Connect with us

News

‘Public transport revolution’ central to Cambridge congestion charge

Avatar photo

Published

on

Flashback to 2019 and Cllr Lewis Herbert, then chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, announces the launch of the Choices for Better Journeys public engagement exercise

Congestion charge for Cambridge?

 The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) proposes a £5 charge to by 2026-27.

Here’s how Cllr ALEX BECKETT, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways and transport committee and a member of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly sees it.

Why the hell would you introduce a charge to drive in Cambridge?

Advertisements
Pictures
Advertisement

Firstly, Cambridge is growing. We’ve grown around 30% in the last 20 years (despite the latest census taking place during a pandemic) and are predicted to grow another 30%. Traffic and peak time delays are set to grow 30% in 10 years. 

The simple fact is traffic causes misery. In my own daily life, I can get my daughter to nursery in 6 minutes on a bike. The same journey takes 15 by car. Currently by public transport it’s impossible. 

Added to this we have a climate emergency and a dire necessity to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. While electric cars can help, they’re also not the full answer. They use a lot of energy to create and release a lot of fine particulate pollution. 

They also take energy to run. Sadly, too much of that energy comes from burning fossil fuels some even comes from coal. 

Advertisement

This brings us onto pollution in Cambridge. 50 people a year die from pollution. Some of the worst traffic is outside schools and houses. Residents spend their lives not just breathing in the pollution but also having their lives and sleep disrupted by the noise. 

69 people are killed or seriously injured in Cambridge every year on the roads. Approximately 80% of these are cyclists or pedestrians killed or seriously hurt by heavy lumps of metal we call cars. 

Car ownership is also vastly unequal in the county. 40% of the lowest income households don’t own a car. 90% of the highest income households own at least one. Insurance costs -£3000 for a young person. Cars simply aren’t affordable for those less well off. 

It’s not just Cambridge residents who don’t own a car. 20% of people in Newmarket don’t own or have access to a car, 31% in Huntington. 22% of older people in Swafham Prior don’t have access together with 31% of younger people in Cambourne. 

Advertisement

Does anybody actually think current transport in Cambridge is working? This isn’t sustainable even at the current levels and it’s only going to get worse. We have to do something. But where on earth do we start? 

Well firstly public transport needs a major boost. We need bus franchising like in London with TFL. 

We need cheaper fares but more importantly we need reliable services connecting people to where they actually want to go. We need regular services to all parts of the city not just going into and out of Drummer Street 

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article

We need fares which make travel by bus a no-brainer. Just look at the success of the German €9 public transport scheme!

Advertisement

Germans say goodbye to summer of €9 travel ticketsThe tickets, aimed at helping the public with increasing prices, have been hailed a major success.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62736375

We need better, safer walking and cycling provision so people can get around without feeling scared or being hit by a giant lump of metal. 

We need rural services which connect those under-served communities and allow them to get into the city when and where they need 

For those who can’t use or don’t have access to a rural service we need a world leading park and ride. With buses that don’t just serve the centre but also hit workplaces and residential areas at times that work for everyone. We also need to make it cheaper. Much cheaper. 

Advertisement

We need interchanges like in London. Allowing people to hop on and off services changing mode to get to exactly where they want to go. We need our own versions of ‘Kings Cross’ where people change from one mode to the other. 

We need people who have to drive (like some trades, disabled people, NHS vehicles etc) to be able to get around quickly without spending most of their day stuck in traffic. A quick stat here, a tradesperson charging £200/day loses £5 for every ~12mins they’re stuck in traffic. 

This will never happen though. Right? Buses have been cut for years with austerity and central government policy. Cambridgeshire subsidizes our buses by ~10%. It’s ~50% in London. It’s highly unlikely the new government is going to give us more cash for buses. 

So how do we make people believe? Well, we can forward fund the public transport for a couple of years, but it gets expensive really quickly. Central government is cutting public transport subsidy, so we need something long term. London subsidizes TFL with a congestion charge. 

Advertisement

This leads us to a charge in the longer term once the public transport is in and believable. £5 per day raises £40m per year and massively reduces traffic. This allows us to implement all the revolutionary things above and give people options 

It saves the poorest the time they already spend waiting for public transport and those who need to use a car the time they often spend waiting in jams around the city 

It allows us to create a world class service which is actually useable. It allows us to reduce fares to a point where they’re a no-brainer and it allows us to reduce pollution to the point where our children can breathe and sleep at night. 

