'We'll be left stranded by bus service cuts'
A MEVAGISSEY resident has slammed the countywide bus cuts which she says will have a profound effect on elderly people in the area.
Western Greyhound and First Devon and Cornwall announced last month that many Cornish services were to change from November 3 as a result of a reduction in council subsidy.
Diane Cox, who lives at the top of School Hill in Mevagissey, said the route changes on the Western Greyhound 524/5/6 services would have a major impact on the lives of her husband and others living in the area.
The services will no longer run via School Hill in Mevagissey or beyond Heligan, also isolating the villages further down.
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The buses currently run from St Austell station through Tregiskey and along Cliff Road to School Hill, before stopping at the Ship Inn and Valley Road in the centre of the village. The bus then travels on to Heligan, Gorran and Gorran Haven before turning around.
The new route will only travel down Valley Road into the centre of Mevagissey, before stopping in Heligan and going back to St Austell.
Mrs Cox, 68, said her 84-year-old husband would be unable to walk up School Hill from the centre of Mevagissey carrying heavy shopping bags.
"My husband has osteoarthritis, so how can he walk up such a steep hill carrying bags of shopping?" she asked.
"It's not just my husband; there are a lot of elderly living around here and it's really worrying people. To be honest, it's frightening."
Western Greyhound announced that due to high passenger demand it would no longer run services via School Hill, enabling larger vehicles to be used, but Mrs Cox said larger buses weren't needed in winter.
"The buses are busy in the summer but at this time of year, small buses are sufficient," she said. "I know bigger buses will be better in the summer for the tourists, but what about us, the people who live here all year round?
"I just don't know what the answer is. What can we do?
"We won't be getting taxis to St Austell and back for £15, that's for sure."
Mrs Cox said she also felt for the villagers of Gorran and Gorran Haven, who would have no bus service at all on most days of the week.
"It's even worse for them, because they'll be completely cut off, and for them St Austell is even further away," she said.
Although the Gorran Community Bus would still run, the service was restricted to certain days.
Only last week St Austell mayor Steve Double said it was vital that small villages didn't find themselves isolated as a result of bus cuts.
"Although the council is under pressure to make cuts, connections between villages and the large towns must be maintained," he said.