Buses ‘causing tailbacks’ on narrow roads between Croyde and Georgeham
A FORMER parish councillor has hit out at the "madness" of using wide buses on narrow country roads.
Stuart Maskell, who has lived in Croyde for 40 years and, until last year, was a long serving councillor, criticised the size of the Stagecoach buses which run through Croyde and Georgeham.
He said: "The buses can't pass a car let alone another bus and because of the length and width of this type of bus they struggle even to go round some of our bends without regularly hitting buildings. This is madness and must stop."
Earlier this week he followed a bus from Croyde to Georgeham and, with a large vehicle coming the other way, things came to a halt.
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He said: "Even on one of the quietest days of the year at a quiet time of day it got stuck and caused a tailback.
"Often cars are forced off the road and into private drives and church car parks until things pass."
He said it was not unheard of for the two-mile journey from Croyde to Georgeham to take an hour in the summer.
He added: "The impact on locals, school runs, businesses and the tourist trade must be huge, with hours a year lost behind these things."
Not only are the buses too big, he believes they are also too regular, judging by the lack of passengers. He feels the answer would be to have fewer buses and fewer bus journeys.
Another idea would be to replace the wide buses with smaller buses or a double-decker which, he said, would be more manoeuvrable.
On Tuesday night he started a Facebook group and by Wednesday morning 186 people had joined. He said: "The locals have had enough."
Although Stagecoach operate the vehicles for that route, a spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment as it was a tendered route.
The bus service is contracted by Devon County Council, which requires a minimum capacity determined by the busiest journeys during peak hours, college times, as well as popular journeys during summer months.
A spokesman said the council was not aware of any reports of buses hitting buildings.
"We wouldn't have any objection to Stagecoach using a double-deck vehicle rather than the single-deck from the capacity point of view, but other considerations such as the extent of regular tree-cutting necessary to facilitate a double-deck vehicle is likely to make it an impractical solution.
"However, we'll discuss with Stagecoach its fleet allocations to see if there are any options for changing some workings, without falling short of the requirements of the service."