First Devon and Cornwall have announced today that they will now be extending the X81 to now serve Dartmouth. The route currently operates between Totnes and Torquay which of course used to be fine when Totnes depot was in operation. I believe that some buses now do dead journeys to/from Totnes (correct me if I'm wrong though!) , or otherwise are interconnected with X80s from Plymouth. With the route starting from Dartmouth this could mean buses are stabled in Dartmouth's depot before working up to Torquay. The timetables have certainly been very well thought out and all X81s that I've looked through on the new timetables to link with X80s to Plymouth, with typically between 10 and 15 minutes gap, which should mean connections are pretty secure. First are certainly driving this fact and have even gone to the trouble of devising some days out that you can do from different starting points. This is really good to see and I shall certainly make use of this.
What was interesting to note was that the journey from Plymouth to Totnes and then onto Dartmouth is indeed quicker than catching the traditional 93 between the 2 locations by about 15-20 minutes. In every situation my looked at it was more effective to wait a few extra minutes in Bretonside and catch the X80 rather than going for the 93. Using an example the 0950, 93 arrives in Dartmouth at 1204. If you catch the X80 and X81 at 1010 (the closest to 0950), you arrive at 1200 on the dot. So yes technically it is quicker, but in the long run, 4 minutes isn't much to anyone. Passengers I would imagine are more likely to want to relax on 1 bus, than have to change buses in Totnes. But we shall see how that works! It will of course by a nice thing to fall back on if you did end up missing your 93.
The corridor between Dartmouth and Totnes, and indeed onto Torquay is already covered by Stagecoach's 111. Cleverly FDC's service departs at --50 past each hour, and therefore runs 10 minutes ahead of every 111. Take the 0950 which arrives in Torquay at 1130. Stagecoach's 111 leaves at 1000 and arrives at 1145, showing that the physical journey time is 5 minutes faster than the 111. It will be interesting to see if Stagecoach responds to this.
But this certainly seems like a very good bit of thinking at FDC, and personally I can't wait to try it out!