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Cambourne to Cambridge bus route set for consultation

Published: Friday, September 1, 2017


Public consultation is set for the autumn on an improved public transport bus route and new Park and Ride site to the west of Cambridge.

The Cambourne to Cambridge scheme will provide faster, more frequent and reliable bus journeys to the city, along with new cycling and walking facilities. It will help deliver some 8,800 new homes and 15,000 new jobs along the route over the next 15 years.

Without any action, congestion on the A428 could more than double - with peak-time queue lengths along the A1303 as far back as Madingley Mulch Roundabout from the M11 junction 13 for inbound traffic.

Officers for the Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is funding the scheme, have now set out two potential Park & Ride sites and a number of alternative bus routes they think should be tested with the public before final recommendations are made in 2018.

Bus route options include both off and on-road. One earlier route, more southerly, is no longer proposed.

Crome Lea at Madingley Mulch is ruled out as a potential Park & Ride site in favour of the Waterworks site off Long Road and an alternative site at Scotland Farm, north of the A428 at Dry Drayton.

The proposals will be considered by the Partnership’s Joint Assembly and Executive Board at meetings on 13 and 20 September respectively.

If the recommendations are supported, public consultation would take place during November and December.

The scheme forms part of wider plans by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to invest up to £500m in improved transport infrastructure to support economic growth in the city region.

The Cambourne to Cambridge project has two phases:

  • Phase 1 looks at a new Park & Ride site and bus route into Cambridge.
  • Phase 2 could link the bus route further west to the new town of Cambourne, through a potential new development at Bourn Airfield

Phase 1 currently has a budget of £59m to 2019 but the route is being assessed as a whole to ensure that the whole picture on its future potential is understood. The next phase of public consultation will focus on phase 1.

Route options

In their report, officers recommend three route options for consultation:

  • Option 3a – off-road: This would be a new and purpose-built public-transport only route (no general traffic permitted) linking villages to the south of the A428/A1303 route and entering the city via Grange Road. This is the option that the GCP decision makers selected as the one which would best meet the wider City Deal objectives last October subject to more detailed investigation and thorough comparison with ‘on road’ options set out below. A number of off-road route combinations are proposed. It provides the fastest journey times, at 19 minutes between Cambourne High Street and Grange Road, but is the most expensive option with scheme costs ranging from £71m to £94m from Bourn to Cambridge.
  • Option 1 – on-road: This would use the current road, following the A428 and A1303 into Cambridge as far as Lady Margaret Way. This option only provides east bound bus lanes but is a low-cost alternative option which must be explored according to national guidelines. This is the lowest cost option at £12.4m with journey times of 29 minutes between Cambourne High Street and Grange Road.
  • Option 6 – on-road: This is an alternative option put forward by the Local Liaison Forum. It includes a tidal bus lane – in which buses could travel in either direction depending on certain conditions - for the A1303 west of the M11. Currently this option does not have any new bus infrastructure to the east of High Cross. This option would cost around £17.7m with journey times of 27 minutes between Cambourne High Street and Grange Road

Park & Ride sites

Officers carried out detailed assessments of five potential Park & Ride sites at locations on and around the A428. Of these two are recommended for consultation:

  • Scotland Farm – a site north of the A428 at Scotland Farm
  • Waterworks – a site off Long Road at Madingley Mulch

Fast and reliable bus services are identified as a short to medium term transport solution with a recent survey of the St Ives to Cambridge Guided Busway showing more than a third (37%) would have travelled by car as an alternative. The Partnership is currently undertaking a study to explore the potential for greater use of electric buses.

Future rapid mass transit solutions for the Greater Cambridge area are currently being explored looking at both over-ground and underground transport systems.

Options being explored include light rail and a new form of public transport ‘Affordable Very Rapid Transport’ (AVRT). A feasibility report is due to report to the Greater Cambridge Partnership in November.

For further information visit www.greatercambridge.org.uk/cambournetocambridge