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Give us fit-for-purpose public transport network, Cambridge residents tell Big Conversation

By Ben Comber

GCP Cambridge Transport Network 2050
GCP Cambridge Transport Network 2050

A 'fit-for-purpose public transport network' is what Cambridge residents, commuters and businesses said they wanted from £500million of government money.

This is the findings of the 'Big Conversation', carried out by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which has incremental access to the government funds. It was a series of events alongside public consultation that the GCP says generated more than 10,000 responses.

Cllr Francis Burkitt, chairman of the executive board, said:"It's fantastic that so many people took the time to share their views during our Big Conversation. On a personal level, I'm very pleased that the vast majority of residents and businesses confirmed that we're on the right track with our strategy to help develop a truly world-class public transport, cycling and walking network that is fit for our cutting-edge city region.

"I know my GCP colleagues will want to spend time reviewing these findings and all the comments in detail because it is absolutely vital that our future investments reflect local needs and to help address the problems people have told us are real issues for them getting on better in life, especially where we can help balance social inequality by giving more people better access to our vibrant economy."

The campaign used three mechanisms for recording public feedback, including comments made at events, a Computer Aided Telephone Interview (CATI) travel survey of a representative sample of 1,021 Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire residents, commissioned from Systra, and a wider, largely self-selecting public travel survey, including 200 Computer Aided Personal Interviews (CAPI) carried out door-to-door, commissioned from Travel for Cambridgeshire.

Analysis of this data is ongoing, but the initial information released by the GCP shows that people are willing to make the switch to public transport so long as a fast, reliable service is in place.

There is also reported support for a form of road charging and pollution charging and higher support for both than for a workplace parking levy. These are being considered as schemes that could generate the money to fund a public transport network.

Respondents made clear though that the public transport needs to be in place before any charges are introduced. The findings are set to be discussed at meetings of the partnership's joint assembly on January 18 and executive board on February 8.


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