88 bus service cuts – Latest update

There is no longer an 88 bus service between Buckfastleigh and Newton Abbot on Sundays.  The Town Council sent a letter to Devon County Council about this cut in service (see below) and this is the response we have received.  It all comes down to what subsidies can be justified in their terms:

Dear Ms Hart,

Thank you for your letter of 27th July. Councillor Stuart Barker has also raised your concerns.

I can confirm there have been no cuts to the Sunday X38 which is financially supported by the County Council and there are no plans to reduce this.

In answer to your questions about subsidy, where no bus company provides a service at its own commercial risk, the County Council specifies which services it will subsidize, the actual cost being subject to competitive tender or direct quotation.

The Sunday 88 was funded, not directly from County Council subsidy budgets, but through a planning agreement at Mile End, Newton Abbot. Funding from such agreements is for a period only and this particular arrangement has now expired. The cost of the Sunday service was £10,939 per year.

To continue the service would therefore entail a new commitment for the County Council’s subsidy budget. Potential commitments are analyzed on the basis of a calculation of passenger numbers in relation to the level of subsidy required. Based on recorded passenger numbers, the Sunday 88 unfortunately exceeded the limit of £1.40 subsidy per passenger journey which is set out in our current criteria for Sunday services. The support criteria are designed to reflect the priorities arising from the public consultation during 2015 when a number of commitments were unfortunately reduced in response to severe pressure on subsidy budgets.

I’m sorry there is no immediate way of reinstating the Sunday 88 service.

Yours sincerely,

John Richardson-Dawes,

Principal Transport Co-ordinating Officer,

Transport Co-ordination Service,

Devon County Council,

County Hall, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QD.