A new bus franchise operated by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority may become a reality

PUBLISHED: 12:50 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:50 29 November 2017

Mayor James Palmer . Picture: Keith Heppell

Mayor James Palmer . Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

A £150,000 study will explore the possibility.

The Combined Authority board has agreed to a £150,000 study that will fund a strategic review of commercial, subsidised and community bus services.

The findings will be fed into a new Local Transport Plan.

Charles Roberts, portfolio holder for Transport, said: “Buses provide vital services to our communities. They provide economic and social benefits by connecting people with jobs, shops and facilities. They can minimise social isolation and can reduce congestion on some of our busiest roads.

“There are a mix of commercial, subsidised and commercial services operating across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; some are extremely successful and some do not have high enough patronage levels to continue operating in their current form. This review is vital to ensuring we can deliver the highest quality service for local people while feeding into the wider transport priorities for the Combined Authority area.”

Mayor James Palmer added: “It’s important that we have a strategic look at the provision of bus services across the entirety of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“I’m fully aware that many people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are not satisfied with the current provision so the review will provide a valuable opportunity for us to consider how things might be done differently.

“The 2017 Bus Services Act enables Mayoral Combined Authorities to consider franchising as a potential option for bus service provision. This is something that will be fully explored by the strategic review.

“I’m excited by the review. As Mayor, I’m keen to do things differently and look at things afresh. This strategic review will enable us to take a proper look at the future of bus service provision in our area and how it’s likely to develop and change over the years ahead. There are many options open to us that will hopefully enable us to play an active role in delivering better services to the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who rely on buses.”

The study will provide a menu of potential options for improving the service in the medium and long term.

Bus operators are being consulted. So too is the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is divising new bus routes to the west and south of Cambridge, with potential for off-road routes. The GCP board last week voted unanimously in favour of progressing plans for improved bus connections along the A1307.

Three options are being considered to improve bus transport along the corridor, including bus lanes on the highway, and a possible off-road route for buses between Cambridge Biomedical Campus and Grant Park and Babraham Research Campus.

Also under consideration is whether this link could interact with a Cambridge South train station.

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