Stagecoach is far from unique in having staffing problems – and they’re not the only operator to have been cancelling services recently as a consequence. In order to (try to) provide a little more stability for passengers, they will be implementing a number of changes to Cambridge-area services from Sunday 24th October (not all changes relate to staffing issues, however).
A summary – including some details not explicitly covered in Stagecoach’s announcement – follows here.
Histon Road: After 16 months of closure, southbound/ services along Histon Road will restart from this date. This benefits not just Histon Road passengers, but also those in Orchard Park. The temporary stop in Arbury Road will, naturally enough, be withdrawn. The reopening affects the Citi 8 and Busway A services. There are no other changes to the Citi 8 timetable, but see below for more information regarding Busway services more generally.
Park & Ride routes: There’s a significant reduction in services on the five Park & Ride routes. Monday-Saturday services on all routes except Trumpington, are reduced from 6 per hour to either 5 (Babraham and Madingley) or 4 (Milton and Newmarket). On Sundays all services will operate 4 services per hour, as against the existing 6. The are minor changes to the times of first and last buses on some routes, so check the new timetables if you use the early or late services (not that they’re very late…).
Busway: There are significant reductions in the frequency of evening services (Monday-Saturday) and Sunday services (all day) on both Busway routes, effectively halving the number of trips. And note that the definition of “evening” may depend on the day of the week and/or the direction of travel. Every day except Sunday on route B the last departures in both directions run 15 minutes earlier. But there’s some good news as well: the first bus(es) on Sunday – on both routes – are somewhat earlier than at present, and on Sunday evenings A services continue to/from Trumpington right through the evening. So, whilst the last B towards Huntingdon on a Sunday leaves Cambridge at 2225 (20 minutes earlier than at present), passengers for most destinations as far as St Ives will benefit from a later A service (leaving Trumpington at 2225 and New Square at 2255).
Other changes: The Haverhill 13 reverts to its pre-pandemic timetable, the most significant impact of which is that the 0540 ex-Cambridge departure will no longer operate. And on the V5, evening services will run 15 minutes earlier than at present.
Urgent action needed to address the UK’s deepening crisis in bus driver shortages
In a letter to Grant Shapps MP, Bus Users UK call for urgent action to tackle the current critical shortage in bus drivers.
With passenger numbers below pre-Covid levels, some operators are reducing journeys on higher frequency routes in order to minimise the number of drivers required. This runs counter to the ethos of the Bus Recovery Grant and to the needs of passengers. In marginal and rural areas where services were already basic, the impact is particularly severe with people now struggling to access work, education, apprenticeships and healthcare.Letter to The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, from Bus Users UK
Read the full letter on the Bus Users UK website, here.