This group was set up in April 2017. Inaugural meeting notes:
Cam Vale Bus User Group
New Bus User Group for the area covered by the 26, 27, 15, 127 and 128 buses
Inaugural meeting 19 April 2017, 7:30-9:00
Elin Way Community Room Meldreth
About 20 people from Meldreth, Whaddon and Bassingbourn, plus the manager of Royston and District Community Transport (RDCT) David Wherrell and Chairman of Whaddon Parish Council Lee Ginger. Chaired by Meldreth County Councillor Susan van de Ven.
Apologies for holding the meeting on quick notice, in part because of the County Council’s unexpected consultation on tweaks to subsidized bus services (concluding next week). Further opportunities will be needed to communicate with bus users and people with transport gaps.
The meeting considered the shifting fortunes of public transport in our area: diminishing commercial bus services, council bus and community transport subsidies under threat, while train services increase and provide outstanding service – but enjoy no public transport links to reach them.
Key points discussed:
- Enormous basic concern that County Council subsidies for bus and community transport not fall away. Essential to everyday life for those who cannot drive, for health or financial reasons.
- Village surveys would help to better understand public transport needs and patterns. Parish Councils could lead on this with the help of RDCT.
- RDCT could provide a variety of bespoke options though we must continually help to attract new volunteer drivers, and potentially pay a professional driver for any regular services.
- New commercial operator may be interested – conversations are underway. RDCT is poised to compliment and fill gaps; would welcome a new operator that could build strong bus provision in our area.
- Huge potential to provide lifts/shuttle service to Meldreth and Shepreth Stations, meeting student/work commuter and other needs. Shepreth has step-free access. Rail services to increase next year. Station and rail issues to be covered by Meldreth Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group.
- Bus users at this meeting all hold a concessionary bus pass allowing free bus travel. They unanimously agreed that they would be ready to pay something for their journeys.
- Whaddon Parish Council Chair suggested that County Council proposed tweaks to services offered by 15 and 127 made sense. If these are amalgamated it would be important to communicate clearly that while bus numbers change, services are not being lost.
- No 16-18 year olds at meeting but Susan to meet next day with Cambridge Area Partnership, representing post-16 education and training centres, to discuss need and falling transport provision. Post-16 centres report now losing prospective students who cannot afford transport, or who have none available.
- Prospect of new public transport options under the Mayoral system, which will bring bus franchising powers, was felt to be very welcome. We must anticipate and push to make potential new systems work.
- Agreed to set up new bus users’ group: Cam Vale BUG. This will provide a stronger voice for bus users in our area.
- To meet again late June, to agree constitution and set up coordinating committee, mirrored on set-up of Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group.
Meeting concluded at 9PM.