In a peninsula like Cornwall, there will always be challenges to building a resilient public transport structure. However, some good progress has been made in the last few years. We have invested to improve our railways and there is now a regular half hourly service running through Cornwall which has led to a significant increase in passenger numbers.
However, for most people in Cornwall, it is the local service that matters most and the key to making things work better is to try to integrate or join up the bus network with the rail network more effectively than we have done in the past. This will allow rail and bus timetables to work in tandem to give people more frequent options to get from one destination to another.
I have long pressed for a regular and routine 30-minute local train service through Cornwall with buses then providing onward connections over shorter rural routes to our villages and this is now starting to come together. By joining up commercial routes of buses and trains with smaller, local, shuttle buses travelling shorter distances, you start to get the makings of something that could really work, and you could build more confidence in the public transport network.
There are now however some really interesting and important things happening with the Government announcing that local bus routes will be supported more than ever with the new ‘Superbus’ network. This network is part of the government’s plans to reverse the impacts of dwindling services in local towns and drive forward a bus revolution that will improve access to these fantastic local services.
As the home to Britain’s first ‘Superbus’ Cornwall will pioneer the service with investment driven towards more frequent public transport in the countryside and rural places where often the remaining local services have often struggled to meet demand. New apps will also be developed that draw together information on bus routes, fares, and timetables from different bus operators across England into one place. As ever the need to think about the environment has been factored into these plans with buses for larger cities and towns to be electrified, and hybrid engines ordered for those on more rural routes.
Creating an integrated public transport system for Cornwall is an important step forward in ensuring that our communities are supported. Often you’ll find in Cornwall that you may be able to get a train for part of your journey but that it is very difficult to get to that train. The ‘Superbus’ network will help deliver that support by improving the quality, frequency and capacity of rail and bus services to create an integrated public transport system for Cornwall so that no one is left behind.
The idea of the ‘Superbus’ network planned for Cornwall is to have low fares improving the affordability of the routes whilst also introducing more bus priority measures to speed up journeys and make them more reliable. For many, it is often the cost and difficulty of travel is a major barrier to getting work, seeing loved ones or travelling at all. The ‘Superbus’ service will help to alleviate the problems that people experience and will be a major boost for local residents in Cornwall.