A Penryn pensioner fed up with the “lamentably poor” bus service to Truro on a weekday morning is calling for a change.
Bill Cooper, aged 65, wants something to do be done about the overcrowded service number 88, which runs from Falmouth to Truro via the university campus at Tremough.
He is concerned that his partner Pat Sage, also aged 65, is “forced to wait in near freezing conditions” because of the number of students on the bus in the morning.
“It is unacceptable for the students to have access to six buses between 9am and 10am and yet the public only have two and regularly cannot get one of them as it is full of students,” Bill said.
“The situation is exacerbated by the ludicrous decision to regularly put on a single deck bus on this service.”
Anyone needing to travel to Truro on the bus, including school pupils and college students, are at a distinct disadvantage Bill reckons.
“I feel the balance has moved too far in the direction of students and left us OAP's often stranded and having to wait for 30 minutes for a Truro service rather than the 15 minutes we had to endure previously,” he said.
Bill suggested that bus operator First provide a half hourly service direct to Truro, bypassing the university campus altogether.
“The students will still get four services an hour from Falmouth to the campus - which other than early morning, lunchtime and late afternoon will result in half empty buses - but the other users will be able to get on the buses and get a reasonable service.”
Robbie Lamerton, general manager for First in Devon and Cornwall, said he “appreciated the concerns” raised by some residents “who feel that the 88 can experience capacity issues due to the large number of students who use the service.”
He said: “As a transport provider in the area we continue to work with local residents and university staff to make the best use of our resources and to match them with the routes on which there is the greatest demand.
“At present there are no plans to provide a dedicated Falmouth to Truro service that bypasses Tremough Campus but we will continue to look at the situation as part of our on-going revisions of the network.”
Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton said several constituents had raised their concerns with her, which she had passed on to First.
“What I explain to constituents is that the university actually commissions particular bus services for the students, which are different to the scheduled public bus services and not everyone appreciates that,” she said.
“They are not paid for in the same way as public bus services, which are paid for through a combination of public subsidy and fares.”
Bill said he understood that “the campus subsidise some services,” but still thinks “the public are being mistreated here.”
He added that Mary May, a Cornwall councillor for Penryn, had been in contact with him and arranged a meeting with the current cabinet member for transport, Bert Biscoe, in a bid to resolve the issue.
Although approached for comment, a spokesperson for the universities at Tremough said they had nothing further to add to Mr Lamerton's remarks.
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