Monday, 16 March 2020

Kernow's Krazy Kutbacks (1)

Many readers will know, in general, what is happening in Cornwall in just two weeks' time. In very simple terms, the County has packaged together all existing tendered services with new routes, some of which have not been operated for years. The tender was won by GoAhead and will be provided by a dramatic expansion (100 vehicles) of its GoCornwall brand.
Go Cornwall was created to replace routes in East Cornwall operated by the failed Western Greyhound company. The grand plan has been feted by the Council with some very laudable aims.
There is a posh multi-coloured diagram expanding these noble headings - which fbb will look at in a later blog.

But with just two weeks to go, the only clear information is that from First Bus.
Their Summer timetable, introduced early to match the grand plan is pretty much last years's summer timetable with all tendered work stripped out. The effect on First's network is substantial and fbb will sample a few areas by comparing new and old network maps.

We begin with Penzance.
Winter 2019/2020
Summer 2020
The 16 and 16A have gone, the latter being a particularly attractive ride, not via Gurnards Head promontory, but calling at the hotel well back from the cliffs.
Service 5 to Paul and Sheffield has been lost as has town service 11. But, maybe, these losses are not too damaging to First's business or to travel opportunities for tourists.

Next, The Lizard.
Winter 2019/2020
Summer 2020
Lost is the attractive 35/35A between Falmouth and Helston and the L2 from Helton to Coverack and St Keverne.

Bearing in mind there is no on-line detail of GoCornwall's replacement, the only source is a trawl through traveline. This shows that the present L2 ...
... replaced by the 36A with no through journeys between Helston and Truro ...
... and with new times but no real improvement even on the curtailed part of the service.

But look now at the huge area of service between Helston and Camborne.
Winter 2019/2020
Summer 2020
Not a dicky bird - all gone to GoCornwall!

And finally for this sample blog, St Austell.
Winter 2019/2020
Summer 2020
Just three services left in the hands of First. Whilst prodding around on line in this area, fbb wondered what had happened to Luxulyan. For many years this little village has benefitted from journeys run on the back of the contract to serve the Eden Project with route 101.
Winter 2019/2020
Under the new regime, the 101 has become E1 and serves Eden Project only ...
... with no trips to the unusually named village.

Traveline can find journeys from 30th March ...
... by Firt Kernow service 101!
Well, actually, no!

One source has opined that First Bus carries 80% of the county's passengers on their commercial network, so the loss of these bits may not make a huge difference to their bottom line, BUT ...

It is not just the weedy services that have gone to GoAhead, it is also tendered individual journeys (e.g. early mornings, evening and Sundays) that are appended to First's commercial timetables.

Take the prestigious T1/T2 (The Tinner) for example.
This runs every 15 minutes between Truro and St Erth continuing every 30 minutes to St Ives or Penzance. Here is the evening service ...
Winter 2019/2020
From the end of the month all those journeys west of Camborne have gone from First's operation, replaced by bits and pieces from GoCornwall.
Summer 2020
A first glance, this seems reasonable - indeed there is now a much later through run from Truro. But, when you start musing about fares and ticket inter-availability, the consequences become horrendous.

GoCornwall has a huge chunk of Sunday travel 

Remember : this blog proffers just a sample of the mayhem created county-wide for First Bus.

Unfortunately, so far, (fbb repeats, with a fortnight to go) absolutely nothing has been said about fares and tickets so we must assume utter independence and, almost certainly, increased costs for locals and tourists when they discover that their much-loved First Bus "Rover" tickets are not valid on the GoCornwall journeys.

fbb has heard from a "usually reliable source" within the First Bus management team, that, in deference to the sanity of the passengers, first offered to include the tendered T1 journeys on their printed and on-line timetable pages. Not just the T1, but on any First service which had lost its tendered "extra" journeys.

Cornwall Council was "unable to supply the information."

Beyond belief!

fbb will look at the fares complexities, albeit in a part vacuum, until GoAhead or the Council reveals all, in tomorrow's blog.

There will also be the question as to how this scheme fulfills the noble aims of the great plan.

Now there's a puzzle!
On TV Tonight!
Panorama - about the decline of rural bus services.
BBC 1 at 2030 or iPlayer

  Next Krazy Kernow blog : Tuesday 17th March 


  1. Tenders were individual lots not just one but Citybus won with a block bid AFAIK.

  2. Major correction: none of the new routes are to be operated under the GoCornwall brand. "Transport for Cornwall" is the new name, complete with a website - not yet quite complete -
    And it is not exclusively a Go-Ahead operation: several independents have been signed up as sub-contractors.

  3. Cornwall's big project is being launched in May. The trains have already been increased. Buses come next with just 2 publicly visible operators.

    Transport for Cornwall has some timetables online now and Traveline has many more. Yes there are some errors due to the hurry.

    St Austell area sees the following changes:

    TfC – Transport for Cornwall – Plymouth City bus and sub-contractors.

    21 TfC Evening and Sunday additions
    22 TfC Minor timing changes
    23 TfC Travel Cornwall 471 renumbered
    24 First contract jnys early and late by TfC
    25 TfC Newquay to St Austell section doubled to hourly
    27 First Service with contract journeys by TfC – a few extra journeys
    28 TfC New service to Lostwithial replacing 101 at Luxulyan
    30 TfC Small changes and additions
    51 TfC Re-routed to Austell, connects with improved 50
    101 Replaced by E1 and 28
    E1 First Now regular hourly service to Eden project replacing irregular

    Their will be more service when it is finished.

  4. Not the 1 operator across cornwall they promised then. In fact utter chaos and passengers needing to buy tickets for different operators to get to and from work.

  5. This all feels a bit reminiscent of the Damory farce in Dorset a few years ago