Buses: future of rural services unclear
The future of all rural bus services in Cornwall is uncertain as the we wait to see the results of the Council’s retendering of subsidised routes. Hopefully, the well-used 550/551 services through Tregony to the Roseland, and the popular 522 service through Probus to the clay villages and St Austell will be retained, but we will not know for certain until early February.
This uncertainty has arisen from the Council’s cuts to public transport budgets. The budget for reimbursing bus operators for the income lost on concessionary fares travel will be cut by over £2 million from 1 April 2012. In addition, the budget for subsidised routes (which includes the 550/551 service) is also being cut by over £1 million.
I have argued at every possible opportunity against these cuts but, unfortunately, have not been successful. Crunch time will come in late January/early February when the tenders for the subsidised routes have been received from the bus operators and an assessment can be made of how many rural routes can be retained.
Meanwhile, I encourage you all to use the bus services as much as possible. The more that services are used, the more likely it is that they will be retained.