I was pleased to welcome Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, to Truro today to see for himself the positive impact for local people of the Government's investment in public transport in Cornwall.
Securing the economic future of Cornwall means connecting Cornwall and investing in our infrastructure. Last year the Government announced Cornwall would receive an additional £12m over the next three years to support the Council's plans to improve bus services. This money is being used to join up bus routes, improve bus shelters and bus stops, integrate ticketing and timetabling for bus with local rail and ferry services, and to provide new and improved vehicles.
This investment is part of the One Public Transport element of Cornwall's Devolution Deal which will see £130m of Government funding used to develop an integrated rail, bus and ferry transport network across Cornwall.
First Kernow has invested £7.4m in buying 30 new double decker buses to use on routes in Cornwall, building on Go-Ahead's Go Cornwall (Plymouth City Bus) bus operation which has seen seven new vehicles already brought into service.
This latest investment means that Cornwall's two largest operators have contributed £10.5m in providing new vehicles and upgrading existing buses in Cornwall over the past 12 months.
As well as providing a number of additional features, including internet access and USB charging to enable passengers to browse the web or take advantage of a mobile office option during longer journeys, the new vehicles have also been built to the latest low emission European standards. This means 12% of the 335 buses currently being used in Cornwall will have been upgraded, producing an 84% reduction in emissions which will significantly improve air quality.
Audible stop announcements are also going to be introduced in the near future.
There will be a single timetable containing information for all public transport services across Cornwall. Also under development is a brand new transport information app which residents and visitors will be able to access on their phones or tablets and use on the go.
There will also be a new single ticketing system which can be used across all bus, rail and ferry services, with passengers able to buy tickets on buses, whether by phone, app or using a debit card.
Ticket prices will be capped at a maximum daily fare level to ensure that they are affordable and offer value for money.