Quote: The Combined Authority has approved new contracts for 17 out of 18 bus services cut by Stagecoach.
Approval has been given for new contracts for bus operators to run services on 17 out of 18 routes which Stagecoach East announced would be withdrawn from October 30.
The decision was made by the Combined Authority Board yesterday (October 19).
On September 20, Stagecoach East announced they were pulling out of 18 services completely and reducing five significantly.
The Combined Authority went to urgent tender with potential operators the following day with the aim of continuing as many of those services as possible.
The current position is that 17 of the 18 services cut by Stagecoach, along with all of the five reduced services, have all received quotes from new operators.
The remaining route, service 39, has been covered apart from the section between Chatteris and March.
The Combined Authority is continuing to have discussions with operators about covering this service.
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “This whole situation has been very worrying for communities and the Combined Authority has, rightly, worked with urgency on this tendering process to get buses running on those former Stagecoach routes after October 30.
“What is positive is that we have received tenders for all but part of one of those routes and the Combined Authority’s work is ongoing in trying to find an operator in this case.”
The approved routes will require some of the £1.7m set aside by the Combined Authority for subsidies to operators to keep them running.
The current position is that the total cost is expected to be about £1.25m and the tender process has shown that the money made available by the Combined Authority is very likely to be enough to cover all the routes where there are operators with the capacity to run them.
For legal reasons around the tendering process, the Combined Authority is not yet able to confirm which bus operators are the preferred bidder for each route and not is it able to confirm the route timetables.
Operators and new timetables will be confirmed at the end of what is called a standstill period lasting 10 days.
This is a legal requirement attached to this tendering process which allows suppliers an opportunity to challenge any decision.
New contracts with bus operators will run until the end of March 2023.
Mayor Johnson added: “Looking beyond these immediate challenges, the whole bus system in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough needs bold change because it clearly isn’t working.
“There are many challenges ahead, but work on a better future is being done by the Combined Authority.”