Recently, we have seen some brand new double decker buses taking to routes in West Cornwall. The new "Tinner" service marks a major step forward in the quality of public transport in Cornwall. It more than matches anything available elsewhere in the country and I hope this is just the beginning of some positive changes in the pipeline. It is also great to see a brand with a local connection. Not since the days of the iconic bus fleet run by Grenville Motors at Troon have we seen something that looks and feels so decidedly part of Camborne and Redruth (although this time the buses are brand new!).
My grandfather was the Chairman of the Grenville Bus Company back in the 1970s and 1980s and there were challenges making things work along rural routes even then. In the last few years I have been working with the Transport team at Cornwall Council to try to help develop a more integrated approach to public transport and the idea has gained the support of government.
We need to make connections work so that services become more frequent but also more viable. This is why I have pressed for a regular 30 minute local train service through Cornwall with buses then providing onward connections over shorter rural routes to our villages. If we can join up commercial trunk routes of buses and trains with smaller, local, shuttle buses travelling shorter distances, you start to get the makings of something that can really work.
We are also making progress improving things on long haul journeys. Since I was elected, I have been fighting to get an upgrade to the “Night Riviera” sleeper service, which will be introduced shortly. I am a regular and devoted user of the sleeper service, using it every weekend to get down to Camborne. I know how important the service can be for businesses and visitors alike and I am pleased that it will be able to provide more capacity and better facilities to compete with other forms of transport.
Newquay Airport is also going from strength to strength. It serves as a lifeline for businessmen and women who use the service regularly, and has seen impressive growth in the last year. It's not long ago that the very future of Newquay Airport seemed in doubt but we have seen a great turnaround in its fortunes. A lot of work has gone in to making transport work better for Cornwall and we are now seeing important changes.