Well, if you’ve read this sign on Exeter’s Stagecoach buses, not exactly.
With a delightful irony (whether intended or not, only the editor will know), today’s Express & Echo runs two adjacent stories on page 10. The first is about an Exeter University-led project studying commuting patterns with the aim of reducing the city’s traffic congestion. The survey stage of the project found that car commuters who also use public transport are 20% more likely to use public transport if they are influenced by the traffic congestion information they receive .
The second page 10 article explains in some detail how Stagecoach is celebrating the New Year by making “mergers, cuts and frequency changes” to Exeter area bus services. And which group of bus users will be most affected by the changes? Yep, commuters. Two of the Park & Ride services are being merged and reduced to a 15-minute frequency (a year ago, the interval was 10 minutes). The frequency on the commuter route from Crediton is being reduced from 4 an hour to 3 an hour (and the service from western Crediton from half-hourly to hourly). Newton Abbot to Exeter services are cut from 3 an hour to 2 an hour, though passengers will doubtless feel greatly compensated by the news that their buses will in future be painted purple.
We know that the number of car journeys made by commuters into Exeter is twice that of car journeys within the city . So cutting commuting is the key to cutting congestion and pollution. Even Stagecoach say they recognise this – on publication of the group’s half-year results in October 2016, the chief executive said: “There is a large market opportunity for modal shift from cars to public transport against a backdrop of population growth, urbanisation, technological advancements, and increasing pressure to tackle road congestion and improve air quality” .
Clearly Stagecoach don’t believe that market opportunity exists in Exeter, despite the fact that the “backdrop” conditions for it are here in abundance. After all, it’s the shareholder dividend that counts, isn’t it?
 There are other very interesting findings. For details see the Engaged Smart Transport project at http://www.commute-exeter.com/results/
 Stagecoach service update information at https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/south-west/exeter-area-timetable-changes-from-3-january-2017
 Findings of a study by Trevor Preist, promoted by Exeter Civic Society and Transition Exeter.