New bus timetables released for cancelled Cambridgeshire routes
The names of bus operators and new timetables for the services withdrawn by Stagecoach East from October 30 have been released.
Only one of the 18 services that were axed by Stagecoach will no longer run. This remaining route, service 39, has been covered apart from the section between Chatteris and March.
These routes are now secure until the end of March 2023. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has said in a statement that it is exploring funding options to keep the services running after that date and is working on a new bus strategy.
On September 20, Stagecoach East announced they were pulling out of 18 bus services completely and reducing a further 5 significantly. The Combined Authority went out to urgent tender the following day with the aim of finding operators to continue as many of those services as possible. The outcomes of that tendering process have been approved by the Combined Authority Board and new contracts with bus operators will come into effect from October 30 to run until the end of March 2023.
All of the five reduced services will all be covered following the tender process.
Below is a table of services and the new bus operators.
The detailed new timetables for those services can be read via the following link: New timetables from October 30 2022. They may be different to the timetables operated by Stagecoach, including times and stops, so passengers are advised to check before they travel.
Citi4 along St Neots Road and within Cambourne
5A (Citi5 beyond Northstowe)
8A March to Cottenham)
Stephensons of Essex
9A Ely City Service
Stephensons of Essex
11 Newmarket to Cambridge
Stephensons of Essex
12 Newmarket to Ely (now 112)
Stephensons of Essex
18 Cambridge to Cambourne
22 St Ives Town Circular
23 Queensgate to Lynch Wood
24 Queensgate to Lynch Wood (now 23A)
25 Trumpington to Addenbrookes
29 Hampton to Peterborough City Hospital
30 Ramsey to Huntingdon (now 305)
33 March Town Service
35 Chatteris to Huntingdon (now 305)
39 Ely to Chatteris (now Zipper 2)
39 (No cover yet between March and Chatteris)
66 St Neots to Huntingdon
915 Royston to Cambridge (now 26)
V1 Ramsey to St Ives
V2 Chatteris to St Ives
V3 Somersham to St Ives
V4 Boxworth to St Ives
V5 Hinchingbrooke to Godmanchester ( now 66)
For legal reasons around the tendering process, the Combined Authority was not able to confirm bus operators or the timetables until today. This was due to a standstill period lasting 10 days which was a legal requirement attached to the tendering process.
The routes will require some of the £1.7m set aside by the Combined Authority for subsidies to operators to keep them running. Currently, the total cost is expected to be about £1.25m.
A statement from the Cambined Authority said: "As well as working to ensure vital bus services continue between October and the end of 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.
If a further route gets withdrawn or timetable unfairly reduced by local operators, we will again have to look at whether we can pick up the pieces for that too
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “With 18 bus routes cut at short notice by Stagecoach and five more scaled back significantly, the Combined Authority has been faced with a major challenge to get services back running again, and with very little time to do it in.
“Buses are a lifeline for so many of our residents and communities. So getting services back on almost all of those routes is a huge achievement. But we know our work on retaining an effective bus network is far from over. People will now rightly be looking closely at the new timetables as they plan journeys from next Sunday onwards, 30th October. We have been working continuously with operators to try to get a level of service which will meet as much of the need and journey connectivity as possible.
“We will be monitoring the detail of how these new services are working, and will consider further issues raised by bus users, whether they are offering what people need. If we can continue to tweak things and make improvements, we will do. “But this is a sharp reminder of the reality of the current deregulated bus system, and the problems caused by 60 per cent of bidding authorities in England, including us, receiving nothing in the lottery of Government funding via Bus Service Improvement Plans. If a further route gets withdrawn or timetable unfairly reduced by local operators, we will again have to look at whether we can pick up the pieces for that too.
“That’s not a sustainable model across Britain for a vital public service that our local employees, students, hospital-goers, shoppers and people without cars so badly need. That’s why we’re looking beyond these immediate challenges for a better future for buses. We will continue to make the case to Government for fair funding for our bus system, including seeking the united all-important support of the county’s many MPs. Working with neighbours including Suffolk and all areas who will have no national support from 2023. And the Combined Authority is preparing a refreshed Bus Strategy to bring much-needed change to the whole network. We will think closely about protecting and improving bus services in 2023 and 2024, not just holding the fort through the winter.”
For passengers who may have questions about bus services, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01223 740149.