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‘Winners’ and ‘losers’ in Stagecoach bus changes

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Darren Roe, managing director of Stagecoach East

Fenland and Huntingdonshire will be hardest hit by Stagecoach changes.

In a statement tonight, managing director Darren Roe confirmed a “new bus network” for Cambridgeshire to reflect post-pandemic travel patterns.

And he said that “declining services that will not be part of the new network” are mainly in the Huntingdonshire and Fenland area; 11/X11, 12, 18, 25, 39, 915, V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, 22, 30, 35, 66; and Peterborough: 23, 24, 29.

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Stagecoach East says the 18 services across Cambridgeshire they plan to cancel have been losing £12 per passenger per journey on average.

Mr Roe said: “Some of them, where numbers have dropped as low as around only 50 customers per week, are costing up to £80 per passenger.

“We cannot continue to operate services which we know are no longer financially viable.

“That would not be right for taxpayers or our passengers.”

“Some services, where passenger use and funding is failing to meet operational costs, to end as part of changes for long-term viability of the network

Mr Roe said the review of services had been a key condition of Government Covid-19 recovery funding across England.

But he said the new network to be introduced from October 30 would enhance 12 services in the region

The 12 improved services will include:

● Addenbrooke’s to Milton service extended to Milton Village and Milton Park & Ride

● Parnwell to Peterborough Hospital new morning service to support ‘early shift’ key workers

● Newmarket, Maddingley and Babraham Park and Rides increased to every 10 minutes

● Saffron Walden to Cambridge increased to every 20 minutes in morning peaks

● Peterborough to Hampton increased to every 20 minutes ● Foulbourne to Arbury and Werrington to Orton return to enhanced 10 minute frequency

● Milton Park and Ride journeys extended every 30 minutes to Waterbeach, replacing journeys on service 9

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● Cherry Hinton to Fison Road, Cambridge, returns to enhanced 15 minute frequency

“The Government has made it clear that the network review and any funding support is designed to develop sustainable local transport networks without further continued revenue support from central Government,” said Mr Roe.

“Across the new network in Cambridgeshire, 23 services where operational costs are still challenging even with central Government funding, will continue to run, because there is some evidence of increased use.

“But 18 routes, which have seen significant falls in passenger numbers, will not be part of the new network.

“These represent less than six per cent of the entire Cambridgeshire network, and have been supported by temporary national Government funding since the pandemic.

“Passenger numbers on these services are consistently too low to cover operational costs.”

Mr Roe said: “We are grateful for the Government recovery funding which has been allocated to rebuild services that are sustainable for the long term.

“This unfortunately does mean making some tough decisions that reflect the reality of how services are being used after the pandemic.

“Overall, services are operating at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger levels, with concessionary travel for older people dropping to as low as 55 per cent.

“Inflation, rising fuel and energy bills are also all having an impact on our costs. In such tough economic conditions, just like local authorities, bus companies are having to make very difficult decisions.”

As part of the review, Stagecoach East said they contacted councillors in all the areas affected by the closure of routes, along with local authority transport and policy officers.

Stagecoach says that whilst the Government has offered a final one-off additional period of funding, they had decided to focus resources on services which do have a sustainable future.

“There is no evidence of any growth on any of the affected services,” said a company spokesperson.

“Some other services, where operational costs are also not being met, will receive three more months’ Government funding, on the basis there is evidence of some improvements in passenger use on these routes.”

To view the new network map with the full details, visit: www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/east/east-bus-network.

East Bus Network | Stagecoach (stagecoachbus.com)

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