So, while the charge is getting all the media attention what we really need to focus on is the public transport revolution this can bring us. Getting that right is vital for all residents, right across Cambridgeshire. 

Advertisement

NB: Let us know your views: email elworthy_john@yahoo.co.uk

Facebook

Read More

Police briefing ahead of arrests Police briefing ahead of arrests
News6 hours ago

Cambridge: Children arrested for robbery, theft, harassment, threats to kill and knife crime

Arrests made in Abbey ward and Cherry Hinton

Cllr Shepherd and Chief Supt Paul French Cllr Shepherd and Chief Supt Paul French
News6 hours ago

OPINION: Cyclists get a ‘wake up’ reminder – could it happen in Cambridgeshire?

Tannoy system piloted by NE Lincolnshire Council

CA-business-award-student-winners-with-Michael-Bates-Derrick-Holmes-Brian-Kett-and-Peter-Dennis-of-Wisbech-BPMC CA-business-award-student-winners-with-Michael-Bates-Derrick-Holmes-Brian-Kett-and-Peter-Dennis-of-Wisbech-BPMC
News7 hours ago

End of year achievements celebrated at Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech

Awards presented across all departments of the academy

(left) Imogen Grant, former student at Stephen Perse Cambridge and lightweight world champion rower and (right) Bethany Shriever, former teaching assistant at Dame Bradbury’s Junior School and BMX gold medallist. Photo credit: Stephen Perse Cambridge (left) Imogen Grant, former student at Stephen Perse Cambridge and lightweight world champion rower and (right) Bethany Shriever, former teaching assistant at Dame Bradbury’s Junior School and BMX gold medallist. Photo credit: Stephen Perse Cambridge
News7 hours ago

Stephen Perse Cambridge schools cheer on their Olympic hopefuls

'Great role models who continue to inspire our students'

Horsefair car park. Town Centre, Wisbech Tuesday 23 July 2024. Picture by Terry Harris Horsefair car park. Town Centre, Wisbech Tuesday 23 July 2024. Picture by Terry Harris
News13 hours ago

Horsefair Wisbech 35,000 sq ft discount store and new car park ‘will boost footfall’

NewRiver offer massive vote of confidence in Wisbech

Trio of Cambs Lib Dem MPs (from left) Ian Sollom, the new MP for St Neots & Mid Cambridgeshire, MP for South Cambridgeshire, Pippa Heylings and Charlotte Cane, MP for Ely & East Cambridgeshire Trio of Cambs Lib Dem MPs (from left) Ian Sollom, the new MP for St Neots & Mid Cambridgeshire, MP for South Cambridgeshire, Pippa Heylings and Charlotte Cane, MP for Ely & East Cambridgeshire
News15 hours ago

Cambridgeshire MPs vote for action on sewage dumping, cost of living and NHS in King’s Speech

Cambridgeshire Lib Dem MPs challenge on key issues

Dr Nick Valley – part of his ‘memory bank’ of photographs from a long and distinguished career, many of them spent serving the people of March, Cambridgeshire Dr Nick Valley – part of his ‘memory bank’ of photographs from a long and distinguished career, many of them spent serving the people of March, Cambridgeshire
News16 hours ago

‘Thank you all from bottom of my heart for all your loyalty and support and I will not forget you’

I have tried my best to follow Elaine Stutard's legacy

Five Dances, choreographed by Arielle Smith, is a modern ballet with a large cast of men and women dressed identically Five Dances, choreographed by Arielle Smith, is a modern ballet with a large cast of men and women dressed identically
News17 hours ago

London City Ballet ‘fast, vibrant, inspiring’ at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Classical and contemporary ballet with the freshest possible edge

24 complaints made about Peterborough City councillors since February. PHOTO: Terry Harris 24 complaints made about Peterborough City councillors since February. PHOTO: Terry Harris
News1 day ago

24 conduct complaints made about Peterborough city councillors in just 6 months

One complaint relates to postal vote handling

Workers at Asda Wisbech are angry over a litany of issues Workers at Asda Wisbech are angry over a litany of issues
News1 day ago

Asda workers at Wisbech strike over ‘cuts in hours, bullying management and poor training’

Asda rejects the claims made by the union