COUNCILLORS in Dawlish are to insist Stagecoach explains why it is reducing or cutting bus services.

Members are calling for fairer funding for bus services and have agreed to write to MPs Anne Marie Morris and Mel Stride asking them to support the move.

They want fair funding for ‘levelling up’ of bus services in rural locations and parish bus services in Dawlish and Teignbridge.

The demand from bus company Stagecoach South West is to insist they pay as much attention and funding to improving bus services on the Dawlish side of the Exe estuary and to explain the rationale for reduced or cuts to services.

The Notice of Motion to the full council meeting was put forward by Cllr Alison Foden, a long time campaigner for improvements to bus service.

She said: ‘We are asking MPs to back calls for better and fairer funding and what steps they can take on behalf of constituents to ensure the issue is given the attention it deserves.’

During discussion, it was suggested Stagecoach South West be asked to explain the rationale for reduced services be asked of so as to understand the reasons why these services were being reduced or cut.

Cllr Foden explained that recent timetable changes had been made from April 2.

She said: ‘While it is very good that almost no cuts from April 2023 have been proposed to bus services in Teignbridge, it is very disappointing that the frequency of the number 2 bus is still just every 30 minutes, and with no extra buses during peak travelling times before 09:00 nor after 3.30pm.

‘Also that the B bus service from Exeter Science Park to Exminster with a few services to Teignmouth has been reduced, meaning it will travel between the Science Park and Exminster only.

‘The 2B bus service no longer exists.’

But she pointed out that on the other side of the Exe estuary, the Exmouth bus service 57 has increased frequency by 100%m meaning buses will now be every 15 minutes, compared to the current two an hour.

She said: ‘I understand that the Exmouth population is much larger than Dawlish or Teignmouth.

‘However, when you consider the towns and villages along the route of the number 2 bus service, Dawlish, Exminster, Kenton, Starcross and Teignmouth, it is unfair that this side of the Exe estuary, the Teignbridge district, gets a poor deal when it comes to public bus services.

‘What happened to levelling up?’

She said the south west receives a far lower award from the Government’s Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding than places like the south east which were much more likely to get funding grants.

In the Government’s Bus Back Better fund of £1.4 billion, Reading received £26.3 million funding for the town’s bus services from the Department of Transport, and with a population is less than 200,000.

In comparison Devon, with a population of 1.2 million, received just £14 million funding for the whole county’s bus services.

Cllr Foden said: ‘We need to change the record of bus services on rural routes in Devon being less frequent, and seen as inferior, when compared to bus services in cities and large towns and change it to bus services on urban and rural routes being just as equally reliable, frequent, efficient and fair-priced.

‘The best way of increasing bus passenger number is to increase the number of fast, regular and efficient bus services.’