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Stagecoach challenged over decision not to use most Histon Road stops in Cambridge for A-bus services

Stagecoach has been challenged about its decision not to use most stops along Histon Road in Cambridge for its A-bus services.

Lilian Rundblad, member of Histon Road Area Residents’ Association, told a city council meeting that the community had received a “very unreliable service” since the buses began only stopping at Akeman Street.

A Stagecoach bus on Histon Road. Picture: Keith Heppell.
A Stagecoach bus on Histon Road. Picture: Keith Heppell.

She said the buses were often either cancelled, or full of passengers by the time they reached Histon Road.

Ms Rundbald told the north area committee that residents wanted to see the Brownlow Road and the Carisbrooke Road bus stops reinstated “immediately”.

One parent also asked for more peak-hour services, noting that their son, a student at Long Road College, was not allowed on three buses on one morning on Histon Road as they were all full.

David Boden, business development director at Stagecoach, said the decision to remove the bus stops had not been taken lightly, and said he was “truly sorry” for the impact it was having on people.

He explained there had been a problem with A buses stopping along Histon Road because they were full after leaving Orchard Park.

Since the introduction of the 8A service meant Histon Road had “effectively” a 15-minute service into the city, he said the focus had been to provide access for people to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

He said: “People say ‘it only takes you a second to stop at a bus stop’ and that is true, but every additional minute you put into a service costs extra buses, extra buses that at the moment are simply completely and utterly unaffordable, whichever mechanism you use to run the buses.

“By stopping at every bus stop on Histon Road and boarding people who just want to go into the city, what you do is potentially undermine the service as a whole.

“Whereas if you are offering a 15-minute service into the city and you restrict boarding on Histon Road to Akeman Street, you then give a chance of whatever potential seats are coming off Orchard Park being available to people who are travelling to Addenbrooke’s rather than the city.”

Mr Boden also said the frequency of services could not be increased until the closed southern section of the busway – between Cambridge station and Addenbrooke’s Hospital – was reopened.

He said that since the section closed nearly two years ago, additional buses were needed due to buses having to use Hills Road instead and hitting traffic.

Mr Boden said the closure was having a “profound and fundamental impact on the viability of the busway”.

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