New bus routes for villages hit by cuts

New bus services are being launched in Cambridgeshire to replace routes axed by operator Stagecoach.

The buses are being funded by the county council amid fears villagers would be left isolated by the cuts, which will happen next month following the withdrawal of council subsidies.

One service will stop at Hinxton, Heathfield and Whittlesford, after these were removed from the routes of most Citi 7 buses, providing a link to Sawston, where connections can be made to Cambridge.

This service will run roughly every two hours, and will be run by private company NCS.

Another will follow the route of the discontinued 19 service, running through Burrough Green, Balsham, Linton and Haverhill, again allowing connections to Cambridge.

This will run approximately every two hours and will be operated by a community transport organisation, utilising a minibus which was previously used for a pilot scheme in Whittlesford.

For both of these services, the council has negotiated an agreement with Stagecoach under which passengers making onward journeys can purchase a ticket for the same price as a Dayrider Plus which will be valid on the connecting trip to Cambridge at no extra cost.

There will also be a Whippet service replacing the number 14, providing one peak journey in each direction between Caldecote, Hardwick, Madingley, Coton and Cambridge.

In the morning the service will replace the first journey on route 8 to provide a direct journey into Cambridge, and in the afternoon it will be combined with the current service 2.

All of the services will start running in June and will remain in place until permanent replacements are introduced.

The council has set aside £1.5 million for new community transport schemes, after it decided to phase out £2.7 million of subsidies for traditional services over five years.

Cllr Tony Orgee, its cabinet member for community infrastructure, said: “We have been working hard to make sure there are links in place from the stops that are to be affected in June and we are really pleased with Stagecoach’s offer to make sure ticketing remains the same price.”

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