Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 24 September 2009


I have long been baffled about why I get such a regular trickle of complaints about the bus service in Plymstock and virtually none about the service in Plympton. They are similar suburbs with similar needs housing similar types of residents. The difference of course is that Plymouth Citybus operates services in Plympton and First Group in Plymstock. First Group is apparently the largest transport provider in the world, so why can’t they keep my constituents more satisfied?

This could all change with news that Citybus is intending to run 6 new services into Plymstock from late October, sparking newspaper coverage of a new bus war, the like of which we have not seen for years. I hope there is no bus war, but I warmly welcome this initiative, and have been urging Citybus to send buses into this neglected suburb for some time.

I understand that part of the new service will replace the old 5 and 6 routes that were so popular. I have a very simple challenge to all of you who have contacted me in recent months about the poor state of public transport east of the Plym, once these new routes are in place: use it or lose it. If this bold new initiative succeeds there is no reason why it cannot become a long term arrangement. This is good news for those who rely on the bus and is also timely because it will not be long before the contract for the new high quality public transport link connecting the soon to be built new town at Sherford to the rest of the city will be out to tender. I think it helpful that Citybus will by then be running services along the A379 that might connect into the new high speed route should they win the bid.

So I wish Citybus well with its new venture. It is a successful and well-run company that makes a profit by looking after its customers and makes the most of its local knowledge and support. Although it is owned by the local council it has been running its own affairs for many years and rightly so. I have never understood why a local authority should own a bus company, rather than focussing on the delivery of essential services. If a new buyer for this business is found, there is no reason to suppose that its focus on customer satisfaction would change.

posted by Gary @ 19:39