A very helpful and informative response from Dartline regarding problems with the 369 bus service during the recent cold snap.
(With local bus services in the Spotlight again I am sure we are all very grateful to have a decent bus service which works well most of the time).
It has not been a good week for any rural service, Dartline has had issues with many of its rural services where they are exposed and even some parts of towns have been beyond safe access.
The long run of sub zero nights and low daytime temperatures have combined to coat most of the local roads with a hard ice surface, as you are aware DCC policy is not to treat rural bus routes. Whilst tractors and some cars are able to get about, buses drive in a very different manner of minimal grip surfaces.
The 369 has maintained service but this has been very temperature dependent. It has been noted that local residents are taking huge risks, driving with little consideration and far too fast. Thus keeping away from areas with no grip has to be uppermost in an operators mind.
The first 369 bus of the day has struggled into Exeter but had problems with gaining enough grip on the roads especially downhill for the return trips. This morning the first bus got to Exeter but could not get down Spirelake Hill on it's return.
Ending up wedged against the bank with no traction. The driver eventually got freed and continued to Morchard Bishop. But he was very late, on the return he bypassed Spirelake but this takes time and made him later still.
At present I cannot see anyway to guarantee service to the published timetable for the entire route but Dartline will ensure that some level of service is maintained. You will appreciate some areas are risky to traverse and when lined by parked cars an expensive place to lose control of 7tonnes of bus with effectively no brakes or steering due to the icy road surface.
The bus has travelled via Lapford, Copplestone and Morchard Road on the A377 to get people closer to home as it has not been safe to commit to the iced country roads in the dark.
The 369 service has travelled as far as Sandford sports field and turned because access to Sandford Square has been too hazardous. This and as much detail as possible has been advised onto Dartline's Facebook page.
Our 668 driver which also travels several of the local roads has also had problems with frozen surfaces so it is not just the 369 that has had access to rural outposts disrupted, delayed or cancelled.
Clearly some expect the bus service to be invincible unfortunately this is not the case and our drivers are educated not to take risks with vehicles and more importantly with our customers health and welfare. Dartline has operated the 369 as best it can within the constraints of the weather, prevailing road conditions and the lack of consideration shown by other road users.
One hopes that customers can understand any service offered during times of challenging weather be it cold, wet, or windy; will of necessity not be that offered on balmy summer days.
Assistant Service Manager
LIBBETS GRANGE (Suggestions for Street Names)
The Parish Council have been asked to submit 12 names for roads on the proposed new development at Libbets Grange (Creedy Bridge/Pedlars Pool)
Al hough we were not consulted over the name for the development, which refers to an old well down behind Crediton Parish Church, which has no connection with the Parish of Sandford this is our opportunity to get involved.
Suggestions can include local names of places in the parish, field names, and maybe some names from the past of those who have contributed to parish or national life.
Also to note that we only need the first part of the street name as MDDC will decide whether this is a street, drive, avenue etc.
We need responses in time for our next Meeting to take place on 1st February and we look forward to your suggestions.
Sandford Parish Clerk email@example.com
Elections for Parish Councillors will take place in May 2023. Anyone interest in standing may contact the Parish Clerk for more information.