Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has today welcomed the release of the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) Strategic Bus Review report, which was commissioned by the Combined Authority early last year. He says that it is a very small, slow step in the right direction and is critical of the lack of evidence underpinning the report. Mr Zeichner, a former Shadow Buses Minister, took the most recent buses legislation through Parliament for Labour.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “I am disappointed with the timescales outlined in the report. 2021 is too long to wait for the business cases to be developed. The report is long on generalisations about transport in general, and weak on local specifics and data. We all know that services in and around Cambridge are expensive and services frequently delayed, most recently because of severe driver shortages. A report like this should have included detailed data, particularly from Stagecoach. There are some good suggestions, including re-establishing the minimum levels of service that Cambridge enjoyed when Labour was in Government, with consistent ten-minute services. A simplified flat-fare would also be welcome, but needs to be set at an affordable level. Proposals for a local transport authority need to be understood in the context of emerging sub-national transport bodies, of which there seems little appreciation. Overall, my view is that this is disappointing: a very small, slow step in the right direction – it needs much more political drive and vision to make the transformation we need.”
Hidden deep in the report, (4.7.7), the scale of local bus-operator profits are revealed, some £10 million per annum. The report states that if one-third of the profits, £3.5 million, were available to the CPCA that would be more than double the amount currently spent of subsidising local bus services by local councils.Daniel Zeichner, was involved in taking through the 2017 Bus Servicers Act through Parliament for the Labour Party as the then Shadow Transport Minister. He has long taken a particular interest in the bus system and the experiences of bus-users. Mr Zeichner has long argued that bus users were under represented in and around Cambridge, which led him to hold the first Bus Users Forum in Cambridge in the summer of 2017. This event paved the way for the formation of the Cambridge Area Bus Users Group, which meets regularly to discuss the needs of bus users in the city.