Hundreds of thousands of trips on busway in first month

BUS operators are reporting hundreds of thousands of trips on the newly opened Busway in the first month as extra services have been put on to keep up with the demand.

Cambridgeshire County Council are hailing The Busway’s first month of operation as a success as in just a little over four weeks there have been 224,054 trips on world’s longest guide-way.

That is despite August being traditionally one of the quietest time for public transport and commuting.

The service has been so popular that bus operators Stagecoach and Whippet have put on extra services on The Busway, which is the longest of its kind in the world.

Busway officials are pleased with the initial passenger numbers which shows its highly successful first week of use has been continued throughout the month.

However, it will take a number of months before the real benefits can be assessed as hundreds of extra commuters will begin using The Busway after the summer break.

The revolutionary link gives people a reliable traffic-free public transport link to help beat the queues on the often busy A14, connecting Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge.

As expected, bus operators have seen large numbers of people using the route into Cambridge, but businesses in the market towns of St Ives have also been boosted by the number of people travelling out from Cambridge.

Busway services run seven days a week, and from Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm there are buses running between St Ives and Cambridge at least every 10 minutes with extra services at peak times. Services to Huntingdon run every 20 minutes with an hourly evening service running until midnight.

The Busway includes two new Park & Ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton with spaces for hundreds of cars and covered cycle parking. The shorter southern section connects Cambridge Railway Station, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Trumpington Park and Ride with a completely traffic-free link.

Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member Growth and Planning, said: “It is excellent news that hundreds of thousands of journeys have been made on the busway in its first month of operation. During this month the A14 has snarled up several times with miles of bumper to bumper queuing traffic while buses were gliding down the free flowing Busway. We expected many people to try The Busway in its first week but are really pleased to see that despite it being the summer holidays passenger numbers have remained high every week showing it has been a real success. As we move towards Christmas I expect to see even more people using The Busway as it offers a fantastic service which will be a boost for local businesses.”

Andy Campbell, Managing Director for Stagecoach in Cambridge, said: “The summer holiday period is generally a little quieter on local bus services, but we have been pleasantly surprised with the demand so far. We are continuing to put on extra buses to keep up with demand and as the system beds in we are confident the service on our luxury buses will go from strength to strength.”

Peter Lee, Director of Whippet Coaches, said: “Even with lighter traffic on the A14 we are still seeing a good number of passengers using the route. Queues on the A14 are a big problem for buses as well as people in their cars and it is great to have a reliable alternative for our customers. We strive to offer good value for money on The Busway and believe it will be a great success.”

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