Bob the Bus is such a fixture in Totnes and I know how much this service, run entirely by volunteers, helps the local community. As such, I am delighted that they have found a new way of fundraising. Plenty of us shop online and now you can donate to Bob the Bus at the same time.
Bob has registered with Giving a Bit who are partnered with over a thousand shops that will pay for a donation every time you make a purchase with them. It doesn't cost you any extra, all you need to do is sign up here and then click on "Find a Charity or Community" from the quick links box and choose Totnes Community Bus Group.
On average 3% of what you spend will go to Bob and I would urge everyone to sign up and support Bob the Bus!
I have just received the following letter from the Bob the Bus team;
Totnes Community Bus has had some difficulty this year due to the road changes in Totnes. On hearing today that the HATOC committee have voted in favour of the ETO staying in place until March, I am extremely concerned that this may jeopardise the service. "Bob the bus" has been operating for over 10 years and is an icon in Totnes. The whole ethos of the service was that "Bob" was the only bus to take people up through the town and drop them at convenient spots. We have not been able to do this since the introduction of the ETO. The bus is running late, sometimes up to 50 minutes due to the increased congestion on Coronation Rd. As a consequence our passenger figures are down by 30% on last year.
I am disappointed that Devon County Council has chosen to ignore the strength of feeling and I fear for the future of the uniqueness of the town. Why would a group of traders spend some much time, money and effort to ask for Totnes to be reopened, if they were not worried for their financial stability and risk of losing their business?
Totnes community bus group has recently won the public vote to receive a grant of £30,000. This was needed to partly fund a new bus and provide a new summer Tuesday service for Stoke Gabriel. This shows how much people value the service and would like it to continue and grow. We can and will change our timetable to try to make the service more time efficient and serve those people who need the bus. This will, most certainly cause yet more confusion and potentially lose more passengers because the main bus shelter is located on the most congested road. The concept of a shared space through the town seemed logical to me and dealing with the congestion on the A385, particularly Redworth junction. Instead decisions made continue to move the congestion around the town and cause chaos. Yes it is very pleasant to walk through town when there are very few cars but to what cost? There are lots of examples in other towns where shared space has transformed areas of traffic congestion and I can't help thinking that it's not about what works it's about what can be afforded.
The charity made a financial loss at the end of last year and the committee fear for the next six months and future financial viability of the service. What a travesty if Totnes loses "Bob the Bus" as a service along with the unique shops.