Give us more and at times to suit and we’ll catch the bus, residents tell council

PUBLISHED: 15:58 19 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 19 November 2020

Mayor James Palmer takes a tour with Stagecoach buses. The mayor is to be asked by East Cambs Council to underwrite a new approach to bus services in the area. Residents say timing and supply could persuade them to take more journeys by bus. Picture; CAPCA

Mayor James Palmer takes a tour with Stagecoach buses. The mayor is to be asked by East Cambs Council to underwrite a new approach to bus services in the area. Residents say timing and supply could persuade them to take more journeys by bus. Picture; CAPCA

Archant

A third of those who responded to a questionnaire from a council about buses, never use them.

East Cambridgeshire District Council says a consultation to draw up a bid for improved bus services attracted 1,458 responses.

But of these 578 “are from those who never use a bus,” says a report to councillors.

“The main reasons given for this were because either service too infrequent, there is no service or car is more convenient or quicker.

“The questionnaire asked about changes to existing services and the most requested change was a more frequent service”.

Residents were asked for their suggestions about possible new services.

The top 10 most requested were:

* Burwell to Cambridge

* Ely to Cambridge • Burwell to Ely

* Isleham to Ely

* Bottisham to Cambridge

* Isleham to Newmarket

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* Haddenham to Cambridge

* Isleham to Cambridge

* Littleport to Ely

* Newmarket to Cambridge

The report says some of the suggestions, for example, Burwell to Cambridge and Ely to Cambridge already exist as services.

However, “people were requesting services at different times during the day and evening, Sunday services and direct routes to Cambridge and destinations in Cambridge”.

A new bus service proposal for East Cambridgeshire document has been published that contains maps showing the demand for new routes and services.

East Cambs Council is to ask for funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) to trial new bus services.

They also hope they will be given time to become established and viable.

The council is also recommending a series of improvements, which are a combination of new scheduled services, improvements to existing services and demand responsive transport services (DRT).

“These will deliver improved connectivity to transport interchanges and corridors e.g., railway stations and the busway, improve links to employment areas, local shops and services and support better connected communities,” says the report.

The council says it would like to work with the CAPCA to trial earlier and later buses and Sunday services, particularly to/from Cambridge.

They also hope to increase the frequency of services that do not currently provide an hourly service, for example the Stagecoach 39 service, and to provide additional services for villages that do not have a daily bus service. The council also wants CAPCA to consider trialling demand responsive transport (DRT) solutions in providing bus services in East Cambridgeshire, to complement the existing dial-a-ride services.


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