Cornwall bus shake-up
Big win for Go-Ahead’s Go Cornwall Bus operation
Go-Ahead-owned Go Cornwall Bus has won a series of service contracts in its home county.
From April 2020, a new package of supported services is introduced with improved frequencies and routes, with Go Cornwall Bus awarded the new eight-year contract. The new package is expected to deliver reduced fares for passengers, better links with rail, integrated school transport services and more environmentally friendly buses. The services are considered essential to local residents but are not commercially viable.
There will be new services and improvements to existing routes, including:
- Direct links to Derriford Hospital
- Launceston to Bodmin Town Centre and Parkway station
- Newquay to Redruth direct
- St Austell to Lostwithiel via Tywardreath Highway
- Truro to Bodmin via Summercourt and Indian Queens
- Increased number of journeys between Hartland, Bude and Marhamchurch
- Additional journeys on services between Bude and Launceston and Bude to Truro
- Truro to St Mawes to operate hourly on Mondays to Saturdays connecting at Tregony with two hourly Veryan to St Austell services
- Cornwall Airport Newquay to Truro Railway Station
Awarding these contracts is the next stage in the One Public Transport System for Cornwall project. This scheme is aimed at improving public transport and providing a seamless integrated public transport network.
The Council subsidises over 50% of bus routes across Cornwall to connect communities and offer a viable alternative to the car. These routes would otherwise not be provided by bus operators as they are not commercially viable but are a lifeline for our residents to access employment and education as well as shopping and leisure.
Richard Stevens, Managing Director of Go Cornwall Bus, said “We are delighted and privileged to be awarded this significant contract by Cornwall Council. We believe that working in partnership we will enhance customer experience, improve opportunity to travel and improve air quality across the Duchy.
“Go Cornwall Bus prides itself on being a good community partner, through this expansion we are looking forward to working with people across the length and breadth of Cornwall.”
Cornwall County Council also has plans to introduce a four-year pilot scheme to reduce fares to encourage more people to use buses. Last year, the government awarded Cornwall a £23.5m funding package for a Reduced Bus Fares pilot to support the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving bus travel for residents.
The contract to operate the Truro Park and Ride for the next eight years from April 2020 has been awarded to First Kernow, First’s bus operation in Cornwall. The new contract will see the Truro Park and Ride running later into the evenings from Monday to Saturday which will benefit residents working in or visiting Truro, especially those who work at or visit Treliske Hospital.
First Kernow has announced a refocus of its services in the county. A message on its Facebook page said: “A new decade and a new focus. It’s time for us to reflect on where we are, redefine our purpose, and to set out a bold and innovative plan to adapt and grow our commercial business. Over the next few months we’ll be revealing and rolling out our new plans. It’s what we call 2020 Vision.”
A further tender exercise will take place to determine the contracts for the delivery of school bus services in Cornwall. These awards will be made at the end of January.