Changes afoot on the buses

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The government department responsible for public transport says it intends to make changes to services in the 2013 bus timetable.

The timetables have been submitted to the Road Transport Licensing Committee for approval and, if approved, will be operated from January 7.

The Department of Community, Culture and Leisure says full details will be provided once the timetables are approved, but the key changes to the 2013 bus timetable are as follows:

Route 1 group of services (between Onchan and Port St Mary) – Port St Mary will now have two buses an hour to and from Douglas, one via Colby and one via the coast road. One journey an hour is extended from Onchan to Noble’s Hospital. This will provide two options for residents of the South wishing to travel to the hospital. Two journeys per hour will serve Port Jack replacing service 13. Port Erin retains its current frequency.

Services between Douglas and Ramsey on route 3 remain essentially unchanged with certain improvements to the provision. The change to the routing of this service in the bus network review from accessing Lord Street via the promenade to Buck’s Road has led to significant increases in income and passenger numbers and thus the Buck’s Road routing will continue to be adopted for the majority of services.

Services to Foxdale on route 4 and Niarbyl on route 7 will now run two hourly.

Services on route 5 between Douglas and Ramsey via Peel will continue to operate hourly between Peel and Ramsey. However, the services will alternate with one via Sulby and one via Jurby every two hours. The service between Douglas and Peel will remain every 30 minutes.

Service 8, between Peel directly to the south, will run as before but will no longer operate beyond Castletown as these services will be provided by the amended services on route 1. Services between Port Erin and The Sound will be provided by the new route 28 on an off peak basis but with Port St Mary included in the route. The department is hoping to be able to operate this service with a minibus type vehicle if the relevant legislation can be amended.

Service 13 between Douglas and Laxey is reduced from an hourly service to a service providing three departures a day from Laxey to Douglas and two from Douglas to Laxey. The Department hopes to be able to provide these services using a minibus type vehicle and will consider extending the service locally during the visitor season. Services to Port Jack will be provided by service 1 twice an hour.

Due to what the DCCL says are ‘very low passenger numbers’, Service 16 in Maughold can no longer be justified. Maughold will now be provided with school services, supplemented on Thursdays and Fridays by two off peak services to/from Ramsey.

The service from Ramsey to Jurby remains hourly with one journey every two hours provided by re-routing of an alternate Service 5. This introduces a new direct link to Peel and Douglas. The 19 will still operate on the alternative hours.

Services on route 17-20 in Bride and Andreas continue to be provided on a two hourly basis but with amendments to the timing of services in the off peak.

Services on route 21 to Anagh Coar and Farmhill continue without substantive change.

In suburban areas of Douglas, Service 9 will no longer operate. A new service 26 will continue to provide an hourly service from Noble’s Hospital via Douglas, Westmoreland Road Health Centre, Ballabrooie, Tromode Estate and onto Willaston to provide the estate loop.

Services 22 and 25 to will be linked in Onchan to form two circular services. The 22 operates via Rosemount, St Ninian’s High School, Willaston, Governor’s Hill, Birch Hill and Onchan, returning via Victoria Road past Shoprite. The 25 operates the opposite loop service leaving Douglas via Victoria Road. Services are no longer provided to Lakeside Road in Governor’s Hill. Service 22A will be withdrawn.

Services 23 between Noble’s Hospital, Douglas and Onchan and 29 between Douglas and Port Soderick continue substantially unchanged.

Some school services will be merged with normal services, including the journeys between Port St Mary and Castle Rushen High School.

Graham Cregeen MHK, the minister responsible, said: ‘In addition to maximising income from commercially viable routes, the new bus timetable balances the need for social inclusion against the level of demand. We have taken into account comments from the public when preparing this timetable. Even though we are operating under a reduced budget, the new timetable features improvements such as the introduction of a direct bus option for people in the south travelling to the hospital. We are also investigating the potential use of minibus type vehicles for less used but important routes. Along with other measures, we hope to diversify our fleet to create a more bespoke bus service for the people of the Isle of Man.’

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