Thursday, 9 August 2018

Increase, Jubilation, Knowledge (2)

An fbb Apology
Due to lack of an accurate map (QED!) fbb misplaced the Exeter Science Park. It lies to the east of the M5 on the "old" Honiton Road.
There it is, centre right with an appropriately named road, Babbage Way. Stagecoach is now shown to be correct. Currently served by the 4 grounp of routes to Cranbrook, Honiton and Axminster, it will be joined by the diverted half hourly 56 journeys from the September timetable change.

There is doubtless a bit more to the Science Park since Google Streetview's car passed by!
Thanks to correspondent and Exeter resident Karl (and others) for the revelation. The same problem may apply in today's blog - but here goes.

Ex-citi Ex-citi-ments!
Exeter City has always had route letters, not numbers. Some of the letters do match the ultimate destiantions (P - Pennsylvania) but fbb does not know whether this was historically the intention. The title of this post gives the clue that the big change in the city is to routes J and K.

Currently they both run in a sideways "U" shape from Countess Wear via Topsham Road and the centre ...
... with J being recently extended to serve the new IKEA store, located on the opposite side of the A379 from Tesco.
fbb is deeply saddened to report that he has never visited an IKEA store but understands that their meatballs are delicious!
The J joins the H and D to terminate at the aforementioned Tesco.
The other end of the routes runs via Pinhoe Road is to Whipton ...
... serving the estate known as Whipton Barton. The current timetable is reasonably straightforward with a ten minute frequency from Whipton to Countess Wear ...
... with Js continuing every 20 minutes.

In very simple terms, from 2nd September the two ends of the J will be joined ...
... via Hill Barton Road and Roydon Lane to create a mega-circular.

As with the 56 change, the Stagecoach web site is effusive in its description of what will be happening.
Funding from the Rougemont Park housing development on Hill Barton Road will allow the J to extend from Whipton Barton via Hill Barton Road and through to Digby.
Aha! So, yet again not a brave commercial venture from Stagecoach, but a sub from a developer. This estate fills in the gap between the Exmouth branch railway line and the Met Office which we "met" in yesterday's blog.

Here, it will meet buses from the other direction to create a circular route. Buses running clockwise (outbound along Pinhoe Road and inbound along Topsham Road) will be route J. Buses running anti-clockwise (outbound along Topsham Road & inbound along Pinhoe Road) will be route I.

Buses will run every 20 minutes in both directions, providing a combined 10 minute frequency from IKEA to the City Centre. When combined with route K, there will also be a 10 minute frequency between Countess Wear, the City Centre and Whipton Barton.

Correspondent Karl (from Exeter) is less than happy with all this.

Note that the new J in Exeter goes via Whipton Barton Road BEFORE Whipton hospital if it continues to Tesco; but goes via Whipton Barton Road AFTER the hospital when it doesn't go to Tesco (ie Sundays, evenings and when it terminates in Whipton).

But the destination blinds (already updated) and timetables do not give any clue which way which bus runs so you have to know which side of the road to wait on. This is do-able on Sundays and evenings but the terminating journeys can only be figured out by looking to see whether your bus forms a bus back to town.

What's worse is that if you wait at Warwick Way only terminating evening and Sunday buses serve that bit of route now so you really do have to know which bus goes which way and only Traveline all stops timetable tells you. Looks like Travel South Yorkshire have helped stagecoach with this timetable!

But there is more ...

... and more of a mystery.

Funding from the emerging Tithebarn development will allow Route K to be extended from Whipton Barton to Cumberland Way, Tithebarn Lane and Exeter Science Park. It is anticipated that the route will evolve in future years to serve other developments in the area. Buses will continue to run every 20 minutes along the extended route
Lookee here; if you travel east from Whipton, you can motor along Tithebarn Way, which becomes Tithebarn Lane and looks decidedly uninviting on Streetview.
This will take you to a new development at Tithebarn Green (above map, upper right) and somehow get you to Anning Road (map bottom right) whereat is Exeter Science Park where we were with the 4 and 56 yesterday.
There, in the forthcoming timetable, are the K buses to Science Park which might or might not go along roads or through ploughed fields.

Karl again!

The new K is shown in Traveline as not initially going to run full route ...
... yet on Stagecoach site it says it will.

Karl wonders what will actually happen in September - fbb, without a map, is VERY confused. Any offers of an explanation?

