Meldreth, Whaddon and Bassingbourn villagers form new action group after cuts to South Cambs bus services

PUBLISHED: 08:25 04 May 2017

The  Cam Vale Bus User Group's inaugural meeting took place in Meldreth

The Cam Vale Bus User Group's inaugural meeting took place in Meldreth

Archant

People in Meldreth, Whaddon and Bassingbourn have formed a new bus users group – in response to cuts to services linking the villages to Cambridge.

County councillor Susan van de Ven chaired the inaugural Cam Vale BUG meeting, set up with an aim to provide a stronger voice for those in villages covered by the 26, 27, 15, 127 and 128 buses.

Attendees were joined by Royston and District Community Transport manager David Wherrell and chairman of Whaddon Parish Council Lee Ginger to discuss the shifting fortunes of public transport in South Cambs.

Mrs van de Ven said: “Transport corridors don’t obey village boundaries and we hope that our new bus users’ group will create a forum to promote better transport for the area.

“There was a very strong reaction to there being good rail links with no bus links to reach them – in particular on behalf of people who commute every day to college, apprenticeships or work.

“Many sixth formers are having to get lifts to the station, which means their parents must build a station run in to their working day – and that’s not always manageable.

“While the distances from Bassingbourn or Whaddon to Royston or Meldreth are relatively short, walking and cycling connections are simply not safe.”

Other key points raised included how bus and community transport services are ‘absolutely critical’ to those who cannot drive, and also provide a viable choice to those who do.

Mrs van de Ven added: “Thanks to even minimal public transport services these people are able to live independently. We’re not talking about one or two people – these are significant groups.”

Attendee Jacky Clark, from Meldreth, said: “It is so important for all of us living in villages to have access to a bus route to get us out and about, to communicate with others, do shopping, keep appointments et cetera. and not to feel completely cut off from society.”

Mr Wherrell said that RDCT could provide a variety of bespoke options, though the group must continually help to attract new volunteer drivers and potentially pay a professional driver for any regular services.

The Cam Vale BUG will meet again in June.

To find out more about how to get involved email Susan van de Ven on susanvandeven5@gmail.com

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