|Notes of the meeting of the Newton Abbot Local Transport Forum held on Wednesday 18th April 2012|
NOTES OF THE EIGHTEENTH MEETING OF THE NEWTON ABBOT LOCAL TRANSPORT FORUM HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, TOWN HALL, 9 DEVON SQUARE, NEWTON ABBOT ON WEDNESDAY 18TH APRIL 2012 AT 7.00 p.m.
Chairman: Councillor Mrs Daphne Watts (Newton Abbot Town Council) Presiding
Newton Abbot Town Council:
Mrs Anne Fry – Bradley
J A Gadie – Milber
M Hocking – Bradley
D Howe – College
C N Parker – Milber
K Purchase – Bushell
Ms L Roberts – Bradley
M Ryan – Buckland
Mrs M Voaden – Bushell
Town Clerk P A Rowe
Devon County Council: Mr Derek Fishpool
Stagecoach Mr Elliot Mizen
Country Bus Mr Neil Romig
Rail Company First Great Western Apology
Community Transport Mrs Kay Yendall
Newton Abbot & District Cycle Group Apology
Mr Eric Collar
Mr Denis Tyler
1. WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chairman welcomed members to the eighteenth meeting of the Newton Abbot Local Transport Forum.
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillor Mrs L Cooke (Buckland Ward), Mr Graham Wickham (Newton Abbot & District Cycle Group) and Mr Neil Craig (Station Manager Newton Abbot).
3. NOTES OF LAST MEETING
The notes of the 17th Meeting of the Forum held on 27th October 2011 were received and noted.
4. CONNECT 2 COMMUNITY LIAISON GROUP
In receiving the minutes of the meeting of the Connect 2 Community Liaison Group held on 25th January 2012 the Chairman invited Councillor Colin Parker to report on the turf cutting ceremony for the new cycle and footpath/bridge being constructed alongside Newton Abbot Racecourse. Councillor Parker explained that the ceremony was held on Monday 16th April with the planned completion date being in December 2012. No mention was made at the event regarding the adopted name for the new bridge, although the Town Council had proposed Town Quay Bridge’. He also referred to the Town Council’s plans to provide a refreshment kiosk at the Quay following completion of the bridge, together with refurbishment of the surface of the Quay, new lighting and tables/chairs. Reference was made to local businesses’ interest in providing leisure facilities such as cycle and canoe hire and the possibility of pleasure craft from Teignmouth.
5. TRAIN SERVICES
In the absence of a representative of First Great Western, the meeting requested the Town Clerk to enquire of the Company on the following issues:-
6. BUS COMPANIES/SERVICES
(a) Stagecoach – Mr Mizen expressed his apologies for not attending the previous meeting, had tried to notify the Clerk but used an incorrect e-mail address.
He was pleased to report that 23 new double decker buses had been brought into service for the number 12 service at a cost of £3.9m. However, he was disappointed to inform the meeting that there had been a 20% reduction in the industry’s Bus Operator’s Grant (BOG) which coupled with inflationary pressures had led to a fare increase of an average of 5%. The Company was of course committed to improving quality but ensuring reliability and punctuality in return for the cost of the services.
Mr Mizen then responded to the questions raised at the previous meeting as follows:-
He was asked questions regarding advice by drivers on the cheapest available fares;ensuring that passengers were sat down before the busses started their journey; and issues regarding bus passes.
Finally, Mr Mizen reported that he was moving out of the area and hoped to be able to bring his replacement to the next meeting. The Chairman thanked him for his attendance and input into the Forum over the past few years and wished him well for the future.
(b) Country Bus – Mr Neil Romig referred to his Company experiencing similar pressures to Stagecoach but was pleased to report that there was a minor extension approved to the 193 service which would offer better access to Dartmoor via Haytor.
(c) Devon County Council – Mr Fishpool was pleased to inform the meeting that the budget for 2012/13 would be the same as the previous year and therefore there would be no further budget cuts this year.
In general he explained that due to economic pressures commercial providers were finding some routes were not viable, however, it was unlikely there would be any cuts to existing services. It was noted that a new timetable would be available for services from 28th May and was currently being printed.
The Chairman enquired of Mr Fishpool whether the service to The Willows, although being before the concessionary fares time, should permit the use of bus passes as it was the only service? Mr Fishpool concurred that in principle that would be the case, but undertook to investigate the matter with his colleagues and report back. The meeting discussed proposals in other areas to ‘charge’ those with concessionary bus passes. It was explained that under current legislation, such an approach would be illegal.
In conclusion, Mr Fishpool reported that the County Council had in conjunction with Somerset County Council submitted bids for Government funding for additional services to the National Parks. A response was expected in May 2012.
(d) Community Transport – Mrs Yendall explained that it had been encouraged to consider Schedule 22 Permits (as opposed to Section 19 as currently operated) with a view to it filling the gaps created by the commercial operators dropping out of uneconomical services. Her service would be involved in training shortly. Mr Yendall explained that community transport was experiencing similar pressures to the commercial operators and that sufficient funding continued to be an issue.
7. OTHER MATTERS RAISED AT THE MEETING
Reference was made to problems experienced with the phasing of the traffic lights at the ASDA junction and the issues caused as a consequence. Councillor Mrs Fry and the Town Clerk agreed to take up the matter with the County Council.
8. DATE AND TIME OF NEXT MEETING
It was noted that the next meeting of the Forum would be held on a date to be agreed.
The meeting concluded at 1950 hours.