Meeting Discusses Improved Transport Connections To Scilly

penzance station 1Cornwall Council is working to help tourism in Scilly by encouraging improved mainland travel connections and facilities.

Their Lead Transport Officer, Nigel Blackler, says there needs to be better integration of services and operators should ensure that passengers feel valued.

Speaking at last week’s Transport User Forum, Nigel argued that partnership working between the public and private sector could help us “up our game.”

Nigel believes that a single travel ticket from Paddington through to the holidaymaker’s destination in Scilly is “entirely do-able.” It should be a goal in making booking transport to the islands straightforward.

And timetabling needs re-aligning to avoid situations where the sleeper train arrives in Penzance too late for passengers to transfer to the Scillonian

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldmsith agreed that joining planes, trains and inter-island boat schedules “would be desirable,” but he warned that the practicalities were complicated.

Britain didn’t have a great track record in joined-up services, he added.

Cornwall Council feel that an enhanced sleeper train service is important for visitors and locals traveling to and from Scilly.

Nigel explained that Cornwall had successfully lobbied government for two extra coaches to address capacity, particularly in summer.

Although 30,000 passengers use the sleeper, it remains loss making but a subsidy will secure the service for another 10 to 15 years.

Nigel said that passenger feedback indicated that standards were slipping. His team was negotiating for upgraded coaches, which could also take bicycles.

A bid to relocate maintenance from London to Penzance was underway and he told the meeting that sleeper service improvements would allow Cornwall to market the Night Riviera “more aggressively” as a means of travel to Scilly.

Cllr Colin Daly raised concerns about the lack of passenger facilities at Penzance Quay for anyone continuing their journey and Nigel said Cornwall Council views the Quay as “unfinished business.”

Their partners, including the Steamship Company and Penzance Council would continue to map out improvement plans.

The authority is also finalising plans for their own Park and Ride for long-stay passengers traveling to Scilly. That could include an enhanced shuttle bus pick-up and transfer to Penzance Quay and Land’s End Airport, along with seamless luggage transfer.

Onward travel is an issue and problems have been compounded by the shortened flying day.

Both Dr Roy Barnes and Cllr David Pearson raised this. David said it made some of his Council mainland duties “impossible” to fulfil.

Nigel said he couldn’t offer public transport improvements for Newquay Airport users who needed to continue to Treliske or Truro. The drop in passenger numbers over the last four years made it hard to justify a direct service.

Islander Richard Larn asked Steamship Company CEO Rob Goldsmith why their shuttle bus linking Land’s End to Newquay Airports when flights are-diverted couldn’t make a short detour to Treliske or Truro. That would save passengers up to £40 in taxi fares.

The Steamship Company boss pointed out that they do drop passengers at the Chiverton Cross roundabout and that he’d offer the service to Truro “in an ideal world” but the turnaround time between flights made it difficult to “stack up commercially.” But he said the company would continue to review the situation.

Nigel said talks will continue between the transport operators and the Cornwall Authority to work towards improved services.



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