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Combined Authority Board approves Cambridgeshire Mayor’s precept to fund bus improvements with new and more frequent routes





Cambridgeshire’s Mayor has been given the go-ahead to add an average £36 a year to council tax bills to pay for better bus services.

The Combined Authority’s board approved a Mayoral Precept of £36 a year for a Band D property at its recent meeting.

The annual sum, which equates to £3 per month per household, will be invested in improvements to dozens of bus routes, more frequent services on some existing routes across the region, and three demand-responsive transport schemes.

Cambridgeshire Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridgeshire Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Keith Heppell

Board members made their decision after reviewing feedback from over 450 residents who took part in a six-week consultation across November, December, and January. Of the 450 who took part, 52% said they supported paying the precept of £36, while 70% in total were willing to pay something towards better buses.

The bus routes that will be funded by the increased Mayoral Precept were selected based on insight from over 700 responses to a survey asking residents to suggest new bus routes or improvements to current bus routes.

Suggestions were assessed against the Combined Authority’s adopted bus strategy and discussed by members of the Board before being agreed alongside the increased Mayoral Precept. The suggested routes will now be further assessed ahead of final decisions being taken later this year.

You can find out more information about the routes on the Combined Authority’s website.

The Board has also agreed to an ambitious package of measures totalling £90m of new capital and revenue investments, including £3.85m into reduced bus fares for under 25s to £1 per journey, an additional £5m into the development of Peterborough University, £11m into managing climate changes and £36m in improvements to road and rail connectivity, congestion reduction, road safety and more opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians to get around the area conveniently and safely.

During the survey respondents were also asked questions on what level they supported various Combined Authority priorities and the two that came out highest were:

• Work with employers to increase the number of high-quality apprenticeships open to young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

• Improve transport links in rural areas to reduce isolation and make it easier for people to access work, skills, and leisure opportunities.

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “With over 450 full responses to our budget proposals and more than 700 contributions to the bus survey we know how much support there is for better buses across our region, that is why I am delighted the Board has agreed this additional investment that is so badly needed.

“Following this decision, we’ll be able to offer more routes and more frequent services, serving far more people more conveniently than is currently the case. What’s more, we’re also offering a huge reduction in the price of travel for everyone under the age of 25, with bus fares cut in half to just £1. I’m not in any way indifferent to the long-standing financial challenges that many of our residents find themselves wrestling with daily.

“My argument has always been that the collective benefits of a better bus network vastly outweigh the modest cost to households, less than 10p a day on average, realising £11m of public transport value, unclogging our roads, cleaning up our air, and massively increasing equal access to the wealth of social and economic opportunities that our region presents.

“We can and will now get on with delivering this vital work.”



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