The ongoing impact of Covid on bus patronage has driven Stagecoach to reshape its network in Cambridgeshire. The new network will mean enhancing 12 services across the region but 18 routes, which have seen significant falls in passenger numbers and are losing Stagecoach £12 per passenger, will be withdrawn.
Stagecoach stresses that the lost routes represent less than six per cent of the entire Cambridgeshire network, and have been supported by temporary national Government funding since the pandemic. Passenger numbers on these services are consistently too low to cover operational costs, according to Stagecoach.
Darren Roe, Stagecoach East managing director, says: “We have designed a new core sustainable bus network with the aim of growing services over the long term. The new network is responding to local demand, and as part of that, we’re pleased to announce a range of enhancements for people in Cambridgeshire.
“We are grateful for the government recovery funding which has been allocated to rebuild services that are sustainable for the long term. This unfortunately does mean making some tough decisions that reflect the reality of how services are being used after the pandemic.
“Overall, services are operating at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger levels, with concessionary travel for older people dropping to as low as 55 per cent. Inflation, rising fuel and energy bills are also all having an impact on our costs. In such tough economic conditions, just like local authorities, bus companies are having to make very difficult decisions.”