Exeter regional transport & mobility

Notes to help potential contributors develop their understanding of transport and mobility policy and practice in and around Exeter.

If you are considering contributing to Exeter Observer please see our contributors guide.

These notes are work in progress, and may require revision: please get in touch with any corrections or suggestions for additional content, including key documents.

More topic notes:

More topic notes are coming soon. These will cover Exeter regional arts & culture, climate & environment, economy & enterprise, education & skills and health & wellbeing.

Key actors

National

Regional

Planning and management

Operators

  • Great Western Railway – part of First Group - operates London Paddington to Plymouth/Penzance long-distance trains, as well as the local network centred on Exeter (the embryonic Devon Metro)
  • Cross Country Trains – part of Arriva, which is in turn owned by DB (German railways) - operates usually overcrowded services from Exeter to Bristol, the West Midlands and many points north, as well as Plymouth
  • South Western Railway - strike-hit London commuter railway, owned by First Group and MTR Europe, operates the London Waterloo to Exeter service which provides a local service between Axminster, Honiton, Cranbrook and the city centre
  • Stagecoach – the principal bus operator in Exeter and much of Devon - some services (or parts of services) are supported financially by Devon County Council
  • Country Bus – Newton Abbot-based bus operator of mostly rural services, but runs three services within Exeter
  • Flybe – main operator of air passenger services at Exeter - was largest independent regional airline in Europe until sale to Connect Airways (consortium formed to make acquisition by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and Cyrus Capital Partners via Luxembourg-based DLP Holdings) in 2019 - expected to rebrand to as Virgin Connect in 2020 despite continuing mounting losses which led to as-yet unfinished Government rescue … since entered administration

User groups

Others

Key issues

  • Limitations of rail: stations and lines inconvenient for integration with buses; change very slow (e.g. Marsh Barton)
  • Devon Metro still an aspiration
  • Bus service commercially driven, more freedom for operators than rail; limited subsidy
  • No coordination, e.g. joint ticketing for local journeys; responsibility for timetables
  • Traffic congestion; air quality and quality of life issues
  • Local transport authority (DCC) unimaginative and biased towards road building cf. Bus Services Act
  • Limited DCC progress on cycling infrastructure; LCWIP still not produced
  • District council (ECC) no real powers
  • Exeter Transport Strategy: rural/urban balancing act
  • Attempts at ECC/DCC joint working consistently fail
  • Reliance on GESP to fix things
  • Bus shelters inc. advertising screens, availability of service and timetabling information for non-Stagecoach operators
  • Telecoms masts/aerials esp. 5G
  • Pavements

Journalist interests

  • Impacts almost everyone: bus, car, walking, train, cycling
  • Almost everyone has an opinion
  • Involves major political judgements:

    • public/private/social enterprise ownership/delivery
    • who pays: users or communities?
    • priorities: HS2 or Dawlish avoiding line?
  • Long-running aspirations for integrated transport (London, statutory SNTBS cf. the rest)
  • Governance messy

Future challenges?

  • Ageing population; mobility aids
  • Extra housing/population
  • Shrink the Travel to Work Area
  • MaaS (Mobility as a Service) e.g. Helsinki

Key documents

Exeter Observer blog

An open letter to all members of the Exeter Observer team

The situation is changing quickly. The electoral commission have proposed the cancellation of the May local elections, several universities are moving to online-only teaching and it seems likely that there will be a wave of event cancellation announcements early next week.

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Free two day news writing seminar on 14 & 21 March

Want to help hold wealth, power and influence to account in Exeter & East Devon? Get involved in a new independent public interest community journalism project!

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Next community journalism course begins 22 February 2020

Want to help hold wealth, power and influence to account in Exeter & East Devon? Get involved in a new independent public interest community journalism project!

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Exeter Observer joins Independent Community News Network

Exeter Observer's application to join the ICNN has been successful, connecting us to a network of more than a hundred similar projects across the UK.

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Exeter Observer joins BBC Local News Partnerships

Exeter Observer's application to join the BBC Local News Partnerships has been successful, granting access to the BBC News Hub and Shared Data Unit and the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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Exeter Observer agrees regulatory framework with IMPRESS

Exeter Observer is now regulated by IMPRESS, the only Leveson-compliant PRP-recognised independent UK press monitor.

Exeter Observer blog

An open letter to all members of the Exeter Observer team

Exeter Observer logo

Free two day news writing seminar on 14 & 21 March

Exeter Observer logo

Next community journalism course begins 22 February 2020

Independent Community News Network logo

Exeter Observer joins Independent Community News Network

BBC Local News Partnerships logo

Exeter Observer joins BBC Local News Partnerships

IMPRESS logo

Exeter Observer agrees regulatory framework with IMPRESS

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