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GCP Item - Making Connections Consultation

Meeting: 17/11/2022 - North Area Committee (Item 28)

28 Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) - Making Connections Consultation pdf icon PDF 3 MB

Representatives from the GCP will inform councillors of the current consultation which runs until 23 December 2022. www.greatercambridge.org.uk/mc-2022


The Committee received a presentation from the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) Programme Director for City Access on the Making Connections consultation which runs until 23 December 2022 GCP Making Connections 2022 | Consult Cambridgeshire (engagementhq.com).


Members of the public asked questions, as set out below.


1.    The Guided Bus A on Histon Road B1049 service to the Station and Addenbrookes (which stopped at all bus stops) had been greatly appreciated since the GCP project finished late in 2021.  For a period in September, the busses drove by and did not stop because they were already full when they arrived at Histon Road in Cambridge . The A bus has been an essential improvement in the GCP Project.


Regarding the Making Connections consultation, and the information on the Interactive Map page 35, it was difficult to interpret where the various lines for Citi8 and the Busway service extension from Cottenham were stopping and if this included Histon Road.  The lines appeared to terminate in the middle of the city centre. However, the most important line for Busway A (via Orchard Park direct to Addenbrookes and Trumpington P&R) did not seem to stop on Histon Road anymore. This was not acceptable for an area where people would be affected by the congestion charge if they tried to use their car. The direct Busway A to Addenbrookes was needed by many residents both for appointments and working places.


Histon Road Area Residents’ Association requested clarification of the Busway A route; and that the bus would stop at the GCP Bus Stops along Histon Road in Cambridge. 


The GCP Programme Director for City Access responded that the proposals referred to were schematic. Buses would continue to stop on Histon Road as they did now, the maps did not show every bus stop and there were no plans to cut or stop services.


2.    Asked how the GCP proposed to run an improved bus service when Stagecoach didn’t have enough drivers to run the present service. Asked how the bus service would be funded, if the Making Connections scheme was such a success, this may mean few people paying the congestion charge. Asked if there were any plans to provide secure cycle parking (particularly in the city centre), so that it was possible to leave a bicycle and be sure of finding it later.


The GCP Programme Director for City Access responded that bus services nationally were fragile, passenger levels had not returned to pre-covid levels, which compromised the revenue model for those services. Acknowledged a shortage of bus drivers and noted the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had committed some budget to assist with recruitment / training of bus drivers.  Secure cycle parking was planned but welcomed further comments through the GCP’s Making Connections consultation.


3.    Asked the GCP Officer how they travelled to work. The speaker lived in the city and noted that under the current proposals they may be charged if they drove to a park and ride site and used that service to get to work. Noted that more frequent buses may not assist people if they were unable to get to the bus stops for example because of mobility issues.


The GCP Programme Director for City Access advised that they used the Trumpington park and ride service. It was proposed that charges were only brought in following a substantial improvement to bus services. Noted comments about mobility and distance to bus stops.


4.    Asked if bus travel counted as active travel.


The GCP Programme Director for City Access acknowledged that most public transport journeys would start or end with some element of active travel.


In response to comments made by the Committee, the GCP Programme Director City Access said the following:

      i.         Noted concerns raised regarding the proposed ‘exemptions’ to the charges proposed under the Making Connections scheme and commented that the exemptions could be refined following feedback received during the consultation. Would look to see if information about proposed exemptions could be made clearer within the consultation paperwork. 

    ii.         Noted concerns regarding the level of information provided about how the reimbursement process (for any charges levied) would work. Further detailed work would be done following the consultation.

   iii.         Confirmed that schools had been contacted as part of the consultation process and was aware of transport poverty issues for school transport journeys.

  iv.         Noted concerns regarding the impact of charges on people who were self-employed / local businesses. Welcomed the idea about ‘batch payments’ for charges. It was hoped some small businesses who did frequent small trips around the city may notice benefits in terms of reduced congestion.

    v.         Welcomed the ‘Ting shared taxi’ idea and would look at this further.

  vi.         Envisaged the Making Connections scheme would be delivered by quality bus partnerships; franchising of bus services was one option. 

 vii.         There was no cross subsidy of buses.Bus services across the country (except for London) were deregulated. This meant the bus services were run by the private sector as a commercial concern.

viii.         The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) was a partnership between Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council plus non-voting members including the University of Cambridge and the CPCA Business Board to deliver sustainable economic growth through central government grant funding. Would speak with the Web Team to see if information about what the GCP was and did could be made clearer.