In the non-too distant past mention buses in Devon to a bus enthusiast and thoughts of the red and ivory buses of Devon General will come to mind. In fact, Devon General celebrated what would have been its centenary, if it was still operating, in 2019. A superb celebratory event was organised and is covered in our DVD programme ‘Devon General 100’. In 2019 the contemporary bus scene is dominated by Stagecoach South West, with modern buses wearing the corporate livery, but with a number of exceptions. In the Torbay area, for example, we see new ADL Enviro400MMC double-deckers painted in a smart two-tone red and white livery laid out in corporate style for the ‘hop12’ group of routes. There is a green version of the livery – ‘hop22’, as well as a purple one – ‘hop2’. Open-top buses feature a two-tone yellow and white livery (‘hop122’) with buses in the Torbay area featuring ‘cartoon’ characters - with younger travellers encouraged to spot these buses – these are converted Dennis Tridents with Alexander ALX400 bodies.
We begin this review of buses in Devon with a visit to Exeter in June 2019. We see plenty of action in locations such as the High Street, Sidwell Street, Paris Street and also a brief visit to the bus station, which will soon close for redevelopment of the entire area. In August our cameras visited Sidmouth on the south Devon coast. This lovely Victorian seaside resort on the day of our filming was hosting the annual Folk Festival and ‘Abus’ of Bristol had supplied an Optare Spectra, (AP04 BUS) for use as a shuttle bus from a temporary park-&-ride site to bring the crowds into the town. Also in August a brief visit to Newton Abbot was taken before visiting Torquay – the ‘English Riviera’. Here we see plenty of action at locations such as Cary Parade, Torbay Road, the Strand and Fleet Street. Look out for former Southport Corporation Leyland Titan PD2 (FFY 403) built in 1947 on sightseeing duties! From Torquay we move onto Paignton. The busy bus station is our main location with plenty of action to enjoy. We also film in Victoria Street and Torbay Road. We continue our tour with a brief visit to Teignmouth where we see a purple liveried ‘hop2’ Scania Enviro400 double-decker on the Esplanade. Dawlish is our next stop, home to the unique black swans, which we see floating along the ornamental stream. They also feature on the ‘hop222’ yellow liveried open-top buses. A September visit to Exeter is then recorded. We see the action on a busy Saturday afternoon at such locations as Paris Street, High Street, Sidwell Street and the bus station. Our final location for the contemporary bus scene is a short visit to Kingsbridge where we see buses in action along Promenade and the bus station. The December visit by our cameras features an event where six ECW-bodied Bristol VRT/SL3 double-deckers participated in a ‘Red Bus VR Revival’ running day. We travel from Exeter to Barnstaple via Winkleigh and Bideford and then continue to Ilfracombe.
To complete our programme we feature some of Malcolm King’s cine film of Paignton bus station in the National Bus Company era of the 1970s, then by comparison, some archive video footage shot by Martin Curtis, also of Paignton bus station, this time in the Deregulation era of the early 1990s – just see how things have changed!
Produced by - Independent Transport Videos
Duration - 60 minutes
Region - 0 (worldwide) PAL
Aspect Ratio - 16:9 Widescreen
Released - March 2020