POTENTIAL operators for Truro’s park and ride (P&R) have been invited to tender to provide the service for three years from January 2025.

The future of the (P&R) has been uncertain since current operator First 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 £4.5-million and provides 60,000 passenger journeys per month – until the end of this year.

The P&R 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 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.

Bidders are also encouraged to outline 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 that the council aims for the P&R “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 currently operates from 6.30am to 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with buses between ten and 15-minute intervals during peak times to suit the needs of commuters and visitors.

The service route encompasses key destinations including Truro College, the Royal Cornwall Hospital, New County Hall and the city centre.