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New companies sought for Cambridgeshire bus routes as strategy agreed





New bus companies to run three routes will be sought, after the existing providers announced they would be surrendering the contracts.

Officers had looked at whether the existing contract with Ting could be used to compensate for the loss of the 61/61X route.
Officers had looked at whether the existing contract with Ting could be used to compensate for the loss of the 61/61X route.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s board has agreed to continue subsidising the bus routes and to look for new providers.

As reported last week, A2B has told the authority that it will be surrendering two bus routes, the route 46, which runs once a week between Linton and Newmarket, and the route 15 which runs once a week between Haslingfield and Royston.

And Whippet has informed the Combined Authority that it will be surrendering the route 61/61X contract, the Eynesbury Texco to St Neots Circular.

A report presented to last week’s board meeting said officers had looked at whether the existing contract with Ting – an ‘Uber-style’ demand responsive transport service – could be used to compensate for the loss of the 61/61X route.

But they found there was “insufficient capacity on that service to cater for the additional customers and provide the desired service to more rural areas”.

The board members agreed for the authority to obtain “competitive quotes” for three replacement bus contracts.

The board also approved the Combined Authority’s new bus strategy, which sets out the authority’s aim to create a “comprehensive network of bus services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that people find convenient, easy to use, reliable, and good value for money”.

The strategy aims to make buses more affordable, faster and more punctual to double passengers by 2030 and cut the reliance on cars.

A public consultation on bus franchising to help achieve this is due later this year.

A report said: “Locally, there are concerns that the current approach does not deliver the best service for the whole Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.

“Therefore, the Combined Authority is currently assessing whether introducing bus franchising would be beneficial.

“This would mean that the Combined Authority would specify all routes, timetables and ticketing arrangements, inviting bus operators to tender for contracts to operate those services.

“Franchising itself will not deliver new or improved services, greater reliability, or lower fares.

“These can only be achieved through increased investment in the network.

“However, what franchising could offer is greater network stability and local authority control over the design and delivery of an improved network or services with a sense of a single, integrated system and identity.”



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