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New vision revealed for bus services includes doubling the hourly number of buses from Haverhill to Cambridge - and more



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Buses connecting Haverhill and Cambridge could run four times every hour and rural services be improved if a new vision for public transport in Greater Cambridge gets the go ahead.

Enhancing the bus services is just one of the key elements included in Making Connections – Have Your Say on Greener Travel in Greater Cambridge, a set of proposals put forward for public consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP).

The consultation, which runs until December 20, asks for opinion on the GCP’s proposals for not only transforming public transport but also for enhancing cycling and walking and reducing pollution and congestion.

The map for the proposed new bus services in the Cambridge to Haverhill corridor. Picture by GCP
The map for the proposed new bus services in the Cambridge to Haverhill corridor. Picture by GCP

The proposals include new hourly rural bus services from Soham to Mildenhall and Red Lodge, via Worlington, West Row and Isleham and all have the backing of the recently-elected Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Dr Nik Johnson.

He said: “I believe that people-friendly and climate-friendly public transport linked to a strong walking and cycling network is the future.

“If we do more ‘legwork’, travel less by car and more by bus and train, we will transform our own health and that of our children.

The Fulbourn and Newmarket transport corridor, which takes in Soham and Mildenhall
The Fulbourn and Newmarket transport corridor, which takes in Soham and Mildenhall

“We will put more people in touch with better opportunity. And we will cut the county’s shockingly high level of carbon emissions, helping to halt, and perhaps even reverse, climate change.

“This consultation is on proposals which look to that future, offering zero emission buses, lower fares, new routes across our area – including rural communities – and moving us towards the safe, joined-up network we all need.

“It’s very clear we have a growth challenge in the Greater Cambridge area, alongside the gigantic challenge of the climate emergency – so our growth, while necessary, must be sustainable.

“And part of achieving that means ending our dependency on the private car.”

Stagecoach number 13 bus arriving at Haverhill bus station before departing for Cambridge
Stagecoach number 13 bus arriving at Haverhill bus station before departing for Cambridge

The consultation document states ‘we need to reduce traffic levels by 10-15 per cent on 2011 levels’ and that ‘we need a better public transport system to ensure that most people have a quicker, more convenient and reliable journey than by car’.

“We need to make more efficient use of road space and significantly increase the number of sustainable public transport vehicles on our network, as well as creating better environments for people to cycle, walk or just spend time enjoying our public spaces.”

The GCP estimates a new bus network would cost up to £40 million each year, and it makes suggestions for raising that revenue, including a road user charging zone, where vehicles driving within a set area woudl be charge3d.

This comes in two forms:

1. A pollution-based charge for road use based on vehicle emissions. Cars, vans and other vehicles that did not meet a set emissions standard would be charged to drive within an area.

2. A flexible charge for road use which would charge all private vehicles, such as cars and vans, to drive within an area potentially varied by time of day or day of week.

Additional changes could include applying higher charges to existing car parking, applying charges to more streets and introducing a Workplace Parking Levy, a yearly fee charged to businesses per parking space at their premises.

Businesses can choose whether to pass on the cost of the charge to employees, reduce/remove their parking spaces or absorb the cost themselves. The model has been used to fund public transport in Nottingham

The proposed new bus services would include a route between Newmarket and Haverhill, running every hour.

The new bus services, says the consultation papers, would operate between 7am and 7pm and would include the following:

  • Departures from Haverhill to Cambridge every 15 minutes.
  • A bus every seven to eight minutes from the A11 travel hub to Cambridge via the new busway.
  • Buses every 15 minutes serving Granta Park and Babraham Research Campus.
  • An hourly service from Haverhill to Newmarket, stopping at Dullingham, Great Bradley, Little and Great Thurlow, Great Wratting and Kedington.
  • A service from Carlton to the A11 travel hub, with stops at Brinkley, Weston Colville, West Wickham, West Wratting,and Balsham.
  • Routes from Haverhill to Cambridge city centre that would go via Linton, Granta Park, the A11 travel hub, Sawston, Stapleford, Great Shelford, Cambridge South train station and Cambridge train station.

To find the Making Connections consultation and take part in the survey, go here

There is also a public consultation event at the Abbey Stadium, (home to Cambridge United FC), Newmarket Road, CB5 8LN (use Cutthroat Lane) on Wednesday, December 1.

There are two sessions, from 4pm to 5.45pm and 6pm to7.45pm. To register to attend click here

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