**We are aware that this is also happening to the Number 65 Bus, so if anyone would like to write about that please feel free.**
Torquay online is saddened to learn that the Number 60 Bus Torbay is to be suspended from 9th December 2018 for 4 months over this dark, wet and cold period due to the running expenses and making a loss.
The Number 60 Community Bus operates between Paignton and Torquay and Torquay and Paignton running Monday to Saturday every 2 hours starting at 8.45 am each day.
Each journey takes 55 mins and there are 10 journeys a day. The bus stops running at 18.35 each day.
You may be thinking what’s all the fuss about? There are loads of buses between Torquay and Paignton anyway, and if it’s making a loss, then surely it should be stopped? If you read on you’ll find out why it’s a very important and special bus to many people.
It has to be noted that a bus is an eco-friendly service that reduces noise pollution and doesn’t cause the same congestion that taxis and everyone driving would.
As well as that, do all services provided by the council have to make a profit? Are schools there to make a profit? What about beaches? Will social services be closed down if they end up costing too much? After all, aren’t these services what we pay our council tax for?
For people who think it’s not an issue because there’s a bus that takes people between Torquay and Paignton, this bus is very different. On leaving Paignton and Torbay Rd it weaves and winds its way up to Preston Down Road through Preston and up the steep hills with the big views, past the many Bungalows parade of shops and on to Occombe Farm and up again to Livermead and on towards Torquay passing the many disused shops that have now been made into homes.
The route of the bus follows the many challenging hills of the area and it has to be noted that many trained and fit walkers would find tackling this terrain, strenuous and testing. The geography of the area is not flat like Cambridge where people can easily walk or cycle so a bus is vital to Preston and Livermead.
On a typical day the bus gradually fills up with passengers. Some pay cash and some show their travel passes just like any other bus in The Bay.
However, 68% of the users on the Number 60 Bus are over 65 yrs old, with two thirds of them having mobility problems. There are many regulars on the bus who are unable to drive due to medical reasons.
It has to be remembered too that most of the passengers are contributing to the Council, and as many live in Livermead, they will be paying a higher band council tax than most.
People use the bus for a number of reasons. They might have a hospital, doctor or dental appointment. They might want to go for their weekly shopping or go to the bank. Many elderly people rely on the Number 60 Bus to take them where they need to go.
We understand that the local authority have to make decisions and control their budget, but let’s hope they’ll think long and hard about the whole issue of the bus route and hope the funding can be found for this needed social sevice.
This bus is a massive part of their community and their lives.
Without this lifeline many will feel trapped, lonely and isolated which can be harmful to their health as people need to get out and about.
I might add that even if you don’t use a bus, not having a service near your home can make it less attractive when trying to sell your house.
If you think the Number 60 Bus should stay, send a Tweet or email to our MP, Kevin Foster, and let him know your thoughts about it.