Following a district-wide questionnaire to identify bus, cycling and walking routes residents would like to see delivered or improved, East Cambridgeshire District Council is taking the next steps to progress the schemes.
Since the questionnaire closed, comments on bus infrastructure have been discussed by the Council’s already established Bus Services Review Working Party and a draft ‘New Bus Services for East Cambridgeshire’ proposal has been created and presented to last night’s Finance and Assets Committee.
Members of the Council’s Finance and Assets Committee were requested to approve the draft document ahead of its submission to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, where the district council will seek funding to trial new bus services, allowing them to become established and viable.
The Council received 1,458 responses to the bus services questionnaire, these responses in addition to comments received by email and via the Climate Change Ideas Forum were used to inform the creation of the draft bus services document.
Out of the 1,458 responses, 578 were from those who never use a bus. The main reasons given for this were because either service too infrequent, there is no service or car is more convenient or quicker.
383 new services were suggested, the top ten most requested were:
• Burwell to Cambridge
• Ely to Cambridge
• Burwell to Ely
• Isleham to Ely
• Bottisham to Cambridge
• Isleham to Newmarket
• Haddenham to Cambridge
• Isleham to Cambridge
• Littleport to Ely
• Newmarket to Cambridge
Councillor David Brown, chairman of the Finance and Assets Committee, said:
“It’s clear that as a district there is a high reliance on private transport, and we must do what we can to find and lobby for services which provide our residents with a compelling alternative and reason to choose public transport.
“Bus use is in decline and that’s a trend which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of our corporate plan, we have committed to supporting better bus services with more frequent and more rural routes. We hope that the work so far will put us in the best position to work with the Combined Authority and initiate bus service improvements which support our residents.”
Following the progress of the Council’s ‘New Bus Services for East Cambridgeshire’ document, it was also agreed at last night’s Finance and Assets Committee for the current Bus Services Review Working Party to become the ‘East Cambridgeshire Bus, Cycle, Walk Working Party.
This means that the group will also oversee the development of the East Cambridgeshire Cycling and Walking Routes Strategy as well as the Bus Services Review process.