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Labour pressure brings prospect of local control over bus services

Newnham’s buses are the worst in the city. Our number 18 bus stops on Barton Road and Newnham Road but it is both infrequent and unreliable with no service after 6.40pm or on Sundays.

Joe Dale, Labour’s county council candidate in Newnham says,

“The No 18 is advertised as running hourly but its journey starts miles away – in Longstowe, Cambourne or Eltisley – and so delays and non-arrivals are common by the time it reaches Newnham.

“We need at least two buses an hour to the city centre and a Sunday service. The U Bus from Madingley Road Park and Ride provides a frequent service to the railway station and Addenbrooke’s Hospital via Grange Road and West Road but residents of Newnham Croft and Barton Road also need reliable services to these destinations.”

Since the Conservatives deregulated our buses 30 years ago, fares have risen faster than inflation and bus services have deteriorated. Residents have long complained about Newnham’s buses but, since deregulation, the market has been carved up between five big bus operators with Stagecoach currently dominant in Cambridgeshire. There has been very little competition so passengers have had no voice and services have remained poor.

However, at last there is hope. Cambridge’s Labour MP and shadow transport minister, Daniel Zeichner, has been fighting to give local communities power over their bus services again and the government has recently conceded that combined authorities, such as the new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough authority, should control their own bus services. So local communities should soon be able to influence bus routes and the frequency of services. Joe will work for replacement of polluting diesel vehicles, more electronic indicators at local bus stops and improved bus services for Newnham.