Earlier this year, James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough gave a commitment to provide new bus services from Cambourne to major traffic generators such as the Science Park and the BioMedical Campus. Following on from this decision and in close collaboration with local councillors, two new bus services have been procured to improve bus services between Cambridge and Cambourne.
From 30 August, Stagecoach will divert the X5 service from Bedford and St Neots to Cambridge via Cambourne, Cambridge Regional College and Cambridge Science Park. Diverted journeys will be renumbered 905 and will run every 30 minutes, Monday to Friday.
From Monday 31st August, Whippet service X3 will provide a new hourly link to Addenbrooke’s from Huntingdon, Godmanchester, Papworth and Cambourne. These buses will also serve Cambridge Railway Station. There will be extra buses at shift change times for the BioMedical Campus and the hourly service will run seven days a week.
These new bus service are urgently needed due to current transport pressure into the area, especially at the growing Biomedical Campus where Addenbrooke’s Hospital is located.
There is currently an estimated 26,500 visits to the campus every day from patients, staff, academics, scientists and visitors, with future growth set to increase this number.
With 8,500 people employed on the Biomedical Campus, the Combined Authority and Cambridgeshire County Council are keen to try and move people away from using cars to using buses where possible. This new route will allow people to make direct journeys from West Huntingdonshire without changing bus. The new service also links Cambridge Rail Station with the college on Hills Road.
The new route from Cambourne to Cambridge Science Park, will also provide a viable public transport option for the Science Park, which has 7500 employees and Cambridge Regional College, which has 1600 students.
Mayor James Palmer said:
“While other politicians have spent the last year talking about additional transport provision in the Cambourne area that would not be in place for several years, I have seen that we need solutions now; that is why I promised these bus routes in February, and that’s why I’m so pleased to announce the start of service on both routes.
“While the post-Covid world of work will be very different from what came before, people will still need to get to the major employment areas like the Science Park and Addenbrookes, and these bus routes provide a great alternative to the car. They will also reduce traffic on the congested local roads, and can bring forward the housing developments that the people of South Cambridgeshire have been waiting for.
“Thank you to Stagecoach, Whippet and the local councillors who have helped make this happen; to those who challenged the consensus groupthink and helped me deliver on my promise of a more immediate solution to a well-storied problem.”
Michelle Hargreaves, Managing Director for Stagecoach East, said:
“We are delighted to introduce the new 905 service to our bus network in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. The service will operate along part of the old X5 route, which from Sunday 30 August will be split into two, with the new service providing customers with a direct means of transport between Bedford and Cambridge.
“The 905 service will also mean convenient access to residential areas including Roxton, Eaton Socon, St Neots and Cambourne, as well as other key locations Cambridge Regional College, Cambridge Science Park and the city centre.
“We encourage members of the public to take advantage of the new service and are assured, with all the precautions we have in place, that bus travel is a safe and environmentally-friendly means of transport.”
Tony Williamson, CEO Whippet, said:
“Whippet are proud to announce the new route X2 and revised route X3 as part of their strategy to transform the services provided between Huntingdon, Godmanchester, Papworth, Cambourne and Cambridge.
“Working in partnership with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Cambridgeshire County Council, Whippet have brought their extensive operating knowledge to create an enhanced level of service beyond the current route X3.
“Starting Monday, buses will run at least every hour 7 days a week extending to Cambridge rail station, Long Road, Cambridge Biomedical Campus and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and extending to serve Hinchingbrooke Hospital or Oxmoor in Huntingdon. Route 478 buses will be extended to serve Huntingdon rail station, Hinchingbrooke school and Hinchingbrooke Hospital all day, and some peak buses will also serve Fenstanton, providing new links between Fenstanton and Huntingdon rail station for direct trains to London.
“Buses will now operate between 05:00 and 21:30 7 days a week including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
“Enhanced links will also be created in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council to Thrapston and Corby, providing direct links along the A14 corridor. Extra journeys will see a bus every two hours on weekdays developing links in this area.
“We have continued to ensure that in these challenging times our passengers receive the best value travel options to which our new flexible working ticket offers five day tickets valid across our network for 90 days on our App for the same price as a weekly ticket on bus. This works out at £5.20 per day for unlimited travel on any of our buses for each day. Our 4 weekly tickets continue to be available for unlimited travel anywhere on our buses for just over £3 per day for adults and £2.32 per day for children and students. These tickets can be bought on bus or on our app.
“Whippet has continued to operate during the pandemic securing local jobs for our staff while providing frontline essential workers with vital links. Whippet is proud to announce the enhanced services within our network ensuring that our 100 years heritage of serving our community continues for another 100 years.
“We’re ‘Good To Go’ fulfilling our obligations to ensure our passengers have full confidence in our processes to manage any risk from COVID-19 ensuring that travelling with Whippet remains a safe environment alongside a positive passenger experience on every trip taken.”
Cllr Lina Pacheco, County councillor for Hardwick Division said:
"It is fantastic that we are investing in an interim solution whilst a more permanent takes place with the CAM Metro and East West Rail. This initiative offers the services that residents want and have been asking for - using current infrastructure and zero disruption to natural habitats."