BUS routes are being slashed across the county as by Cornwall Council struggles to cope with budget cuts.
Thirteen bus services across the county are to be withdrawn and many others are subject to route and timetable changes (see side bars below for all services affected), according to bus operators First Group and Western Greyhound.
Eight routes in Penzance and Hayle will be axed from the start of November, along with five other services across the county, including two Truro city services.
The early morning service between Truro and Treliske will also be cancelled from Sunday along with changes to the timetable.
From Sunday, the Falmouth University bus will stop running, to be replaced with a new service.
Bus drivers on some routes have been telling passengers about the imminent changes to the services, causing confusion to passengers ahead of public announcements.
Western Greyhound managing director Mark Howarth said: “I really hope that Cornwall Council can find some money for partial replacements... to replace the bus routes being withdrawn, and that money can be found to protect the remaining network from 2014 onwards, as this is vital for the rural community.”
Alex Carter,director for First South West said: “We never take decisions like this lightly, but (some of) these services have under-performed for a number of years and despite our efforts to resolve this they remain commercially unsustainable.”
Cornwall Council said that 90 per cent of the bus network in Cornwall is provided by First and Western Greyhound.
A spokesman said the council had been forced to save £170 million over the past four years and is now expected to make further savings of £196m by 2019.
“While we are doing our best to protect essential frontline services, it is impossible to make this level of savings without affecting some services,” said a spokesman.
“Maintaining good public transport links is very important in a rural area like Cornwall and we have been working with all the bus operators to look at how best to protect bus services from the impact of further cuts in Government funding.”
Transport union RMT has pledged to link up with the local community to fight bus service cuts throughout the South West after First.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “These savage cuts to services on south west buses could well open the floodgates to an all-out attack which would decimate life-line services across whole communities as the bus companies wheel out a pack of excuses to justify cherry-picking the profitable routes.”
Side bar 1:
First Group route changes from Sunday (September 29):
Service 41 (Camborne – Falmouth): changes to service and timetable
Service 44 (Troon – Camborne): Temporary basis between September 29 and November 2. From November 2, an alternative Cornwall Council-funded service will be in place).
Service 83 (Truro – Malpas) and Service 84 (Truro City Service): Both services withdrawn as they can “no longer be sustained on a commercial basis.”
Service 88/88A/88B (Falmouth – Truro – Newquay): Changes to route and the timetable, including the removal of the early morning service between Truro and Treliske.
Service 88 will no longer serve Falmouth University’s Falmouth Campus on Woodlane.
The new U1 service, will replace this.
For new services and timetables, visit: www.firstgroup.com/cornwall.
Side bar 2:
Western Greyhound route changes from November 3:
The entire Penzance and Hayle operation – routes 501/4/7/8/9/12/13/15 – will be withdrawn.
Service 520 (Truro-St Austell): reduction of Sunday service.
Service 521 (Newquay and St Austell): will reduce from hourly to two-hourly and minor timetable changes.
Service 527: route changes.
New Sunday service: 522 (St Austell-Nanpean-Grampound-Truro).
Services 524/5/6 will be improved.
Service 27 will no longer run to St Blazey or Par.
Service 527 (Newquay-Eden): route and timetable changes.
Service 529 (St Austell-Bodmin): route and timetable changes.
Service 530 (Bude): withdrawn.
“We are unsure what cheaper partial replacements the County is proposing at this stage.”
Service 547 (Newquay-St Ives): withdrawn for the winter.
Service 550 (Truro-St Mawes): timetable changes.
Service 558 (Newquay-Pentire): timetable changes.
Service 559 (Newquay): timetable changes.
Service 561: withdrawn.
New Sunday service 572A (Polperro, Looe, St Germans and Plymouth)
Service 585/586 (Newquay-Truro): route changes.
Service 591/2/4: service number changes.
New service 588 (Truro-Malabar-Perranzabuloe-Perranporth): This hourly service will double the frequency between Perranporth and Truro and partially replace First’s 85/85A to St Agnes and First’s 27 service into Malabar which are both being withdrawn.
In relation to all services to be withdrawn, Greyhound managing director Mark Howarth said: “We are unsure what cheaper partial replacements the County is proposing at this stage.”
For more information on route and timetable changes, visit: www.westerngreyhound.com.