Truro park and ride to get seven new electric buses - but needs someone to run them

A park and ride bus at the Tregurra site in Truro
A park and ride bus at the Tregurra site in Truro -Credit:Lee Trewhela

The future of Truro's park ride service has been uncertain for several months after First, the current operator, gave Cornwall Council six months’ notice to terminate the contract from August 2023. An agreement was reached between First and Cornwall Council to extend the service - which is worth £4.5m and provides 60,000 passenger journeys per month - until the end of this year.

The park and ride now reaches a critical stage with the announcement that the council is inviting tenders to provide the service from January 17, 2025, until March 31, 2028. The bus service has terminals based at either end of the city, with 1,379 car parking spaces at Tregurra and 1,209 at Langarth.

The council currently owns eight buses which are leased to the operator to provide the service and are maintained, fuelled and insured by the operator. The new tender announcement reveals that thanks to Government funding, the council will be introducing seven electric buses to the service to update the fleet and will install charging infrastructure on the park and ride sites.

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It also states: "There is also an opportunity for bidders to outline their plans for better utilisation of the terminal buildings and to demonstrate how, via this contract, they can bring social value to Cornwall." Could this mean the ticket offices will now become coffee shops, restaurants or other retail businesses?

The notice adds: "The council is inviting interested bidders to tender for our Truro Park & Ride Bus Service, which it aims to be seen as the mode of travel choice for residents, visitors and commuters when accessing Truro. We are seeking an operator that will share our vision that the Truro Park & Ride is a flagship service, offering a reliable, regular and affordable travel option in to Truro.

"The service route encompasses key destinations including Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital, New County Hall and the city centre. This high frequency service currently operates from 6.30am to 7.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. Buses operate between ten and 15-minute intervals during peak times to suit the needs of commuters and those visiting Truro."

For more details see the procurement document.