Cornwall Council's Conservatives are planning to oversee the end of vital bus links across Cornwall which serve some of our most remote towns and villages. The Council is planning, in its budget, to cut the subsidy that it pays to bus operators to run evening and weekend services on 27 routes (full list below). The Council admits that this is almost certain to mean that these routes will cease to operate outside peak times. As a result students, workers and even those visiting relatives in hospital will be affected.
The 27 routes carry a total of 460,000 passengers on subsidised journeys and are described by the Council's own officers as "important for part-time workers and support the evening/night time economy in Cornwall".
To take just one example - the one I know best - the 576 which links Bude (via Launceston) to Plymouth. This is the only service linking Launceston to Plymouth in the evenings and weekends and is used by many students and workers. If the service ceases to operate when people need it then they will be faced with the choice of moving to Plymouth or giving up their work or course. Neither should be an acceptable option. I am sure that those who live in other parts of Cornwall will be able to tell similar horror stories about what would happen if their local routes were withdrawn.
The scrutiny committee which will be considering this policy will be meeting on Wednesday. I'll be asking for a rethink on this proposal which will see many of our towns and villages becoming increasingly isolated.
The list of routes from which the Conservatives want to remove subsidies for weekend and evening travel is:
14/18 Truro – Redruth – Camborne – St Ives/Penzance
2 Penzance – Helston
5/6 Penzance – Gwavas/Mousehole
10 Penzance – St Just
17 Penzance – St Ives
1 Penzance – Lands End (summer)
34 Helston – Redruth
540 Troon - Camborne – Illogan – Redruth
27 Truro – St Austell
41 Falmouth – Redruth – Camborne
68 Falmouth Town services
82/A Truro – Stithians – Helston
85 Truro – St Agnes
88 Truro – Falmouth
521 St Austell – St Dennis – Newquay
524 St Austell – Par – Fowey
526 St Austell – Mevagissey
529 St Austell – Roche – Bodmin
550 Truro – Tregony – St Mawes (Sats)
556 Newquay – Padstow
587 Newquay – Perranporth – Truro
597 Newquay – St Columb Major – Truro
555 Padstow – Wadebridge – Bodmin – Bodmin Parkway
576 Bude – Launceston – Callington – Plymouth
79 Callington – Gunnislake – Tavistock (Fris and Sats)
81 Plymouth – Torpoint – Millbrook – Cremyll
573 Polperro – Looe