Mayor calls for new ‘dial-a-bus’ service, electronic ticketing, and additional bus route in Peterborough

Mayor James Palmer is seeking approval to trial a new ‘dial-a-bus’ style demand responsive transport service in West Huntingdonshire, along with a new bus route for Peterborough and the roll out of electronic ticketing across the county in a raft of new bus reforms going to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Transport committee on Wednesday 4th November.

Mayor James Palmer will ask the Transport Committee for approval on a new ‘dial-a-bus’ style service, which would allow passengers to either call up or go on an app, enter their address and postcode, put in a request to be picked up nearby and have a bus pull up in as little as 5 minutes.

This new bus service will not replace existing routes but will be an overlay for services that are already running.  It is anticipated it will have the greatest impact in rural areas, which currently have very little bus provision.  This new service could see remote villages with only 2-3 services running a week, have access to running buses 6 days a week, a three-fold improvement in service provision.

West Huntingdonshire was chosen as the site to trial the demand responsive service first because of its many rural villages, which would be benefit from this major boost in transport connectivity.

Mayor James Palmer will also ask for approval to roll out electronic ticketing machines to every bus stop in the region.  This would allow for through ticketing for integrated journeys on every service, the use of contactless payments everywhere and accurate GPS data for bus passenger mobile phone apps for all bus services.

Finally, the Mayor is seeking approval on a new ‘Orbital’ bus route for Peterborough, which will link the Orton and Hampton areas both north to the City Hospital directly along the Parkway network and south to the Serpentine Green shopping centre and superstore.  The Orbital bus is designed to travel around the edge of the city, helping to cut unnecessary traffic into and out of the centre.

The Mayoral Combined Authority is seeking approval to go out to tender for this bus service, provisionally called route number 29, shortly.  The service is intended to start trials as an hourly route running between the morning and afternoon school times, on five or six days a week.  This is a one-year tender for 5 (or 6) return journeys a day, on 5 (or 6) days a week to establish the levels of demand for such a service.

If approved, it is thought these improvements to the bus network will take 6-10 weeks to be implemented.

Mayor James Palmer said: “This new ‘dial-a-bus’ style service, which would allow people in the most remote of locations to order a bus, as you would a taxi in the City centre, has the potential to transform public transport in our area.

“I’ve long made the point the bus network we have currently is not fit for purpose; this is why we formed the Bus Reform Task Force to help engage local voices in improving services. The reforms we are now putting forward show we are serious about levelling up bus services right across the region and embracing innovation to deliver high quality public transport to every corner of the county.”