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By October 30, 2023Transport

L-R Back row Richard Marsh, CEO Exeter Chamber, Peter Knight, Stagecoach, Helen Scholes GWR 

L-R Front row Cllr Josie Parkhouse, Ian Collinson, Exeter City Council, Luke Farley, GWR, Jamie Hulland, Devon County Council 

  • Exeter has the 2nd largest travel to work area in the UK – with 37,000 daily commuters. 
  • 40% of commuters living within Exeter travel to work by car, while 75% of commuters from nearby towns and 90% of those from villages drive into the city for work.  

Delegates from across Exeter gathered at the Future Skills Centre on Tuesday 17th October to hear from transport leaders and local authorities at the Exeter Transport Summit.  

The event, organised by Exeter Chamber, welcomed representatives from Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, Stagecoach South West and Great Western Railway (GWR) to discuss with city’s challenges with congestion and how working together is imperative to improving the region’s integrated transport networks. 

A common goal shared by those on the panel is collaborative working. These working partnerships contribute to the ongoing connectivity across the county with integrated multimodal connections. 

Luke Farley, Transport Integration Manager at GWR shared the success of strong partnerships with Devon County Council and Stagecoach. From improved interchange facilities at stations – bus shelters and signage, to timetable co-ordination to ensure smooth onward travel. 

Jamie Hulland, Deputy Director – Planning at Devon County Council shared the recent approval of the £154m Transport Capital Programme which will be supported by over £130m in government grants. The allocated funds will deliver a programme of improvements to the rail and bus networks, the development of new cycle networks and road schemes throughout Devon. The new programme of development and change will help enhance services offered by Stagecoach and GWR to improve connectivity in Exeter. 

Peter Knight, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West shared how the £14.1m funding from the Bus Service Improvement Plan from the Department for Transport was shared between capital and revenue projects (over a 3-year period). Capital projects saw improvements to infrastructure, including the bus station and stop facilities, whilst revenue projects have funded services across the regional bus networks, providing new commuter opportunities, enhanced frequencies, and supported evening services. 

Success projects from these cross-industry partnerships include: 

  • Re-opening of the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton (GWR and Devon County Council) 
  • Opening of Marsh Barton station – 23,000 journeys since July (GWR and Devon County Council) 
  • Joint promotion of 4/4A cross-Exeter buses which provide a major link to Exeter St Davids from across the city (GWR and Stagecoach) 
  • The Stagecoach Rail Link service connecting Combe Martin with Barnstaple with 301 bus timetable is enhanced to hourly -11 trips a day Mon – Sat (GWR, Stagecoach, Devon County Council) 

Richard Marsh, CEO of Exeter Chamber comments: “A lively debate and Q&A between delegates and the transport panel sparked a number of interesting conversations and discussions and rounded the summit off perfectly. There’s denying there are barriers and challenges to overcome, and the continual improvement of transport links is an ongoing process. Public transport needs to be affordable, sustainable, punctual, regular, and fully integrated to encourage maximum usage to help alleviate the congestion on the city’s roads and reduce the city’s carbon footprint.”