End of the line for Ourbus Torbay’s scheduled routes

Two unique subscription community bus services pick up their last passengers today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday).

Ourbus Torbay, part of Torbay Communities, has been operating two scheduled services – the 61 and 65 after commercial operators pulled out more than six years ago.

In 2019, the 61 bus, which runs between Livermead in Torquay and the town centre via St Lukes, was believed to be the first community scheduled service in the country to be run using a subscription service committing passengers to paying weekly by direct debit.

It was joined two years later by a relaunched 65 service, which runs between The Willows and Market Street in Torquay via Hele, St Marychurch, Babbacombe and Plainmoor.

And at the core of both services was a dedicated team of volunteer drivers who kept the buses, which were nicknamed mobile community centres, running. More recently, the services have been subsidised by a grant from Torbay Council.

Ourbus Torbay Community Transport Coordinator, Kelly Bedoyan said “It has been an absolute pleasure providing the 61 and 65 services. A big thank you needs to go out to all of our lovely passengers for supporting us and sticking by us even when we’ve not been able to run the services.

“An even bigger thank you has to go to all of the fantastic volunteer drivers, past and present, who have given up their time to drive the buses so that others could get out and about. We honestly couldn’t have done it without each and every one of them, and they have certainly been our biggest asset, often going above and beyond when passengers need it the most.

“We’ve learnt a lot over the past five years and are now looking forward to providing more day trips and other community transport initiatives,” she added.

  • Since 2020 the buses have covered 51,841 miles.
  • Since 2020 we have received £8,872.73 in donations
  • They needed 56 sets of new tyres
  • They needed 392 litres of oil
  • They got through hundreds of bulbs
  • They needed two new sets of number plates

 

Ourbus Torbay will now concentrate on organised day trips and the commercial operators will take over the 60 and 65 services.

Praise and thanks for the service has been building all week on Facebook including Val Baket who said: “Well done for keeping this service running with volunteers, I know how difficult it has been for you.”

Diane Bolland said: “A much-needed service around St Luke’s, and it was very much appreciated when returning with a couple of bags laden with shopping. Many thanks to all the drivers, you’ve been brilliant!”

Torbay Council independent councillor, Darren Cowell wrote: “A big well done to Torbay Communities and the volunteers who kept the services running.

“Proud of the small part I played in supporting the efforts to provide essential services to some of the more isolated residents of Torquay.

“Good luck with future initiatives!”

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