Three more Cambridgeshire bus services may disappear

Three bus services could end if no new providers are found, after the existing bus companies announced plans to hand over contracts to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Authority.

A2B has told the authority it will drop two bus routes: 46, which runs once a week between Linton and Newmarket, and 15, which runs once a week between Haslingfield and Reuston.

Bus operators no longer wish to operate three existing routes
Bus operators no longer wish to operate three existing routes

Whippet has also informed the Joint Authority that it will relinquish its Route 61/61X – Eynesbury Tesco to St Neots Circular contract.

A report filed with the Transportation and Infrastructure Commission last Wednesday (March 15) said officers had looked into whether an existing contract with Ting — an Uber-style demand-responsive ride-hailing service — could be used to make up for the loss of the 61/61X route.

However, he said, it was determined that there was “insufficient capacity on this service to meet the needs of the additional customers and to provide the required service to more rural areas.”

On Wednesday (March 22), the Joint Commission Board of Directors will be asked to approve the authority to request quotes for alternative contracts for services.

If the board does not agree to reintroduce services, Tim Bellamy, interim transportation president, said Route 61/61X will end Friday, March 24, and the other two services will end sometime in April.

Cllr Anna Smith, chair of the committee and Labor leader on Cambridge City Council, said there was “real concern” about the roads and said authority was needed “to ensure we don’t lose vital routes for residents”.

The committee was unable to make a formal recommendation to the board to remodel the tracks, due to not enough members showing up on the day, but the board members present said they supported the decision.

Last year, the Combined Authority stepped in with funding to help support the renewal of a series of bus routes abandoned by Stagecoach East, which it deemed commercially unviable. The cost of continuing to subsidize these roads into the next financial year has led to a controversial decision to impose a new tier of council tax from April, meaning Band D homeowners in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough face a new £12 annual fee for combined power.

Meanwhile, the joint authority is discussing its new bus strategy, which suggests franchising may be the best way to improve services.

A report from last week’s meeting said: “Our ambition is to see Cambridgeshire and Peterborough at the forefront of providing excellent public transport. Therefore, we aim to transform bus travel – offering high levels of comfort and connectivity – not just in our metropolitan areas, but across the entire region, including rural areas and market cities; Something not seen on this scale anywhere else in the UK.”

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