Meanwhile we need to record that one Ex-Citi service gets a significant chop.
Current Wonford circular R and S ...
... every 12 minutes; "revised" R and S  ...
... every 20 minutes. OUCH!

And stagecoach explains thus:-

Due to the significant increase in the number of buses serving Heavitree Road, R and S frequencies will be reduced from every 12 to every 20 minutes in each direction. They will still combine to give a 10 minute frequency from Rifford Road to the City Centre. Routes D and H also provide alternatives from some parts of these routes.

Has fbb missed something? Significant increase in buses using Heavitree Road? That's one additional service 56 to the Airport, isn't it? All other frequencies are the same.

Of course some might say that the R and S were being chopped mercilessly to provide the extra buses for the new I and J and the new 56.

Surely not?

But please, Stagecoach, let us have updates maps a s a p - because most of us are getting very confused.

Tomorrow we take a trip to a new University.

 Next Northampton etc. blog - Friday 10th August 


  1. Talking of confusion, I wonder how many people will mistake buses on the new route I (the reverse J) for buses on route 1 to Tiverton - a very different route.

  2. Alpha route numbers in Exeter were first used by Exeter Corporation - distinct green Buses. Exeter Corporation sold out to Deven General / National Bus Company in the 1960’s.

    1. DG took over Exeter Corporation from 1 April 1970.

    2. Sale of Exeter Corporation's transport undertaking to the National Bus Company was completed on 31st March 1970 and operation was vested with Devon General on 1st April 1970.

  3. The maps of Exeter Science Park have been cropped and so they do not show the recent extension of Tithebarn Way which now reaches Anning Drive and Old Honiton Road. The Google Streetview pictures of Tithebarn Lane were taken in 2012 and MUCH has happened since then. The Traveline SW all-stops timetable for the revised service K shows the route running a one way loop via Tithebarn Way to Anning Drive and back to Tithebarn Way and the city. FBB is well aware of Traveline’s difficulty with one way loops so he should know that you have to look at both outbound and inbound timetables to see this. (The timetables also refer to Blackhorse Link but I suspect it is, in fact, the Tithbarn Way extension). It does have to be said that the Science Park consists largely of empty fields at the moment but the Tithebarn Green housing development is well under construction and many more houses are planned to add to all those being built along Tithebarn Lane on the city side of the M5.
    I cannot see Karl’s problem with the Whipton Barton short workings of routes I/J/K/T. These changes restore the service to Whipton Barton to very much as they were when all the buses went to Pinhoe. All buses to the city centre from Whipton Barton will pick up at the same stops through the estate. The only difference with the short workings is that will they loop round via the Sainsbury’s junction before dropping off in the estate on their way back to the city as they do now.
    Stagecoach may think they run buses along Roydon Lane. Everyone else calls it Rydon Lane.

  4. I agree it reverts the bus back to its old Whipton route but coming from town around 5 and 6pm there are some buses that terminate at Whipton and go via the current and Sunday route and yet have the same letter as the buses that go the other way. Not the end of the world but unnecessary confusion as they could just as easily go the usual route and it is sure to cause confusion when the bus doesn't turn left into Whipton Barton at the shops. Also the description on the stage coach website does not explain anywhere that the daytime buses revert to the old route and therefore the bit of route between Whipton Shops and Warwick Way will lose 6 buses an hour.

    Although the houses on much of the new part of the K aren't built yet the bus stops and laybys were built when the road was which makes a change.

    1. Sorry right at the shops not left.

  5. Stagecoach are expanding in Plymouth in autumn having picked up all Plymouth City Council tenders off Target Travel...routes 7d, 13, 18, 19, 31, 39 52, 223 all going to Stagecoach. They will also take over service 14 from Citybus and start new service to Sherford. Targets Devon County Tenders are up for grabs in September too with start date in November...They could grab these too. START OF SOMETHING BIGGER IN PLYMOUTH POSSIBLY?

    1. Target/Dartline have had their licence revoked from the end of October for financial standing and running untaxed vehicles, hence the retendering, Hamilton Grey have had their's revoked for financial standing as well so there's going to be a lot of school work up for grabs in Devon as well.

  6. Yet they have just registered a new football special and school service in Plymouth starting next week? How come they are allowed to do this if their licence is being revoked? What will happen to their commercial service the PR3 will this be cancelled? To be fair Stagecoach 101 park and ride operates along this route anyway?

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