A new and improved bus route around the city of Ely set off today (Monday 3 September) from Market Street following a campaign by a group of local residents and councillors for a better bus service for Ely.
Following the loss of the old number 15 Ely service, a group of local councillors along with two Ely residents have been working with the help and support of officers at the County Council, and planners at Stagecoach, to make improvements to the current bus timetables on offer to Ely residents.
In an innovative move, a Community Bus Partnership has been formed between Stagecoach and the campaign group to promote the service locally with the aim of building up ridership over time.
The revised number 9 service will run on a circular route around the city, linking residential areas around Beresford Road, Priors Court, Cam Drive and Kings Avenue with the Ely Leisure Village, Princess of Wales Hospital, Sainsbury's, city centre and Tesco. The route also provides through journeys to Cambridge for shopping. Initially, the bus will run every two hours during the day, on Mondays to Saturdays, and fares will be £1.80 for a single journey and £3 for an all-day ticket covering the Ely area.
City of Ely, East Cambs District and Cambridgeshire County Councillor Lis Every said, “We are delighted that Stagecoach has stepped in to provide this improved service for Ely and our campaign group will be throwing our efforts into promoting the route locally to help it thrive.”
District and County Councillor Anna Bailey said “Part of the discussions we have been having locally around bus services is the need for longevity to help build and sustain ridership over time. We want this to feel like a community service and one of the ideas we have is to provide very local versions of the timetables relating to different areas of Ely.”
District and City Councillor Richard Hobbs added “There is a lot of local knowledge available about the transport needs of the area. Ely is expanding, and this recent and future growth along with other detailed local information will all be helpful to ensure the success of this new and improved service for residents and tourists alike.”
Andy Campbell, Managing Director of Stagecoach East, said: “Community bus routes are vital yet, across the country, many services are struggling. This Community Bus Partnership is an excellent example of the sort of creative thinking that has the potential to help encourage greater usage. Stagecoach is pleased to be working with the Council and community, as part of this forward-thinking solution.”
Cambridgeshire County Council will also be working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer and the Combined Authority to consider longer-term options for bus services in the area pending a more far-reaching Bus Review by the Combined Authority.
Full timetable information for the new no 9 service can be found here.