Cambridge

Under-threat bus route saved after thousands sign teenager’s petition – but the fight isn’t over

An under-threat bus has been saved after 2,000 people signed a petition to keep it – at least until March.

Last week Whippet Coaches said it would no longer be running the X3 bus route, a service that many residents in Papworth relied upon to get to school and work.

The shock announcment sparked worry among people in Papworth and spurred Hills Road student Grace Fisher to start a petition to save the service.

Today (October 17) a £10,000 funding boost for the service has been announced, meaning that the X3 can keep running at least until March.

Half of the cash has come from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CA), with the other half made up by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Whippet previously said it would axe the service on November 10, but has told the Traffic Commissioner that the X3 will keep running with the same timetable until March.

The council has said the grant will "bridge the gap" until proposed changes to bus services due to be put in place in April next year are finialised.

Grace Fisher, whose petition now has more than 2,000 signatures, said: "I am thrilled that the service has been able to be saved!

Grace Fisher at the X3 bus stop in Papworth (Image: Keith Jones)

"The grant given will undoubtedly enable students, those who work in Cambridge and other groups within Papworths community (elderly, disabled and many more) some stability in terms of getting to and from Papworth.

"Im feeling extremely positive about the situation, and I really must thank everyone who stood up for the cause. Special thanks to Mark Howell and Stu Proudfoot for working so closely with me throughout the time the petition has been active.

"I still intend to attend various meetings within Cambridgeshire about the improvement of local bus services. I hope a stable service can be provided after March, this being the time leading up to exams.

"Ill undoubtedly keep pushing for the service to be kept running , and cant wait to declare my petition a victory!"

How it will be funded

The district council will be using money allocated for local transport initiatives for its contribution towards subsidising the service, while Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer has also confirmed the CA will contribute.

Mr Palmer said: “There was a great deal of concern locally about the future of the X3 route, particularly for those living in Papworth Everard, as well as students, commuters, those with hospital appointments and so on, so it is good news that a solution has been found to retain the service.

James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough has stepped in to save the X3 bus service (Image: Cambridge News)

“In this instance there was a clear case for stepping in, alongside South Cambridgeshire District Council, to subsidise the route in the short term."

He said the CA was reviewing local bus services and would look at options including franchising to improve them in the future.

Deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council Aiden Van de Weyer added: "It would have been a disaster if there had a been a five-month gap in service for people trying to access jobs, education and leisure as they would move away from using public transport and add to congestion on the roads.

"This situation is fairly unique, and we cannot provide money to fund bus services in the longer term. We know how vital rural public transport is and are very keen to see how bus franchising can help improve the level of service offered to the communities we serve."

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.