VILLAGERS in Carharrack and St Day have hit out at the loss of their subsidised evening and Sunday bus service, saying it has left them isolated.
Cornwall Council has withdrawn its subsidy to the First Devon & Cornwall Ltd No 18 service, which runs between Penzance and Truro.
The no 18 is now being run on a fully commercial basis and no longer diverts via St Day and Carharrack during evenings and Sundays.
In a response to Cornwall councillor Mark Kaczmarek, the council's group leader of passenger transport, David Edwards, said the average number of passengers using the service on evenings and Sunday was poor, with just three people per journey.
A large number travelled between Lanner and Redruth, he said, which has an alternative bus service (no 41).
"Quite simply, these numbers cannot support a commercial bus service and do not justify the council 'buying-in' replacement journeys," he said.
Carharrack is now served by a new hourly bus service no 47, Monday to Saturday, with last journeys at 5.49pm arriving in Truro at 6.22pm, with the last bus from Truro to Carharrack at 6.35pm arriving at 7.07pm.
"Sadly, as we face further reductions in the funding for supported bus services, more and more fringe journeys will be withdrawn," Mr Edwards warned.
John Newcombe, the chairman of St Day Parish Council, said many residents felt "isolated" as a result of the change in service, which he said was introduced without any prior notice.
He said: "There has been a no 18 bus service through St Day and Carharrack for around 70 years. It is going to be very difficult to get the service reinstated and they are warning of further reductions next year."
St Day resident Wendy Kilpatrick, a member of the First Bus Passenger Transport panel, said the loss of service was creating "havoc" for many in the village.
She said: "I won't be able to attend my bus group meeting because they have stopped the bus. It means many people can't get to work in Redruth, or visit Treliske [hospital] in Truro on Sundays. Many people work shifts and rely on the bus. Youngsters won't be able to get to the cinema in Redruth or Truro on a Sunday.
"I will fight this all the way. This is affecting all ages. I know many people who have concessionary travel and are prepared to pay rather than lose the service," she added.
Mr Kaczmarek said the Government had starved Cornwall Council of funding to support public transport, adding: "I understand that the good summer has encouraged more visitors on holiday here in Cornwall to use their concessionary bus passes, adding more than £500,000 to the council's limited budget.
"The government funding cuts are really having a negative impact on those living in rural villages. What are the Cornish MPs doing to help Cornwall overcome the problems faced by this imposed compulsory Concessionary Fare scheme?
"This should be funded by the Government which would enable the council to invest more into rural transport schemes."