Tuesday 24 February 2015

The Tender Trap

But NOT the film!
Local authorities find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Western Greyhound [WG] registers the end of its one-time prestigious 510 between Wadebridge and Exeter. Stagecoach beefs up its X9 and X10 (a bit, but not a lot!) and calls them a "brand new" 6 and 6A.

The 510 has competed with the X9/X10 between Exeter, Okehampton and Launceston, but its withdrawal leaves a bit of a gap ...
... between Launceston and Wadebridge.

So what does a cash-strapped Cornwall Council do? It has probably spent all its "subsidy" money and any delving into the "reserves" piggy bank will produce only small change. So how do the relatively few customers get between Launceston, Camelford and Wadebridge.
One bit is easy.
WG already links two of the towns with services additional to the "main road", but withdrawn, 510. The 584 wiggles lengthily round the back way ...
 ... calling at Doc Martin Land (Port Isaac Peapod) on the way ...
... whereas the 595 follows the "old" A39 diverting off the main drag to serve the villages.
So the Wadebridge to Camelford link retains a service.

Which leaves a smaller gap between Launceston and Camelford.

Cornwall's low cost plan involves tendering (presumably?) a service 410 from its chummy "partner", Travel Cornwall. The County's web site explains:
Western Greyhound 510
Following the withdrawing of service 510, please refer to Services 6/6A operated by Stagecoach and Service 410 operated by Travel Cornwall for details of replacement journeys.

Which, obediently, we do; on Sunday 22nd February, the day before the 410 starts. But, refer we might ...
... and having referred we are reminded of the main thrust of the change.
We are also given the new numbers and even a little panel for the 410.
BUT ...

... none of these "new" panels offers a link to the timetables. "Perhaps the links will appear on the Monday," (i.e. yesterday) thinks fbb with little confidence**.

Fortunately Traveline has the new 410 service in place (have a chocolate peanut!) as does Travel Cornwall's own site.
But for the average (possibly elderly, possibly unlinked to the information not-very-super highway), how will they find out?

The local oracle ...
... knew nothing (and understood less) on February 11th, expressing deep joy about the "new" Stagecoach service which wasn't (!), and continuing ...

However, along with Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council he (MP Dan Rogerson) ...

... would continue to campaign for a replacement for the 510 services between Wadebridge, Camelford, Davidstow, Hallworthy, Pipers Pool, Tregadillett and Launceston.

"We haven't heard yet which services will replace the 510 between Launceston, Camelford and Wadebridge," he said. "I know Cornwall Council is looking at all the options to make sure that residents who don't have access to a car in Tregadillett, Pipers Pool, Hallworthy, Davidstow and other communities along the route aren't left stranded."

We also need to remember that WG haven't told their on-line public that they are withdrawing the 510 and their website was still unavailable today.
Never mind. This blog was prepared on Sunday afternoon when a little man in van from Cornwall council was nipping along the route sticking 410 timetables in the frames and removing 510 publicity, continuing with the latter project all the way to Exeter. No, sorry, all the way to Launceston; thereafter it's the lads from Devon who will have been out and about.

That will have happened, won't it?

** STOP PRESS! No links to new timetables by the time the fbb blog office closed at 2200 yesterday.

 Next birthday blog : Wednesday 25th February 


  1. What!!!! Cornwall still have a man with a van. They are becoming as rare as hen's teeth!

  2. The Cornwall county website links through to the timetables on my computer since sometime last week, although the 6/6A takes you to the Stagecoach news item first.

    The discontinuation of the 510 has been known of for weeks. I was warned, as an occasional passenger, by the 510 driver at least a month ago. Stagecoach had their publicity on the website 2 or 3 weeks ago and in any case have been shadowing the 510 as the X10 and extra 06:55 from Okehampton for the last few weeks. The 410 was a bit last minute for me (and every one?) and the section west of Camelford is now just left to the other routes to Wadebridge and Bodmin. Face to face gossip is still alive and well, as are bits of paper and have not been replaced by websites and blogs. The regular users tend to find out.

    The 510 replacements are a reduction in parts, but offer more than the historic service levels. Between Exeter and Okehampton there are also journeys on the 173 and 178, which cover local deeds and don't need to be competed against.

  3. As of sometime Monday afternoon (23/2), the Under Construction Western Greyhound website was further worked on and now clearly shows a news item "Route 510 discontinued".

  4. To Anon above. It still shows the "Under Construction" header on my confuser and nothing else. Poor browser compatibility?

  5. Let me tell you something about the Titanic, people forget, people forget that on the Titanic's maiden voyage there were over 1000 miles of uneventful, very pleasurable cruising before it hit the iceberg!