Friday 6 February 2015

A Traipse to Tiverton [5]

Interesting "Independents"
Once upon a time there were Tilling bus companies and BET companies which covered much of mainland Britain. Effectively, post WW2, these were run by the state. Town's and cities' buses were run by the Local Authority which left a collection of "independents" of varying size. Nowadays all bus operators are "independent" of state or local ownership. But we are creatures of inaccurate habit and we still tend to describe the smaller companies as "the independents".

The "big boy" at Tiverton is Stagecoach, running in from their base at Exeter. A feeble First bus appears apologetically on service 22 from Taunton, leaving the rest to the locals.

The biggest small operator is Dartline, based in Clyst St Mary near Exeter.
The company started in 1987 and subsequently absorbed Roberts Coaches in Exeter and Bow Belle of Crediton. It now operates coaches on private hire including this splendid motor specially for Exeter Chiefs.
Prison, County Court and School contracts are also operated, including two vehicles that languish at Seaton each school day ...
... having delivered kiddies thirsting for education to the prestigious Colyton Grammar School.

Ordinary bus routes serve a very wide area of Devon, including rural services from Moretonhampstead, Bridford, Newton Abbott and Sidmouth; the Digby Park and Ride and a service for Exeter Chiefs' matches, both in Exeter; and tendered town services in Exmouth, Crediton, Cullompton, Ashburton and Tiverton. Busy busy!
The 348/9 run alterate ways round a loop via Cowley Moor estate ...
Also in this part of Tiverton-world is one half of the 343, running hourly cross town ...
... continuing to Cotteylands and Palmerston Park.
Lastly there is the 352/3, another loopy "circular" ...
... which ends up a Tidcombe. The name souds like that of a quaint Devon village, but, yet again, it is a large housing estate named after Tidcombe Hall. The Hall's owner hit the local headlines last year:-
Notorious conman Kevin Wright is currently serving a four-year prison sentence following his theft of nearly £1 million from a children’s cancer appeal’s funds. Two years ago, however, he was enjoying life and running a company, Bobby’s Healthy Shop, out of his Tiverton Home. Here one of his workers describes working for Wright, a tyrant who forbid staff from eating white bread and monitored their every move.

Buses run half-hourly with gaps ...
... on a route that sort of terminates on Glebelands Road ...
... where the stop and shelter are situated.
The "Westcott Road", as in the timetable, is a side turning where the buses reverses.

Two other operators serve Tiverton. Redwood Travel runs a Friday only bus from  Hemyock ...
... with helpful blind and number display.
There is also a Redwood's Tuesday only service ...
... to another clutch of delightfully named Devon villages.

Holcombe : The manor house known as Holcombe Court was built by the Bluett family.
It is situated to the immediate west of the parish church, hidden behind a high boundary wall, and is described as "perhaps the finest Tudor house in Devon". The last element of the village's name, "Rogus" often mistranscribed as Regis, is that of the tenant of the manor at the time of the Domesday book in 1086.

The final visitor to the bus station during fbb's hour of observation was Beacon Bus.
After a crew change ...
... the 398 would whizz off to Minehead. Or would it? The blind said "Minehead" but a notice on the stand warned otherwise.
Despite "Minehead" on the blind the frame told us that the 1240 would only run to Timberscombe with no connecting shuttle.
fbb wonders what was really happening in the sure and certain knowledge that bus travel is always something of a mystery, to be treated with "polite suspicion" by the unwary. Maybe the "stop near Brook Street" might reveal all?
Who knows? There is no mention of "the shuttle" on the Beacon Bus web site ...
... but Traveline seems to confirm that the 1240 gets no further than Timberscombe!

Perhaps fbb will go and have a look!

 Next bus blog : Saturday 7th February 


  1. There are still some companies owned by their council of course so not true 'independents'

  2. Except that they are required to operate "independently" as "arms length" trading companies.

  3. Nice that you saw the Redwoods bus as it fits the historical story. Their history is in taking workers to the dairy at the end of the Hemyock branchline. They also ran shopping services to Wellington and Taunton from the branch line villages. Today they have stepped back into bus operation to cover 5 once a week shopping trips for the council. However the regular step entrance mini bus, normally parked at the original depot, has now had to be put aside for this purpose as non compliant.

    Dartline have only been there about 18 months. Stagecoach ran most of the town services before that. Stagecoach run very little that doesn't have a commercial element. The 155 benefits from being a commercial 55 from Exeter although largely run from the depot at Barnstaple.

  4. The Transport Act 1985 only banned district councils from oiperating buses, and a number of county councils and unitary councils have held O-licences over the years, North Yorks CC being a current example and provider of local bus services.

    And there's always Translink in Northern Ireland, the state-owned holding company for Ulsterbus and Citybus.

  5. The main road at Dunster is being dug up, by the church, for three months. Through travel is not possible and I guess that timings for the diversion don't work with hours regs etc.

  6. There's a ghost in my house. I can't hide.

  7. I know lying is wrong, but if the elephant man came in now in a blouse with some make up on, and said "how do I look?" Would you say, bearing in mind he's depressed and has respiratory problems, would you say "go and take that blusher off you mis-shapened elephant tranny"? No. You'd say "You look nice... John""

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