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Good news for Cornwall’s railways as number of journeys soar

Cornwall Council’s ground-breaking plans to improve bus and rail services in Cornwall and encourage more people to use public transport are already producing positive results – with more people now choosing to jump onto the bus or train and leave their cars at home.

More people have been recorded travelling on Cornwall’s trains to St Ives this summer than any other year. Following the opening of the St Erth Park and Ride in June, 406,000 journeys have been made on the St Ives Bay Line, nearly 89,000 more than last year, an increase of 28%.

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And it’s not just the branch line seeing an upsurge. The mainline has seen a 21% increase in recorded local journeys since the introduction of additional services in May 2019.

Cornwall Council is committed to creating ‘One Public Transport System for Cornwall’ (OPTSfC) to improve the standard of public transport in the county and attract more people out of their cars.

The Council’s Climate Emergency announcement places further importance on the need to encourage more people to switch from their cars to using public transport to travel to work and for leisure activities.

Over the past four years the authority has delivered significant customer focused improvements to bus and rail services under Cornwall’s Devolution Deal programme with the support of Growth Deal funding.

The recent investments in the new multi-modal hub at St Erth and the additional signalling on the mainline to allow more trains to run are already benefitting residents and visitors.

As well as the welcome increase in rail journeys, the Council’s investment in bus services has led to a 5% increase in bus patronage since last year and the highest satisfaction rating it has ever received from bus users - 90%, proving that the improvements are starting to make a positive difference to customers and changing behaviour.

From December 2019, further rail timetable changes will mean that trains run on much more standard patterns making it easier to connect to buses and know when your train is coming. This integration will significantly improve the public transport connectivity of Cornwall.

“This welcome increase in the number of rail journeys is very good news “ said Geoff Brown, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport. “ We want to encourage local residents, visitors and commuters to use public transport to travel to work, and for health, education, shopping and leisure rather than using their cars. This change will help improve air quality, reduce congestion and ease parking issues across the county.

“We have been working hard through our One Public Transport Scheme for Cornwall to provide a joined up public transport system across rail, bus and ferry services to provide regular, convenient, reliable transport for residents and visitors. The increase in rail and bus journeys over the past 12 months shows that our approach is working.

“We will continue to invest in the public transport network and will work with our partners and operators to maintain this improvement”