Lifeline thrown to North Cornwall bus passengers
PASSENGERS have been given a lifeline after a new operator agreed to take over an axed North Cornwall bus service
Western Greyhound is to stop the 561 service from next month, which runs between Bodmin, Wadebridge and Camelford.
But another operator, Webber Coaches, will step in to serve the area with its own 561 service – a development that parish councillors have described as a "reprieve".
Passengers living in the villages of St Tudy, St Mabyn and St Breward feared being cut off from the bigger towns following Western Greyhound's announcement last month that their service will be withdrawn.
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St Tudy Parish Council chairman Brian Lamerton said the news will delight villagers.
"It's a reprieve. We heard of a rumour going round that a new operator would take it on but now it has been confirmed it's ideal," Mr Lamerton said.
"It will be a great boost to the village of St Tudy as a lot of people feared being cut off, especially those who don't drive."
This week Webber Coaches boss Keith Webber said the company was "delighted" to replace the outgoing service.
"We happened to be offered this route and we're delighted to take it on," Mr Webber said. "We tender for various routes, and some you win and some you don't.
"We are happy to be able to extend our reliable service to these villages and towns and feel the people will once again have a service that is adequate for their needs."
Western Greyhound's 561 service will finish on November 3 with Webber Coaches taking over the following day.
The new service will also run from Monday to Saturday, but will operate from 9.15am until 5pm, instead of the current 7.40am to 6.15pm Western Greyhound service.
The decision to stop the Western Greyhound service was made after Cornwall Council, which offers a subsidy to operators, had to make savings of around £500,000 in its bus budget.
Mr Webber said that although it is a risk taking on the service, he is willing to give it a shot.
"It's a risk you take but we'll see if it's profitable in three or four months and go from there," he said.
Mr Lamerton hopes the service will be permanent but is not holding his breath.
"It will be ideal if they can carry it on, but these days you never know if it will continue so we'll have to see. But for now it's brilliant news."