new hourly evening and Sunday service which extends to Ilfracombe.
· A 20min daytime service from Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, Instow and Bideford to Westward Ho! plus an hourly evening and Sunday service.
· A 20min daytime service from Appledore, Bideford, East the Water and Barnstaple to Braunton and West Meadow Road.
Michelle Hargreaves, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, said: "We have a long tradition of operating high quality services for people in the south-west of England and attracting people out of their cars and on to greener, smarter bus travel.
"It has been our ambition for some time to provide a more comprehensive network for passengers across the wider Devon region to improve services and connections for the local community. To that end, we announced in March that we had reached an agreement to acquire First Group's North Devon operations. This would have allowed us to deliver a range of improvements to the wider bus network.
"However, we decided we could not justify further management time and expense on pursuing the acquisition following the decision by the Office of Fair Trading to refer what was a relatively small transaction to the Competition Commission. Instead, we have now registered new commercial Stagecoach services that will extend our network in the North Devon area and provide more journey options for our customers.
"The new services, which have been registered with the Traffic Commissioner, will start in September. We look forward to providing local people on our new routes with a high quality bus service and value-for-money fares."