Changes are being made to some of Cornwall’s bus services from 29 September, with some facing the axe "to better match resources against the level of demand".
First is revising its routes serving Falmouth University and the University of Exeter at their shared campus in Penryn, and Falmouth University’s campus in Falmouth and at the same time changes are being made where routes have been poorly used to date.
Some commercial services operated by First are being withdrawn, however the company says that where services are being lost, alternatives do exist.
The changes affect the following current routes: Services 41/41B, 83, 84, 88/88A/88B. A new Service U1 is also being introduced while a temporary service linking Troon and Camborne, which will be known as Service 44, will also be brought in at the same time.
Alex Carter, Director for First South West says: “We are making a number of changes to our bus routes in Cornwall from the end of September. Within this we are introducing a new Service U1 which will operate between the two university campus locations at Penryn and Falmouth, helping to relieve some of the pressure on other local bus services that can arise during university terms.
"We expect this new U1 Service to be welcomed by students and staff at the universities, and by local residents who have often raised concerns regarding the difficulty in getting a seat on Service 41 and 88 buses. In addition the changes that we have made will also ensure that the routes serving the campuses are better designed around university terms and holiday periods.
“At the same time as we are making these changes we are also altering a number of other services within Cornwall, and regrettably we are having to withdraw two Truro city services completely. We never take decisions like this lightly, but these services have underperformed for a number of years and despite our efforts to resolve this they remain commercially unsustainable.
"We have been advised though that alternative services, provided by other operators, will be put in place to minimise the impact of our own alterations. “For more information about the services that are changing or to view new timetable information customers are advised to check our website, www.firstgroup.com/cornwall, or pick up a new timetable from our travel shops in the area.”
New timetables for the affected services are already online at www.firstgroup.com/cornwall with hard copy information due to be delivered to travel shops in the area from September 26. Specific changes from September 29, Service 41 (Camborne – Falmouth): The route and timetable of this service is changing as First seeks to make the route more commercially sustainable.
Specifically the route will be changed at both ends, with the section between Troon and Camborne removed, and the start and terminus point in Falmouth amended so that buses start and stop at Falmouth Moor. The changes mean that Service 41 will no longer serve the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Falmouth University’s Falmouth Campus on Woodlane or Gyllyngvase Beach. For customers wishing to travel to Gyllyngvase Beach, alternative journeys will be possible using Service 400.
The route that evening and weekend buses take will also change. From September 29 evening and Sunday journeys will follow the same route as the daytime journeys. This means that Mabe Burnthouse and Asda will no longer be served at these times.
A spokesman said: "Reflecting the changes being made, the timetable for the service will be amended, although in general buses will continue to operate at the same level of frequency as at present (every half an hour during the day).
"Customers are advised to check the new timetable carefully before travelling to ensure they understand the impact of what is happening. Service 44 (Troon – Camborne): This service is being provided on a temporary basis between 29 September and 2 November to cover a gap in provision left by the loss of Service 41 journeys between Troon and Camborne (NB from 2 November an alternative, funded by Cornwall Council, will be in place).
Buses operating on Service 44 will run hourly Monday – Friday (compared to half hourly at present) and hourly on Saturdays (as at present).
Service 83 (Truro – Malpas) and Service 84 (Truro City Service): Regrettably these two services, which were operated by First on a commercial basis, are being withdrawn entirely from 29 September. Both services have performed poorly for a number of years and can no longer be sustained on a commercial basis by First. Arrangements are being made for alternatives to run in their place.
Service 88/88A/88B (Falmouth – Truro – Newquay): A number of changes are being made to these services from 29 September affecting the route and the timetable.
Firstly, all journeys (including those operating during the evenings and on Sundays) are being renumbered as Service 88. This means that with the exception of a handful of early morning Monday - Friday journeys and some specific school journeys - which will continue to serve some of the outlying villages - all buses will follow a standard route, operating via the main road between the Penryn Campus (Tremough) and Carnon Downs.
In addition, the early morning journeys that currently run between Truro and Treliske are being withdrawn. Instead customers who travel between Falmouth and Truro (and places in between) who wish to travel to RCH Treliske, will need to go into Truro Bus Station on Service 88 and change there to a Service 14/18 bus, which stops outside the hospital on the main road.
The route of Service 88 in Falmouth is also changing, with buses using Killigrew Street in both directions instead of Woodlane and Albany Road. This change means that Service 88 buses will no longer serve Falmouth University’s Falmouth Campus (Woodlane). Students and staff wishing to travel between the Falmouth and Penryn campuses will still be able to do so though, as a new U1 service (see details below) is being introduced from the same date.
Service U1 (Falmouth Campus (Woodlane) – Falmouth – Penryn - Penryn Campus (Tremough): This brand new service is being introduced from 29 September in a bid to relieve some of the pressure on other local services which are currently well used by students and staff travelling between university sites. The buses will run every 15 minutes during the day (Monday to Friday) from early morning (0753 hours from the Falmouth Campus) until early evening (1820 hours from the Penryn Campus). On Thursday and Friday evenings however – to meet the expected increased demand for late night travel – buses will run until much later in the evening, with the last departure from Falmouth Moor to the Penryn Campus leaving at 0235 hours. Students and staff should note that the buses will only operate during the undergraduate term time. During university holiday periods, services 41 and 88 will provide an alternative for those wishing to travel between Falmouth Moor and the Penryn Campus.