Combined Authority agrees to continue funding for 18 bus services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
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A number of bus services put under review by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority will continue to receive funding.The authority reviewed 19 services it subsidises and has agreed to continue funding for most of the routes, but one still faces an uncertain future.The number 29 bus service between Peterborough City Hospital and Hampton is due to undergo a further review to see whether the service should end after a “very limited take-up”.
At a meeting of the Combined Authority’s board this week (November 29), members agreed the recommendations for the 19 services.Councillor Chris Boden (Conservative), leader of Fenland District Council, said he was “disappointed” in the proposals as he said they were keeping the “status quo”, which he said was “unambitious”.Councillor Lucy Nethsingha (Liberal Democrat), leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said she was “slightly surprised” by these comments, as she said she thought it was a “fantastic piece of work”.Cllr Nethsingha said there had been “significant risks” for the Combined Authority to take on the funding of a number of bus services last year, as she said the bus network was “not ideal” and that some of the routes were “not doing particularly well”.She said the proposals would hopefully show how small changes could be made to the bus services in order to increase the number of people using them.Councillor Anna Smith (Labour), the Cambridge City Council representative at the board, said: “It is an important step, does it create the best bus network we could possibly want, no, but that was not its intention.”Cllr Smith said the intention had been to look at the bus services currently subsidised by the Combined Authority and find ways to improve the routes that needed additional help.She added that the authority also looked at the “social value” of the services, not just the commercial value, and said this demonstrated the difference a local authority controlled bus network could create.
Full outcome breakdown of the 19 reviewed bus services
7A: Duxford - Whittlesford - Sawston - Whittlesford - DuxfordCost per passenger £124.83. Recommended to be retained with improvement through merging with a home to school service to provide a “more cost effective solution”.8A: Cottenham - Chatteris - MarchCost per passenger £76.35. Recommended to be retained with improvement, but providing “significantly improved” interchange at the Milton Park and Ride to try and “drive additional demand”.29: Peterborough City Hospital - HamptonCost per passenger £74.71. Recommendation that further engagement is required, due to “very limited take-up”. Report said there should be a review as to whether the service should end.15: Over - St IvesCost per passenger £59.41. Recommended to be retained with improvement, including being extended to serve Willingham, with a further review proposed to be undertaken to look at options to link up with other services.31: Cambridge - Fowlmere - BarleyCost per passenger £41.56. Recommended to be retained with improvement, proposed to be “recast with revised frequency, [and] better integration” with the 26 service.75: Cambridge - Orwell - WrestlingworthCost per passenger £20.36. Recommended to be retained with improvement, proposed to be “recast with revised frequency, [and] better integration” with the 26 service.18: Newmarket - Fulbourn - Teversham - Newmarket Road Park and RideCost per passenger £40.52. Recommended to retain the Tuesday service, as the report said the passenger levels have not recovered following Covid.65: St Neots - The Offords - BuckdenCost per passenger £19.99. Recommended to be retained with improvement, including a potential further connection to the Buckden GP to try and increase demand for the service.Ting: West Huntingdonshire Demand Responsive TransportCost per passenger £42.31. Recommended to be retained, but refocused to limit the potential for journeys to start and end in St Neots. This is proposed in order to try and remove duplication with scheduled bus services and increase the availability of Ting for people in rural areas.301: St Ives - Somersham - RamseyCost per passenger £31.58. Recommended to be retained as it is.305: Huntingdon - Ramsey - ChatterisCost per passenger £13.34. Recommended to be retained with increased frequency and journey time.150: St Neots - Kimbolton - TilbrookCost per passenger £15.26. Recommended to be retained, but with further work planned in the future. The Combined Authority has said it hopes changes to the Ting service will increase demand for the 150.22A (300): St Ives Town ServiceCost per passenger £22.11. Recommended to be retained after a recent increase in passengers after a change to the commercial network. It is proposed to be kept under review to monitor that the increased demand is retained.415: Peterborough - UpwoodCost per passenger £20.49. Recommended to be retained, but plans to look at changing it to a dial-a-ride service.33A: March Town ServiceCost per passenger £18.48. Recommended to be retained, due to the cost per passenger recently decreasing below the £12 benchmark after it was taken over by a new operator. There are still plans to look at whether the service can be improved to better align with the railways station in March.17: Royston - Bassingbourn - Guilden MordenCost per passenger £18.44. Recommended to be retained, but with revised times to try and align better with the 26 bus service.12: Newmarket - Fordham - Soham - Stuntney - ElyCost per passenger £15.11. Recommended to be retained, but to be kept under review.19: Haverhill - Linton - Burrough GreenCost per passenger £14.56. Recommended to be retained due to it “performing reasonably well” by offering access to jobs and services. It is proposed to look at ways to better integrate the service with other cross boundary services into Newmarket.61: Eynesbury - St Neots - Eaton Ford/Eaton Socon - St Neots - EynesburyCost per passenger £13.40. Recommended to be retained after changes made by a new operator have “significantly” reduced the cost per passenger to now being below the £12 benchmark set by the Combined Authority.