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31 bus in the balance

Bus changes meeting
 
A meeting is being held about possible changes to the 31 bus on November 13.

On 30thJanuary 2012 the County Council committed to a three-year phased programme of reducing the £2.7 million budget that the Council uses to subsidise bus services and the funding available will gradually drop to £1.5m per annum from April 2014.

Around 90 percent of public transport in Cambridgeshire is run commercially with no involvement from the local authority, with only 10 percent receiving any form of financial support (or subsidy) from the County Council.

The majority of subsidised services operate in the more rural areas of the county where passenger numbers are low or where the lengths of journey mean that operating costs are high, making the services unviable to operate commercially. On some of these services the level of subsidy required is over £10 per person for a single trip.

A project is now looking to work with the local community to investigate alternative ways to provide transport which gives a solution to the transport need but is also cost-effective. It is appreciated that for some, the subsidised service is the lifeline that enables them to access essential services. For this reason the project aims to deliver new transport solutions in places where subsidised services may be withdrawn.

There are 4 services in Area G that receive a subsidy from the County Council. All the journeys in Area G could be affected by the subsidy withdrawal. Below is a list of the services affected in each area:

 

Service

Villages serviced and days of operation

31

Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s, Trumpington, Stapleford, Great Shelford, Little Shelford, Hauxton, Newton, Thriplow, Fowlmere, Elmdon, Chrishall, Heydon, Great Chishill, Barley

Monday to Saturday

75

Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s, Newnham, Barton, Great Eversden, Trumpington, Harston, Harlton, Haslingfield, Barrington, Orwell, Wimpole, Croydon, Arrington, Croydon, Tadlow, Wrestlingworth

Monday to Saturday

114

Cambridge, Grafton, Beehive, Addenbrooke’s

Monday to Saturday

199

 

Cambridge, Newnham

Tuesday and Friday only

Detailed timetables for each service listed above can be found at this webpage: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/cft/buses-affected.htm

There are several types of transport that could provide a solution to the removal of subsidies services, including:

  • Car sharing - private or a social car sharing scheme
  • Community bus service - parish owned or private
  • Community transport such as dial-a-ride
  • Franchise - working with a local entrepreneur to develop a service
  • New subsidised bus services that are more viable by using new routes and/or times of operations
  • Parish owned car
  • Rail
  • Taxi sharing schemes and taxi vouchers

· Travel clubs or car clubs

A description of these transport solutions is provided on the CountyCouncil website:

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/cft/alt_solutions.htm

The transport solution(s) will vary across the county - one size will not fit all. The project aims to be creative and find innovative solutions to historic problems, but if the best solution to deliver an essential service is to retain the current form of provision, this will remain an option.

The group behind the project seeks to encourage local communities and service providers to become more involved in the process of designing and delivering transport, developing a culture of co-production. By encouraging community involvement throughout the process and broadening the reach to include potential passengers as well as existing ones, the resulting transport will be more sustainable and viable.

The first step towards this is to work with local communities to assess the transport need in their local area. The County Council will then work with the community and partners (such as transport providers, parish and district councils, key local groups, etc) to design transport solutions that best reflect the identified need.

It is hoped that Councillors will play an active role in developing and supporting the engagement process, using their local knowledge and experience.

It is recognised that Parish, District and County councillors will act as the key agent of engagement, helping to steer and involve groups and individuals who are active in the community to contribute to the project. Councillors will be able to advise and lend credibility to the formation of Working Groups and ensure the most difficult-to-reach are included in the process.

Project schedule


Research and preparation

Oct 2013

Create contact lists (Cllrs, key groups), ride buses, send out Councillor Briefing Packs, arrange Cllr Meeting.

Councillors’ Meeting

13th Nov 2013

Meet with Parish, District and County Councillors to discuss the project plan, existing transport and key groups to consult, identify possible members of a Working Group, identify a Champion(s) to help drive the project through key stages.

Community drop-in event

Dec 2013

Drop-in open to the public to further publicise & discuss the project, questionnaires will be available (paper and laptop; all questionnaires to be submitted before the 2nd Working Group Meeting).

Meetings with key groups

9th Dec 2013 to 31st Jan 2014

Ongoing publicity to community of key stages as well as reporting to CFT Steering Group

Meet with key groups and any other groups that request a CFT meeting, questionnaires will be available (paper and laptop; all questionnaires to be submitted before the 2nd Working Group Meeting).

Working Group 1st Meeting

Jan 2014

Discuss project plan, present data on current services, share feedback received from the community, assess the transport solutions suggested so far.

Working Group 2nd Meeting

Feb 2014

Review all feedback collated by Officer, assess all transport solutions, agree a preferred solution and discuss its design.

Agree decision on final design

Mar 2014

Agree design with Working Group by email, agree design with CCC

Procurement process

Apr – Jul 2014

Launch and publicity

Aug 2014

Monitoring / Community feedback

Ongoing cycle of monitoring, evaluation & modification

Survey 3 months after launch, evaluate & modify if necessary, survey after 12 months, thereafter survey at least every 6 months


Next steps

A meeting has been arranged to discuss the project plans for Area G with Councillors. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th November, 2-3pm at Haslingfield Village Hall, New Road, Haslingfield, CB23 1JP.

It is hoped this meeting will achieve the following outcomes:

  • answer any questions / take comments from Councillors on the plan
  • identify with Councillors existing transport services in the area
  • identify a local Champion(s) for the project - we would welcome enthusiastic volunteers who would be able to spend some time to help drive the project through key stages
  • take suggestions from Councillors on possible members for a Working Group
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