Mario stunned by council's stance
THE councillor campaigning for improved bus services for a group of around 100 vulnerable people fears his appeal is "falling on deaf ears".
Mario Fonk, Cornwall councillor for Heamoor and Gulval, has spent the past six weeks canvassing both the First bus company and Cornwall Council for a change of heart regarding the bus service to Heamoor's Roscadghill Road.
The road serves three estates, two of them sheltered and housing 100 elderly or disabled folk.
Since the changes to the Cornish bus services following the decision by Cornwall Council to axe £500,000 from its bus budget and the subsequent withdrawal of Western Greyhound from west Cornwall, Roscadghill Road is served by just three services each way between the estate and Penzance on normal weekdays.
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Mr Fonk initiated discussions between First and the council about introducing additional journeys but they have now been ruled out.
However Mr Fonk says he is still being contacted by vulnerable people who are badly missing the service and is calling for the council to look at the issue again.
"The cuts are affecting people very badly," he said.
"I cannot understand why the council is not taking into consideration that more than 100 elderly or disabled people who find it difficult to walk the several hundred yards to an alternative bus stop are being directly affected by the cuts.
A lot of them will become increasingly lonely and isolated.
"What a way to treat our senior citizens.
"This is a 'can-do' council and I'm sure we can find a way forward if we try hard enough. There are ways round this problem."
Although nothing in the immediate future is promised, a spokesman for Cornwall Council did hold out some hope that services might improve from next April.
"We have held discussions with the operator over the level of provision in this area," the spokesman said.
"As the services towards Heamoor and Madron are operated commercially, the council cannot compel the bus operator to re-route services.
"We are going out to tender for the supported bus network for new routes and contracts to begin after Easter 2014 and have planned additional journeys in and out of Roscadghill Parc as part of this process."