A CAMPAIGN to overhaul and change the management of Tavistock’s bus services has started with a peititon to councillors.

Years of unhappiness with the frequent changes to routes and unreliability of services within and out of the town have led to the protest aimed at Devon County Council.

The rallying cry is aimed at those with influence and responsibility for public transport for school children, commuters and shoppers, demanding they put pressure on the county.

The isue has come to a head with one Stagecoach service asking some children from Tavistock on ther way to Plymouth schools, to leave the bus at Yelverton and wait for the next bus - which then did not arrive for half an hour.

That act, supposedly made by the driver because his bus was overloaded, was condemned by the father of a 12-year-old boy affected and other parents who said it had happened too many times before.

Former local councillor Graham Parker, of Tavistock, has raised the petition calling on DCC to relinquish control of bus routes delgate to West Devon Borough Council. Other demands include: Improving services through Whitchurch (the 86 and 89 — formerly a single 89 service), increase the amount of money promised by developers to fund bus and other public services serving particular new housing estates and a commitment to a reliable service from Tavistock to Plymouth which are used by students of the boys and girls Devonport high schools (This was served by the now scrapped Plymouth Citybus 104 and 105.) Graham said: “Over the past few weeks, the local bus services in Tavistock have been decimated. All users from the very young to the very old have been severely harmed, without any consultation!

“I am asking our elected representatives – our MP and our County, West Devon Borough and Tavistock Town Councillors to sign my petition to put pressure on Devon County Council. This is to emphasise how dismayed we are that our local bus services have been depleted and withdrawn without consultation with the people of Tavistock. We ask our elected representatives to protest on behalf of all users of these services and to work with us to reinstate the 89 localbus service to replace the new 86and 89 buses and reinstate the 104 and 105 service for our children.”

He said: “The 104 and 105 buses are a lifeline for students at DHS Boys School and DHS Girls, enabling them to get to school and to return home. These services have been withdrawn with no warning or consultation. The alternative, the X1, is full by the time it gets to Bishopsmead and Whitchurch, so Tavistock children are frequently left standing as the bus passes them by. This is intolerable, and it must have been approved by DCC, we are asking our county Ccuncillor to reverse this decision.”

The Whitchurch services require two bus fares to reach the hospital and borough council offices and do not run during the afternoon. Graham said the Whitchurch bus changes were made without public consultation and are worse and more expensive.

Tony Hamilton, whose 12-year-old son and a friend were abandoned at Yelverton by the Number 1 service to Tavistock said: “I feel let down by the bus company. Who bears responsibility for the care of my son while waiting for more than 30 minutes for a late bus early in the morning?”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach said “Due to an engineering issue on the 1 route this morning a smaller replacement vehicle was deployed to run the service resulting in the bus being at capacity and so unable to take on additional passengers. The X1 service was in operation but was delayed. We have been aware of an increase in demand for these services since the Plymouth City Bus withdrawal last month and are engaged in active discussions with local schools and representatives from the Local Transport Authority for this area on this matter. We apologise to any passengers inconvenienced this morning.”