Greater Cambridge Partnership reveals plans for expanded bus network and capped fares that would be funded by a new congestion charge

Greater Cambridge Partnership plans more frequent bus services

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has published ambitious proposals for congestion charging to help fund a range of significant improvements to local buses.

GCP brings together the city council, Cambridge University, Cambridgeshire County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council in order to deliver the City Deal programme.

Last month it revealed its proposed City Access package which calls for an expansion of bus provision in the area. It moots new bus routes, additional orbital and express services, and a huge increase in rural coverage, with buses supported by Demand Responsive Transport (DRT).

It also proposes longer operating hours with services running from 5am to 1am Monday to Saturday and 5am to midnight on Sunday with more frequent services – six to eight buses every hour in the city and from market towns, and hourly rural bus services.

Users on this improved network would also see lower bus fares with a £1 fare cap in the city and a £2 cap for journeys in the travel to work area. The GCR also proposes new cross-city cycling corridors to boost active travel.

The transformative package would result in 20,000 extra journeys made by bus and a further 60,000 additional trips by active travel every day to create a greener city region where people can travel easily and reliably on bus, bicycle and on foot,” said the GCP.

The improvements would be funded by road user charging, with all vehicle movements into, out of and within the so-called Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) paying a flat daily charge between 7am and 7pm on weekdays.

GCP says the new bus network and reduced fares would be phased in before road user charging was introduced. It adds the plans would be put to a final statutory public consultation before any decisions were made. Approval for the consultation is likely to come later this month.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to create a world-class transport network for Greater Cambridge and the wider area

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to create a world-class transport network for Greater Cambridge and the wider area,” said Peter Blake, GCP transport director.

“We’ve listened to the views of the public to create a future bus network with cheaper fares, more services to more locations – including rural areas – and faster, more frequent services with longer operating hours to make public transport a reliable and competitive choice for everyone.

“With the City Deal in place to forward-fund and accelerate the delivery of this transformative bus network – one of the largest ever investments in a UK bus network, alongside upgrades to active travel – we can build confidence in the service and encourage people to make the switch to public transport sooner.”

This story appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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