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Combined Authority ‘cannot comment’ on reports of a potential bus tax

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has said it cannot comment on reports about a potential bus tax.

The BBC reported yesterday that the mayor, Dr Nik Johnson, had discussed the idea with council leaders at a private meeting earlier this month as a way to support public transport.

A spokesperson for the authority said they could not comment on matters relating to the private meeting, but said it was a place to “test a range of ideas which may or may not get developed”.

Combined Authority Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporter
Combined Authority Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporter

Last month, Stagecoach announced plans to cut 18 bus services across Cambridgeshire. The decision was met with backlash from communities, councillors and local authority leaders.

The Combined Authority retendered the services and announced today (Tuesday, October 25) that 17 of the 18 services would now be covered. The authority said the remaining route, service 39, has been covered apart from the section between Chatteris and March.

The expected total cost to keep the routes running is estimated to be around £1.25million.

A spokesperson for the Combined Authority said: “We cannot comment on any matters relating to leaders’ strategy meetings because they are held in private.

“Leaders’ strategy meetings include the opportunity for the Combined Authority board, which is chaired by the mayor, to discuss and test a range of ideas which may or may not get developed further into concrete proposals. Leaders Strategy is not a decision making forum.

“As well as working to ensure vital bus services continue between October and March, the Combined Authority is working to put in place a sustainable and affordable bus network from April 2023 onwards.

“That will start with a refreshed Bus Strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The strategy will help to define an ambitious bus network that communities across the region want and need.

“All funding options will be explored in parallel, starting with fresh representations to government to go beyond short-term bus recovery grants and put in place a long term funding solution from April 2023, that enables a reliable, sustainable and high quality bus network for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“The draft bus strategy is due to be presented to the Combined Authority’s transport and infrastructure committee in November alongside a refreshed and ambitious bus service improvement plan and case for government investment.

“Work is also continuing to further develop the business case for a franchised bus network in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

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