Driverless shuttles and electric buses proposed for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

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A public survey is to be launched on proposed changes to the bus service in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, with options including driverless shuttles and electric buses.

The survey is being launched by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority as part of a reform of the bus network.

A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough

A Stagecoach bus in Peterborough

Beginning on November 4, there will be a six week survey to canvas public views on the county’s bus services and how they can be improved.

The public will have the opportunity to give feedback on the current bus network, what they think is working and what could be improved through a series of focus groups and a survey that can be completed online or by phone.

Respondents will be asked to comment on current levels of satisfaction with bus services and their support for a range of suggested improvements, including more frequent services, an expansion of the bus network and new routes.

Other ideas for improving services include greater use of technology such as driverless shuttles and more use of alternative fuels such as electric buses.

The results of the survey with the public will be used as an evidence base for what needs to change which will be taken forward by the mayoral authority and developed into a plan for how to improve the bus network.

The public body released the findings of a strategic bus review earlier this year which recommended an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ (EP) between itself and Stagecoach, the only significant bus operator in the area. This would see them work together on actions such as branding, tickets, real-time information and timetables.

The review, though, stated that if the EP did not deliver the combined authority’s vision, it could undertake franchising. This would allow it “complete control” over how services are delivered in an area.

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Mayor James Palmer, leader of the combined authority, said: “Buses form a fundamental component of the public transport offering across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, however, the bus network that we currently have is simply not good enough.

“Services are frequently in decline, particularly in rural or less prosperous areas, key employment areas are not linked, and bus routes are not properly integrated with other points of transport such as rail stations. This has major social impacts and harms our prosperity as it limits opportunities for those unable to travel by car.

“We will keep an open mind as to how the bus network could be improved, including exploring new ways of delivering bus services, such as franchising and enhanced partnerships.

“Transport is something that affects everyone, so the input of the public is vitally important, and I strongly encourage people to come forward with their views on how bus services can be levelled up.”

The plan for delivering improvements to the bus network will build on the recommendations and proposals of both the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough draft Local Transport Plan and the Strategic Bus Review

The survey will be able to be accessed via www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/FutureBus/.

Surveys can also be completed over the phone by contacting ITP on 07377001512 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

The survey is being carried out by ITP on behalf of the combined authority.

A summary of the survey results will be shared on the public body’s website in early 2020.

Everyone who completes the survey will also have the choice to enter a prize draw to win £100 of high street shopping vouchers.