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Road charging ‘holds key to Cambridge traffic’


23 November 2018

Road pricing could provide the revenue needed to improve bus services in Cambridge and the surrounding area, says the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP). 

The partnership was set up to deliver the Greater Cambridge City Deal and includes Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. 

GCP director of transport Peter Blake told the partnership’s joint assembly that, in addition to the proposed bus-based Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) (see above), conventional bus services in the city needed to be improved through frequency enhancements, journey time improvements, and “targeted” fare reductions. 

One priority is for increased services to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where 14,000 jobs are planned, with several thousand more in the science park cluster further south. 

Said Blake: “In Greater Cambridge the estimated revenue cost of an enhanced public transport network is £20m per annum. In the medium-term, a source of funding will need to be identified and with increasing pressure on local government finances it is likely that this source will need to be from within transport.” 

A spokesman confirmed to LTT that the £20m was for enhancing existing bus services, not for CAM.

To quicken journey times for cross-city bus services Blake said there would have to be less general traffic in the city centre before the delivery of the tunnelled central section of the CAM network, estimated in 2029. ?

“There must be efforts made to manage demand itself,” said Blake, noting that the GCP had a target to reduce car traffic by 24 per cent against today’s levels by?2031. ?

“Charging, depending on how it is set up, could generate between £40m and £60m annual net revenue. This revenue stream offers significant potential to support public transport service improvement costs.

“This is substantially more than the £20m estimated investment in public transport delivery, raising the potential to make further investments in transport infrastructure, such as feeder services to allow residents outside of the city to access CAM, lower fares, significant improvements in road and cycleway maintenance, or leverage to fund investment in public transport infrastructure.” 

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