Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Taunton's Transport Traumas [Follow-up 1]

From last weekend, First Bus introduced a new network in Taunton; so fbb decided to visit (Monday 29th July) to see what has happened and, in particular, to see if roadside information has improved. Although the changes were dated from Sunday 28th, most routes don't operate on the Sabbath, so Monday was, effectively, "First Day".

So what has happened?

For those unfamiliar with the geography of the town on the Tone, here is an fbb map of the new network.
Each route is about 15 minutes long from the centre to the outer terminus. Until this change services ran cross-town as follows:-
1/1A Wellsprings to Calder Crescent or Lime Crescent
3/3A Priorswood or Nerolls to Bishops Hull or Hospital
4 Lane to Galmington
A full pre-change map can be downloaded (here)
First's description of the alterations is overly verbose, so here follows fbb's expurgated version, enhanced by a few pretty pictures! Old route numbers are shown in  Grey  , new in  Red .

 Service 1/1A  : Wellsprings every 15 minutes
 Service 1  : Wellsprings every 10 minutes   improved 
Sunday service 1 no longer runs via Priorswood

 Service 1  : Calder Crescent every 30 mins
renumbered 5 see below

 Service 1A  : Lime Crescent every 30 mins
renumbered 6 see below

 Service 3  : Priorswood every 30 mins
 Service 2  : Priorswood every 30 mins
The route changes slightly in Priorswood
the Sunday service (route 1 diverted) is  withdrawn .

 Service 3  : Bishops Hull every 30 mins
 Service 3A  : Hospital every 30 mins
 Service 3  : Hospital and Bishops Hull every 30 mins

 Service 3A  : Nerolls Farm every 30 mins
This service ran mostly on the countryside edge of newer housing; newer and car owning! Passengers can walk through to the Priorswood route.

 Service 4  : Lane Estate every 20 mins

 Service 4  : Galmington every 20 mins
diverted via Hospital
renumbered 7 and  reduced  to every 30 mins

 Service 5  : Calder Crescent every 30 mins
replacing service 1

 Service 6  : Lime Crescent every 30 mins
replacing service 1A

 Service 7  : Galmington every 30 mins
replacing service 4 but diverted via Hospital
Services 3 and 7 give a bus every 15 mins to Hospital

Services along the main Exeter Road south-west to Wellington are not shown on the fbb map; but he has classed them as Taunton "local" routes.

 Service 22  : Wellington and Tonedale
every hour
 Service 22A  : Wellington and Tonedale
 improved  to every 30 mins

Tonedale is a "suburb" of Wellington, with the terminus located just beyond the site of the former railway station (closed 1964) on the Great Western main line.
Only the goods shed remains today, seen here courtesy of Google Streetview, also showing the additional footpath bridge.

 Service 22A  : Welllington and Rockwell Green
three buses an hour
 Service 22  : Wellington and Rockwell Green
 reduced  to every 30 mins

Occasional extra journeys numbered 22 run to Tiverton. It is unclear why the main service numbers have been swapped round, 22 for 22A and vice versa. But this is what First says on its web site!

The current Service 22 between Taunton and Tonedale will be re-numbered as Service 22A, while the current Service 22A between Taunton and Rockwell Green will be re-numbered as Service 22.

Maybe this a slight First Bus bludner? Or did First want its deplleted service to Tiverton to show 22 rather than 22A; the routes are identical as far as Rockwell Green.

 Service 92  : Tiverton every hour
Replaced by journeys numbered 22 (four trips only). This represents a big chop and will have not gone down well with regular passengers. Buses used to run all the way to Exeter as shown in the Great Britain Bus Timetable for 2001:-
First have since had a number of attempts at making this service viable but to no avail.

The secateurs have been in use on some of the other services with a trim here and there. First's policy seems to be to put their buses to bed at about 2000. This does mean that, if you wanted to go out for the evening (by bus) you can't get back. So you don't go out OR you don't go by bus. That's return fares lost every time! It also means that early evening journeys are less well used. Do they get the chop next time?

Generally, the new set-up represents good housekeeping for the company; tomorrow we see how well this has been publicised.

 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 1st August 


  1. The map reminded me of the kind of networks that were introduced when minibuses first made their appearance. It might be an interesting to make the comparison with Taunton's Street Shuttle network (which I think was the brandname used).

  2. I fear that the 30 minute frequencies, though only needing one bus each perhaps, are too low to be attractive for the length of journey.

  3. They had a go with evening services in Somerset but useage has not be that great as a user when in Somerset. At other end of the day there is an bus at 0520 Taunton to Yeovil for heaven sake.Evening service was cut in Feb 2012 when Yeovil shifted from First Somerset and Avon to First Dorset so went 1850 2010 and 2230 Taunton to Yeovil and 1950 and 2110 Yeovil to Taunton.The Bridgewater got better at that point when Somerset contracts were cancelled and when it made commerical with journey after 2100 restored from a Fri/Sat only Somerset contract to 6 days a week. That been reduced back further in July 13 cuts. Minehead (28) they kept the 2010 which has always been popular bus, picking up quite a few at the Rail Stn Concourse,as well as carrying local on their town journey's.They also had regular users of 2015 Williton to Taunton as well but that been knocked out.
    Tiverton has been cut back.I used to use 92A the Taunton to Exeter.prehaps the times were not in the right place.To get to Exeter shopping before middle of the day you had to catch 92 Taunton to Tiverton and Change to Stagecoach 1 at Willand.Otherwise it was use the infrequent Stagecoach 20 Taunton to Seaton and Change at Honiton.