Making Connections consultation report

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Making Connections consultation report

Dear subscriber,

You might remember that last year the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) held a public consultation on our Making Connections proposals. It outlined proposals to transform the bus network – with cheaper, more frequent buses serving more communities – and asked people to consider how we could potentially fund and make space for better buses and active travel.

Today, Clean Air Day, we have published the findings of the consultation and wanted to update you about the key headlines.

The headlines are:

  • Nearly four out of five respondents (78%) supported the plans to create a first-class bus network with cheaper, faster, more frequent and reliable services to more communities.
  • There was also strong support (71%) for the overall aims of the Making Connections proposals – reducing carbon emissions, tackling pollution and congestion, and improving public transport.
  • People backed the idea of reducing traffic to improve walking and cycling options (68%), as well as reducing traffic levels to improve public spaces (52%).
  • Options that involved charging cars for driving in an area, such as a flexible or pollution charge, were preferred to options involving additional or new parking charges.
  • There was a preference for a lower charge covering a larger area, and a small majority in favour of peak-time only charging.
  • People set out their priorities for spending any new money raised; more frequent bus services (27%), cheaper fares (19%), longer operating hours (16%) and more direct services to the city (15%) were the top factors people would want to see as part of any investment.
  • Introducing flat-fares (32%) or lower fares for everyone across the region (31%) were the most popular choices to make public transport more affordable for everyone.

The consultation also gathered feedback from a number of workshops with specific groups, including disabled people, people on low incomes and young people. The focus groups were largely in support of the proposals to improve the bus network, with participants highlighting the need for ensuring fairness in any plans for a road-based charge.

Alongside the consultation, a follow up workshop was held with members of the Greater Cambridge Citizens’ Assembly.

Members said frequency, consistency, and affordability were the key ingredients needed to shift people from their car to public transport. Assembly members believe the experience of using buses had to be great, even transformational in terms of comfort and service, to ensure people use them.

They also emphasised the importance of fairness as the key consideration in the design of any charge, which would need to be structured with public transport services and active travel infrastructure to encourage people to change their travel behaviours.

The findings of the Making Connections consultation will be presented to the Joint Assembly and the Executive Board later this year to inform the next steps of the project.

Read the full report