Friday, 2 April 2010

What about the East?

Cornwall Council has announced a special project for the Truro-Falmouth bus route which will see residents along the route given 5 free bus tickets to try to persuade them to use the bus instead of their cars on the route.

The aim is an admirable one - to encourage people to use public transport more.

But once again the Council seems to be ignoring the problems faced by residents in the East of Cornwall who often don't have the option of taking the bus at all.

Take Launceston for example. There are fairly good services around the town and to the local villages, as well as some to Plymouth, Exeter and Liskeard. But there is no route to Bodmin or destinations further West. Launceston is therefore almost cut off from most of Cornwall as far as public transport is concerned.

If Cornwall Council was serious about trying to bring good public transport links to rural areas then they would be helping bus companies to establish a new route from Launceston to Bodmin Parkway station via the town.

Such a route would be a huge benefit for young people and those without cars in Launceston to be able to reach the West of Cornwall.

Cabinet Member Graeme Hicks' comments show that he is really out of touch with the situation in Launceston and the East. He said:

We are proud of our local bus services; vehicles are clean and comfortable; routes between towns are as direct as possible and drivers are friendly. We would like people to try it for themselves, particularly those people who haven’t used a bus for some time.”

While vehicles may well be clean and comfortable and the drivers friendly, the idea that routes are direct is a joke. I know a lot of local people who would love to use a decent bus service. But the truth is that it just does not exist to take them where they need to go.

I understand that a similar trial to the Falmouth-Truro one will be taking place somewhere in East Cornwall later this year. I have asked the Council to look to make sure that this later trial helps to establish a new route between towns that are currently not connected at all.

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