LATEST NEWS

Park and ride service, review confirms drop in passenger numbers. Read more.
Bus fares increasing from 12 May. Read more.

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Purpose of Cornwall Buses website

The purpose of this website is encourage more people in Cornwall to use bus services rather than their cars. Increased patronage of buses would mean that service levels can be maintained or increased, the bus network would become more sustainable and the overall carbon emissions of the transport system in Cornwall would be reduced.

Cornwall has an extensive network of bus routes across what is a very large, mainly rural county. However, getting from A to B via bus in Cornwall is not always straightforward, particularly for the uninitiated. Finding out what services are available, at what times they run, how much they will cost is not always easy. Information is available from a variety of sources such as timetable booklets, timetable cases at bus stops, real time passenger information systems at bus stops, websites and apps on smartphones. This website aims to provide answers to some of the questions in one place, or to point people to the places where the answers are available.

The website has been put together by me, Bob Egerton, former Cornwall Councillor, acting in a voluntary capacity. I receive no funding from any bus company or from Cornwall Council. The information on this site is derived from a variety of sources including the websites of Cornwall Council and the bus companies. Sometimes the information on those sites can be out of date, or confusing or occasionally incorrect. But what appears on this site is my responsibility and mine alone. I hope that the site is helpful to bus passengers, existing or potentially new ones. If you see any errors on this site, or something is not clear, or you would like further information to be included on the site, please contact me through the contact page or email me directly at the address at the bottom of the page.

Background
Bus services across the U.K. were deregulated in October 1986 as a result of the Transport Act 1985. The effect of this was essentially to allow any bus operator to set up and run routes wherever it thought that it could make a profit, subject only to the operator being accredited to run services by the Traffic Commissioner and the operator giving 70 days' notice to the local transport authority and 42 days’ notice to the Commissioner of the details of the proposed service.

If the only services being run by a bus company were those where it thought that it could make a profit, there would be many places, paricularly in more sparsely populated rural areas, where no services would run. This is the case in much of Cornwall. In order to provide services in these areas, the local transport authority, i.e. in our case, Cornwall Council, offers to subsidise routes that it thinks are necessary for rural communities. The Council invites tenders from the bus companies to run the services on these routes and, in essence, the operator bidding for the lowest subsidy wins the contract. In 2019/20, Cornwall Council decided that the best approach would be to package together all the subsidised routes and ask bus companies to bid for the whole package rather than for individual routes. As a consequence, in early 2020, a contract was awarded to Plymouth CityBus, trading as GoCornwall Bus in this area, to run services across a large part of Cornwall. Meanwhile, First Buses, who were not successful in their bid for the contract, continue to run services on those routes that it considers are viable without subsidy. These are what as known as the commercial services. On some of the subsidised routes, CityBus have subcontracted to one or two smaller operators, e.g. Travel Cornwall, OTS. In addition, Stagecoach run some services in the north and east of Cornwall linking up with destinations in Plymouth and Devon.

How to use this website
If you are relatively new to using buses in Cornwall, you can follow the information provided on this site to help you have a reasonable experience of bus travel.

Network and routes: start on the network page to see where buses run and sketch out what your journey might entail.

Timetables: having established the bus or buses you are likely to want to catch, look up the timetables to see when they will be running.

Real time passenger information: having worked out from the timetable when the bus should be running, how confident can you be that the bus will run at that time? On the real time information page, the system is explained but it is far from perfect. As a consequence, an alternative way of tracking your expected bus is suggested using a third party bus tracking website.

Fares: it can be complicated to find out how much it will cost you to travel on the bus. There is a large menu of options of fares for singles, returns, season tickets, adult fares, child fares, family fares etc. With the introduction of the Bus Fares Pilot in Cornwall in 2022, all fares were reduced from what had been quite high levels. In addition, government funding was announced in 2023 to provide support for a maximum £2 single fare on most services across England. The initial three month scheme was extended twice through to October 2023, and then again, after the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2, until end of 2024. Go to the Fares page for full details on the fare options and how to purchase tickets. For more detail about the latest on tap and cap, go to that page.

Smartphone apps: both of the main operators in Cornwall, First and GoCornwall, have their own apps that can be downloaded from the Apple Store or from Google Play for Android users. These apps provide information such as timetables, journey planning, the ability to buy mobile tickets, real time information on the bus that you are waiting for etc. See apps page.

Park and ride: the Truro park and ride operates as a standalone service running from Langarth to Tregurra via Truro College, the hospital, the railway station and the city centre. See park and ride.

Links to other websites: links to other websites are embedded within the information on most of the pages on this website, but Links provides a summary of these.

News and blog: over time, news items and musings about bus services in Cornwall are on the News and Blog page. If you would like to receive an email notification whenever a new story is posted on the website, please complete the form on the contact page.

Contact: finally, there is a page for how to contact the bus companies, or you can give me feedback with your thoughts, questions, suggestions about bus services. Please use the Contact page, or email me directly at the address at the bottom of the page.