Email from Derek Thomas MP to Phill Mason Cornwall Council.
I am writing to you about the bus service in St Erth following a survey which my office carried out in April in conjunction with St Erth Parish Council.
In the second half of 2018, I received letters and emails from a number of constituents who were unhappy about changes to bus services in West Cornwall and these concerns have been mirrored in the regular surgeries I hold.
The St Erth survey – ‘Now let’s design a better bus service!’ – sought greater detail about the particular issues and specific needs of St Erth residents following a constituency-wide survey earlier in the year. There was an excellent response – around 500 surveys were delivered to villagers in St Erth and 115 completed surveys were returned, a 23% response rate.
The survey sought answers to five questions:
How often should buses run between the village and St Erth Station Transport Hub?
More than half the residents who responded (62) felt that there should be an hourly service between St Erth and the Transport Hub
What time should the earliest bus leave the village to go to the Transport Hub?
54 out of 111 respondents felt the first service should leave the village at 7am
What time should the latest bus return to the village?
44% of 114 respondents wanted the service to run till 11pm, 32% wanted the service to run to 10pm.
Where do you want to go regularly?
Penzance Bus Station was the most popular destination, with Hayle Foundry Square and Hayle Retail Park/Lidl also proving very popular; other destinations considered important were the St Erth Transport Hub, Hayle Copperhouse and both Hayle and Marazion doctors’ surgeries. Other destinations suggested include Truro, St Ives and Camborne.
If the bus service was improved, would you consider using it instead of your car for some journeys?
An overwhelming 95% of the 110 respondents said that they would consider using the bus instead of a car if the service was improved.
Cornwall Council’s Business Plan for 2016-2020 aspires to a “prosperous Cornwall that is resilient and resourceful – a place where communities are strong and where the most vulnerable are protected”. In part, this will be achieved by enabling “people to access the services and necessities they require, whatever their incomes and wherever they live”.
I would argue that for Cornwall Council to achieve these laudable aims in a heavily rural region with many isolated communities, building a first class bus service should be a top priority.
In St Erth, there has been major investment in a transport hub at the railway station; this is very welcome but the hub does little to increase the travel options of those living in the village half a mile away.
I very much hope that the results of this survey will prompt Cornwall Council to sit down with bus operators to seek ways of improving the service to and from St Erth.
As mentioned at the start of the letter, the St Erth bus survey followed a more generalised bus survey which was sent to more than 11,000 households in the St Ives constituency. I will write again with findings from that survey and trust that it will prove useful in efforts to build a bus service that delivers for all members of the community.
I attach a copy of the findings of the St Erth Bus Survey which I hope you find useful.