NEW reduced bus services started to operate in West Cornwall on Sunday – but a group of vulnerable people could become increasingly isolated.
Last month, The Cornishman reported on the rescue plan put in place following the axing of a £500,000 subsidy which resulted in Western Greyhound withdrawing its entire Penwith operation.
But, only a couple of days into the running of the new service, Mario Fonk, Cornwall councillor for Heamoor and Gulval, is calling for an increased frequency in services for Roscadghill Parc, Nicholas Parc, Tremaine Close, Heabrook Parc and Rosehill Meadows.
He says that around 100 elderly and disabled folk living on the Roscadghill estate at Heamoor are being cut off.
Currently, the 10A service runs from Rosehill Meadow into Penzance at 8.04am with a return at 5.40pm, while the X18 operates two journeys into Penzance from Rosehill – at 9.41am and 12.41pm, returning from the bus station at 12.30pm and 3.30pm.
Mr Fonk said: "For the elderly and disabled people who rely on the bus in order to get into town the service is not a luxury, it is their only way of getting into town. Many of the residents will simply not be able to leave the village.
"I am very concerned that elderly people will become increasingly isolated."
Mr Fonk said he realises that it is a commercial decision but is calling for the First bus company to reroute the No 10 service from St Just to Penzance into Roscadghill Road which runs hourly through the village.
"It would only take an extra three minutes and would mean that people living in the area would be able to wait for a bus in the comfort of a shelter," he said.
However, it does not look as if the bus operator is having a change of heart.
A First spokesperson told The Cornishman: "Roscadghill Parc is a dead-end estate road, so buses have to make a double run to serve it. This is not ideal on through buses, as this increases the overall journey time and makes the service less attractive for longer distance passengers.
"We have, however, maintained a peak journey each way between the estate and Penzance town centre while, off-peak, we have introduced two journeys on service X18."