Villagers 'will be cut off as buses pass yards away'
A BUS operator and Cornwall Council have been lambasted for failing to consult villagers over cuts to their bus service.
Western Greyhound will scrap its twice-hourly 597 service from December 3, leaving just one bus passing through Mitchell during peak times.
The 88A, operated by First, will run once an hour – but not in the evenings or Sundays, when Western Greyhound's soon-to-be renamed 597 service will continue.
Chris Tankard, a Mitchell resident, St Newlyn East parish councillor and regular user of the 597, said neither Cornwall Council nor Western Greyhound had contacted passengers over the changes.
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"It's very poor," he said. "The most important people here are the passengers: the guy who needs to get to work, the woman who needs to get to a doctor's appointment, young people trying to get to school or college; these are the ones who are going to be hit hard."
Despite Mitchell losing the 597 during daylight, the service will still pass within yards of the village, on the A30.
Mr Tankard said he had spoken to Western Greyhound managing director Mark Howarth, who said short slip lanes linking the village to the A30 were partly to blame, delaying services because drivers had to wait for a wide enough gap to pull into safely.
Mr Tankard said if pressure could be put on the Highways Agency to lengthen the slip roads, the bus service could be restored to the village.
"We need our bus service," he said.
"It seems crazy to lose it when the bus will still go right past the village."
In a statement, Mr Howarth blamed Cornwall Council for cutting reimbursements for concessionary fare cards from 73.5 per cent to 36 per cent of the average fare.
This meant that in areas with many elderly residents who used bus passes, companies could not recoup enough money to make the service viable. "I urge Cornwall Council to review the reimbursement to bus companies for the conveyance of free bus pass holders to avoid massive hardship to the public," he said.
A spokesman for the council blamed a £2.3 million cut in transport funding by the Government for the reduction in concessionary fare subsidies.