This update has been received from Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay, and is quoted word-for-word:
“A large number of residents have been in touch with me following the news that Local Link, which runs 16 local services, has given notice that it will stop operating them on 1st April.
The services affected are the 25, 108/109, 60/61, 62, 64, 65, 67, 67A, 67B, Sainsbury’s Torquay SB5-SB6 and Sainsbury’s Paignton SB1-SB4. Services provided by other operators are not affected, but I know from the responses I have received that many residents not only rely on these to get out and about, but also to work.
Yesterday Cllr Mark King (Who is the Council’s Executive Lead for Transport) and I meet to discuss the latest situation. Credit where due Mark, Mayor Oliver and their team of officers have already been involved in a significant amount of work to find a solution for those who depend on these routes. He advised me that they were in active discussions with another provider to look at picking up parts of the network Local Link served.
Mark also updated me that the Community Development Trust is considering running some parts of the service as a not for profit operation. This is an interesting development and one that could provide a model where donations could support provision where a purely commercial service could not operate.
Whilst there is still some way to go before any announcements can be made there is reason for optimism and I will include any further news in future updates.”
- Currently, the Community Transport Business Group, spearheaded by Torbay Community Development Trust, is finalising a business plan to operate the 60/61. That group comprises, not just TCDT members, but also volunteers, and is steered by a group of some thirty people, including councillors and members of the public.
- SLRA is fully involved and has two representatives on both the steering group (one acting as Chair) and the business group.
- Kevin appears to indicate that donations will be necessary to keep that service running, which is not the case – it will be self-financing (although donations will be welcome, of course). The service will operate as a ‘proper’ bus route, accepting fare-paying passengers and concessionary fares. There is still much work to do, but we are hopeful that the 60/61 route will continue after April Fool’s Day.