Saturday, 26 February 2011

consultation: changes to bus routes in Cambridgeshire

Click here for update

This was sent to me about proposed changes to bus routes in Cambridgehsire - anybody wanting to make a comment had better get their skates on! - Ed.

PROPOSED CHANGES FOR APRIL 2011

Cambridgeshire County Council wants to hear your views on changes and reductions being made to some bus services which are supported by financial contributions from Council funds.

Why we are contacting you

The majority of bus services in Cambridgeshire (about 80%) are provided by commercial operators without subsidy. However, the County Council subsidises some bus services where bus operators are currently unable to operate commercially. There is no statutory duty for the Council to provide this, nor do we receive specific funding from Government to do so.

In the future this subsidy will not be possible due to reduced overall grants to councils from Government coupled with increased costs of, and for, services. The County Council needs to make savings of around £160 million over the next five years and some of these savings have to come from the transport budget.
On Tuesday 15th February 2011 Full Council voted to phase out funding for subsidised bus services over the next four years and agreed to a reduction of £654,000 in subsidised services in 2011/12. This letter is the start of a consultation process seeking comments for the first set of reductions.

We are working with operators, community transport providers, local councils and businesses to see if we can find viable ways of meeting the transport needs of communities as much as possible and are looking for other alternative solutions to help reduce the impact of these changes.

Your views are an important part of this process to help us decide on how we implement the financial savings and where possible find local solutions.

The current situation

A commercial bus operator, Stagecoach, has identified a number of services that they are no longer able to operate, because they are no longer viable to run with current levels of County Council financial support regardless of the pressures described above. The operator has notified the Traffic Commissioner that as of Sunday 17th April 2011 they will no longer be operating the services listed in table 1 (attached).

The County Council is also considering withdrawing the subsidy for some evening and Sunday services, so that we can focus on subsidised services that provide for mainly journeys for work, school and personal business such as shopping. We have discussed these proposed withdrawals of subsidy with operators and consequently the evening and Sunday journeys shown in table 2 have also been deregistered from Sunday 17th April 2011.

In addition we are looking to withdraw the subsidy for the Cambridge City Centre Shuttle, which currently is provided free for users at a cost of £80,000 to taxpayers across the county. Shopmobility is available for eligible users.
What happens next?

We are seeking your views on these proposed changes shown in the tables and we are keen to hear proposals from local communities, voluntary groups and bus operators. In the meantime, we will continue to look for replacement bus operators or alternative solutions and approaches.

We will consider all responses we receive before making a final decision after the end of the consultation period. Even after changes have been made, we will continue to liaise closely with communities affected to monitor the impacts of the changes.

We welcome your comments

The County Council welcomes any comments you may have about the above proposals. To enable us to have enough time to fully consider responses before Sunday 17th April 2011 we would be grateful if you could respond by 16:00 on Friday 11th March 2011 using one of the following means

By email bus.tenders@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

By telephone 0345 045 0675

By post:
Cambridgeshire County Council,
CC1301,
Castle Court,
Shire Hall,
Cambridge CB3 0AP

We appreciate that this does not give as much time as we would like. But we are bound by the requirements of the Council’s legally binding contract with bus operators which stipulates the maximum notice required.

Yours sincerely


Head of Passenger Transport Services
Cambridgeshire County Council


Table 1
The contractor has notified the Traffic Commissioner that as of Sunday 17th April 2011 they will no longer be operating the following services



ContractorServiceJourney
Stagecoach32Chatteris - Ramsey/Whittlesey
Stagecoach67St Neots - Southoe - St Neots
Stagecoach139Foxton - Great Shelford - Sawston - Royston
Stagecoach400*Keyston - Huntingdon
Stagecoach401*Grafham - Spaldwick - Huntingdon
Stagecoach402*St Ives - Huntingdon - Spaldwick - Ellington
Stagecoach430Huntingdon - Ellington - Raunds - Thrapston
Stagecoach404Huntingdon - Bedford
Stagecoach405Huntingdon - Peterborough
Stagecoach406Huntingdon - Kettering
Stagecoach407Huntingdon - Peterborough
Stagecoach408Huntingdon - St Neots
Stagecoach409Huntingdon - Great Gidding Circular
Stagecoach414Graveley - St Neots
Stagecoach431Great Raveley - St Neots
Stagecoach100Cambridge City Centre Shuttle





Table 2
In addition to the above, the evening (after 20:00) and Sunday journeys on he following services have also been deregistered from Sunday 17th April 2011


ContractorServiceJourney
Whippet1AHuntingdon - Peterborough
Stagecoach9Littleport - Ely - Waterbeach to Cambridge
Stagecoach15Cambridge - Longstanton - Willingham - Swavesey - Fenstanton
Stagecoach18Cambridge - Cambourne - Longstowe
Stagecoach30Huntingdon - Warboys - Ramsey
Stagecoach33March - Whittlesey - Peterborough
Stagecoach45Huntingdon - Wyton - St Ives at 20:05 and 21:05
StagecoachCiti 7Sawston to Duxford/Whittlesford




Notes


1. (Services marked with an asterisk) Due to the lack of alternative services Cambridgeshire County Council intends to retender some journeys for services 400 and 401 although this is likely to be on a reduced service level.

2. Our initial proposals are not to replace the services in Tables 1 and 2 as alternative journeys are available to other destinations or priority has been given to protecting work, school and essential shopping journeys.

Read more: Axe falls on 22 bus routes as cuts bite - Cambridge Evening news

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