Torbay Council has awarded the Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT) £95,000 to facilitate the running of the community bus routes 60, 65 and a replacement for the 67.
The bus services will benefit Paignton, Brixham and Torquay residents, many of whom rely on bus services to go shopping or access vital local services like doctor’s surgeries or hospitals.
Cllr Robert Excell, Executive Lead for Community Services, said: “We are extremely delighted, as Torbay Council, to be providing capital funding for the purchase of community buses which will enable the TCDT to facilitate the running of the 60, 65 and 67 bus routes.
“We recognise the importance of these routes to the residents of Torbay and we thank volunteers from the TCDT who will be working hard to provide this community service.”
Simon Sherbersky, Lead Officer of the Torbay Community Development Trust, said: “We are really pleased to be awarded the funding so we can step in and deliver these much needed bus services. With the help of our drivers, many of whom are volunteers, we can continue to provide community transport services for residents in Torbay.
“We are in the process of re-registering the 65 bus route with the Department of Transport, which can take around a month to complete, and we’ll have further information about the creation of a dial-a-ride bus over the next two weeks, while the 60 bus service will continue as currently provided.”
Torbay bus operator ‘Local Link’ withdrew from the fare element of their business in April 2017, casting doubt over the future of the 60, 65 and 67 buses.
The 60 service was relaunched by the TCDT last year when the Trust set up OurBus, a community-led bus service run in conjunction with a group of volunteers. A TCDT transport survey demonstrated that this service was vital for vulnerable and older people.
Travelling from Torquay to Paignton, via Occombe Farm, Preston, Livermead and St. Luke’s, the 60 route added a Saturday service when it re-launched last April, enabling local residents who rely on the bus greater flexibility to travel around the Bay on the weekend.
No companies came forward with proposals to run the 65 and 67 routes and these services were unable to run. Torbay Council’s new funding will allow the TCDT to operate all three services, further improving Torbay’s bus infrastructure.
The reinstated 65 bus route and a dial-a-bus that covers the loss of the 67 service, will improve links to the Willows, with the services running from Torquay and Brixham.
Having received approval for the funding, the TCDT will now approach the Department of Transport to re-register the routes, a process that can take up to four weeks.