Cambridgeshire bus system needs rebranding, says city MP
Cambridge MP wants bus forum
The county’s bus system needs to be rebranded to persuade those who would not normally consider using it to get on board, according to Cambridge’s MP.
Daniel Zeichner, the shadow transport minister, says it is time to set up a bus forum to have its say on the service, routes and fares.
He believes it could become as influential as CamCycle is at representing the interests of cyclists.
The idea comes as Stagecoach East announces that daily and weekly fares across the county are to rise – and after a report showed that Cambridgeshire has the lowest bus use of any region set to elect a new mayor next month.
Mr Zeichner said: “There are an awful lot of people who wouldn’t even consider using a bus. While we’ve still got that mindset, we’re going to go on having a problem. It’s going to have to rebadged, renamed. It’s a mass transit system.
“As a city MP, I want my constituents to be able to get around quickly, easily and efficiently and I still think – despite all the hi-tech solutions that people are suggesting like tunnels, trams and light rail, all of which are quite worth thinking about – that bus is still going to be the most likely option in the short- to medium-term.
“There’s always a lot of complaining but it is an astonishing fact that far more journeys are done by bus every day than train. You’d never guess by the national coverage.”
He suggested a host of potential improvements and talking points that a bus forum, run by passengers, for passengers, could tackle, including affordability, ending the Park & Ride £1 charge, modernising the experience of bus use and reintroducing a free shuttle service.
The Labour MP was moved to suggest the forum after reading articles in the Cambridge Independent from enthusiastic bus passenger Jacqui Davis and from columnist Paul Kirkley, who wrote about his struggle to find the bus stop at Addenbrooke’s.
“I look at Cambridge Cycling Campaign and I think they do a brilliant job. I think there needs to be a voice for bus users,” said the MP. “This is the time with all the great debate going on around City Deal and devolution.”
He stopped short of setting a date to establish the forum because of yesterday’s General Election announcement.
Stagecoach East said from Sunday, April 30, the Cambridge Dayrider will cost £4.30 (up from £4.10) and the Cambridgeshire Dayrider Plus increases to £6.70 (from £6.40).
The weekly Cambridge Megarider will cost £14.50, an increase of 50p, and the Cambridgeshire Megarider Plus will cost passengers £25, also an increase of 50p.
However, the firm’s monthly bus fares have been frozen. The Cambridge four-week Megarider remains £56, the Cambridge monthly Megarider Xtra is also £56 while the Cambridgeshire Megarider Plus and the Cambridgeshire monthly Megarider Plus Xtra are £96.