A lifeline has been thrown to bus passengers across Helston and the Lizard Peninsula with the introduction of new routes following a public outcry.
Bus company First Kernow said it had revised the timetable “considerably” to improve connectivity in Helston town centre, while also extending out far more to the rural areas.
This includes linking Helston with other First South West buses and First Great Western trains to and from Exeter St David's, London Paddington and Plymouth at Redruth Railway Station.
Previously it was impossible to catch a train via a bus link after 12.30pm, but now connections run in the afternoon and into the evening on the 37 service.
There are also significantly more buses travelling to and from RNAS Culdrose, Mullion and The Lizard, with five increasing to 12 on a normal weekday, including during the afternoon and evenings. However the council says there has been an afternoon and evening provision throughout the winter and spring with 11 journeys running each day Mondays to Saturdays between Helston and the Lizard It is similarly good news for people living in St Keverne, Coverack and Mawgan, who will now be able to catch a bus straight through to Truro.
Previously the 36 service stopped at Helston, but now it will continue to Wendron, Porkellis and Carnkie before making its way to Truro bus station via Stithians, Perranwell and Carnon Downs.
The Traboe Cross stop has been removed, however, with the next closest being Double Lodges. The council says this stop is not removed, it is simply not listed in the timetable. The bus will stop if hailed by intending passengers.
It is not all good news though, particularly if you work in the city, as the latest direct route to St Keverne leaves Truro at 2.35pm - the 5.45pm bus finishes at Helston. The council says this is the case currently, this is not a worsening of the service.
There is mixed news for the passengers of 35/35A travelling between Helston and Falmouth.
Although the service has been extended to include Bulwark Road three times a day - due to 36 service no longer being diverted via Albion Road and Bulwark - the amount of departure times from Coinagehall Street has been cut from eight to six. The council says there is no change in the number of journeys, the variances between school days and non-school days have been mistakenly led to some journeys being double counted.
Perhaps of benefit to some, though, is that the route - via Gweek and Constantine - will now include a stop at Falmouth Hospital. The council says that the service already passes the hospital in Falmouth.
Finally, the 82 service from Helston to Truro has been withdrawn, although alterative facilities are available on the 36 bus from Coverack to Truro via Helston.
The changes will be brought in this Sunday, June 1.
They follow a large outcry last October, when services were extensively cut and altered by the company due to a change in funding.
Speaking about the new services David Edwards, manager of Cornwall Council's Passenger Transport Unit, said: “The council would like to express gratitude to First Kernow for its commitment to securing as comprehensive a network as possible.
“To achieve this, there has been some re-working of routes and timings which, it is hoped, will meet the needs of those in social need throughout Cornwall's scattered and sparse settlement pattern.”
Many of the changes across the network as a whole have been prompted by Cornwall Council's major re-tendering of bus services contracted from operators.
First Kernow has retained its contracts for all routes, but with changes.
The company said it was also taking the opportunity to make changes to the routes it operates commercially, without subsidy.
Alex Carter, managing director of First South West, said: “We are pleased to have retained almost all our local bus service contracts with Cornwall Council.
“Working closely together, we have also been able to add value for the council and travelling public by making available additional services at our risk and cost.”
Details of all the service changes can be found at www.firstgroup.com/cornwall Helston service changes: Service 2 Falmouth - Penzance via Helston Cornwall Council contract changes have resulted in minor alterations to the Monday to Saturday timetable. The 'short' journeys on Sundays and on public holidays between Goldsithney and Penzance will be withdrawn until Sunday, August 31, 2014 inclusive, apart from the 0905hrs Perran Cross Roads to Penzance Bus Station journey. Alternative facilities will be available on new service 17B (Penzance - St Ives via Marazion).
Service 35/35A Falmouth - Helston via Helford Passage The routing and timetables for these services will be extensively revised, but an hourly frequency on Monday to Saturday daytime between Falmouth and Helford Passage and five through journeys between Falmouth and Helston will be maintained. All journeys between Falmouth and Helford Passage and all journeys between Falmouth and Helston via Helford Passage will be numbered service 35, while all journeys between Falmouth and Helston will operate direct between Falmouth Hospital and Lamanva Cross will be numbered 35A.
There are two changes to the existing routings: 1. Certain journeys are extended beyond Helston Coinagehall Street to operate to and from Albion Road and Bulwark Road (as service 36 journeys will no longer be diverted via Albion Road and Bulwark Road).
2. The routing of all journeys serving the 'Acacia Road loop' is altered so that all buses operating the 'Acacia Road loop' will pass Falmouth Hospital TWICE - journeys from Falmouth The Moor will operate the 'Acacia Road loop' in the anti-clockwise direction (the REVERSE of the current routings around the 'loop'). This change is being made at the request of local bus users, supported by Cornwall councillors, to improve access to the facilities (e.g. health centre, pharmacy) on the Falmouth Hospital campus.
Additional journeys will be provided on Monday to Friday (except public holidays) at 0703hrs from Falmouth Conway Gardens to Falmouth The Moor and at 1845hrs from Falmouth The Moor to Falmouth Conway Gardens in response to customer requests.
Service 36 Coverack-Truro via Helston The routing and timetables for the service will be extensively revised with buses providing through facilities between Coverack/St Keverne and Truro via RNAS Culdrose, Helston, Stithians and Perranwell. An additional afternoon journey will be provided on Monday to Saturday from Helston to Truro, as well as an extra late afternoon return journey between Stithians and Truro via Perranwell. The current journeys on Monday to Friday at 0612hrs from Helston Tesco to Coverack Car Park and at 0632hrs from Coverack Car Park to Helston Tesco will be withdrawn due to very low customer demand. Service 36 journeys will no longer be diverted via Albion Road and Bulwark Road, Helston. Alternative facilities are available on services 35/35A, Falmouth - Helston.
Journeys between Helston Coinagehall Street and Truro Bus Station on Sunday and public holidays will be extended to and from Helston Sainsburys (for Flambards theme park).
Service 37 Redruth - The Lizard The timetable for this service will be extensively revised, with the restoration of many through journeys on Monday to Saturday daytime and evenings between Redruth Railway Station, RNAS Culdrose, Mullion and The Lizard - additional journeys will be provided to and from Redruth Railway Station on Saturday until Saturday, August 30, 2014 inclusive.
The revised timetable has been designed to considerably improve connectivity in Helston town centre with other First South West buses and at Redruth Railway Station with First Great Western trains to and from Exeter St David's, London Paddington and Plymouth. Buses on Sunday and public holidays will operate every two hours between Redruth Railway Station and The Lizard The Green via Helston.
Service 82 Helston - Truro This service is withdrawn. Alternative facilities are available on service 36 Coverack - Truro via Helston.