Will travel hubs help rural transport?

A new network of travel hubs could give rural residents better access to public transport services.

The hubs would make it easier for people from across South Cambridgeshire travel too and from Cambridge.

Mini park and ride or park and cycle facilities would be situated at convenient village locations or be used as a base for council-led, on-demand community transport services.

The concept is part of a wider strategy by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to get more people out of cars.

It would also tackle congestion and air pollution as the area continues to grow.

The idea was discussed at an inaugural event held at South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) at Cambourne.

People including county, district and parish councillors heard more about the proposed hubs and brain-stormed ideas.

South Cambridgeshire district councillor Francis Burkitt said: "If we proceed with them – they should be a grassroots and community-led idea, wanted and welcomed by local residents.

"I am full of gratitude and praise for all the project team working on this who have worked hard with Parish Councillors over the summer.”

Parish Councils have previously suggested six possible sites for investigation at Oakington, Swavesey, Foxton, Whittlesford, Shepreth and Meldreth.

Meetings have either already or are set to take place with representatives of these local councils but the project is district-wide and as full a district-wide review as possible will be conducted.

A project team has been carrying out early project work including collating background data, drawing up criteria and exploring potential costings and land ownership issues.

The starting point is to determine what rural travel hubs seek to achieve, noting that there will be different needs in different locations.

The team is also exploring whether the hubs could be used as a central point for council-run, on-demand community transport services.

If approved, shuttle buses could collect passengers from nearby villages to access other services at the hub.

Delegates at the event discussed how rural travel hubs would support improve rural bus services, including inter-village as well as city connections.

South Cambridgeshire District Council leader Peter Topping said he was struck by the support and enthusiasm for the idea.

“We must be innovative and make sure that our villages get the transport links that they deserve. We have championed rural travel hubs and need to make sure that they meet the needs of local people. I have seen at first hand the interest and enthusiasm our parish councils and villages are showing to secure local solutions.

“This is transport infrastructure design with a real village hall input, and that is at the heart of the District Council’s relationship with its residents.


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