East Devon District Council have helped to fund enhancements to bus services to reduce congestion and help more people get to work by bus between Exmouth, the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone and Exeter.
Stagecoach South West, together with representatives of Devon County Council and East Devon District Council, has launched CONNexIONS – the new name for route 56.
Devon County Council and East Devon District Council have joined forces in a ground-breaking arrangement, via the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone, to fund significant enhancements to the route between Exeter St David’s, the City Centre, Met Office, Science Park, Skypark, Exeter Airport and Exmouth.
Cllr Ian Thomas, Leader of East Devon District Council, commented:
We’re delighted to provide funding for enhancements to the service for three years. It will be a vital link to the rapidly expanding business centres located in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.
The Enterprise Zone provides a range of incentives to support businesses, and more than 10,000 jobs could be created in the Zone, so fast and frequent connections with Exeter and Exmouth are crucial.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Transport, commented:
This is a great example of partnership working to improve transport options in Devon. This route will offer a more frequent and convenient service linking key destinations and providing an important connection for commuters and holidaymakers.
The CONNexIONS brand has been adopted in recognition of this innovative partnership and to promote the improved links between key transport hubs and business locations. All five buses include free Wi-Fi and will feature a bespoke livery design, with each highlighting a different location along the route.
The evolution of our 56 service into 'CONNexIONS' is a fantastic example of what collaborative working can achieve.
said Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West. He added
“In serving some of Exeter and East Devon's key business and leisure destinations, it will help support on-going regional development. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the partners who have helped make this happen and I look forward to it being a resounding success.
Starting on 3 September, from Monday to Saturday there will be new early morning and evening journeys and a 30-minute frequency during the day on the section of the route between St David’s and the Airport. This will provide easy and convenient flight and train connections for commuters and holidaymakers as well as associated key workers. Buses will then continue onto Exmouth up to every 60 minutes.
Roy Kinnear, Flybe’s Chief Commercial Officer, welcomed the news wholeheartedly, saying:
The new CONNexIONS bus will provide a much-needed service and allow even more people to enjoy the convenience of travelling from their own local airport. We look forward to welcoming many new passengers on board the 18 routes we operate from Exeter.
Exeter Airport Managing Director, Matt Roach, added:
With the very early bus scheduled to be at Exeter Airport around 5:30am there will be opportunities for staff on early shifts to use public transport and passengers booked on the first aircraft of the day to Manchester or to London City airport to arrive in time to catch their flights.
As the service will now operate up until after 11:00pm, four hours later than previously, it will also allow evening workers and travellers to take the bus into the city centre or to other stops along the route.
CONNexIONS has also been welcomed by the principal of Exeter College, John Laramy:
This new bus service will make a real difference to the college, giving students and staff at both the Technology Centre and the Airport new options for travel. For us, great public transport is a key part of our on-going success.
A day of unlimited travel in the Exeter zone costs just £4 and covers all destinations between St David’s and the Airport. A single fare to the Airport costs just £2.60. For £6, customers can get a day of unlimited travel along the full length of the route to Exmouth. Customers can buy tickets by cash or contactless from their driver or as mobile tickets via the Stagecoach app.
From the same date, Stagecoach is also introducing new timetables on other East of Exeter and East Devon routes including Exmouth town services and Exeter city services. Improvements including a circular city route that connects IKEA with the city centre in both directions and more frequent journeys between Pinhoe and the Science Park.
Full details on all services, including timetables, can be found at: www.stagecoachbus.com.