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Fulbourn Public Transport Survey

Summary of the Fulbourn Public Transport Survey

 By Cllr John Williams

Chairman Fulbourn Parish Plan Action Group

 Overview

As would be expected, generally speaking the majority of fare paying trips and peak period journeys are made on the Citi 1, while the 16/17 routes are mainly used by concessionary pass holders; however, there are significant numbers of concessionary pass holders on the Citi 1 and fare paying passengers on the peak period journeys on the 16/17 routes to and from Cambridge city.

 The single biggest issue is the circuitous route of the Citi 1 for people wanting to reach the city centre, Hills Road Sixth Form College and the railway station.  Also, the survey suggests the level of use to Addenbrooke Hospital is lower than thought, with residents driving to the Babraham Road park and ride for the hospital for employment or visits.  Once again the circuitous route of the Citi 1 is blamed for not using it for Addenbrooke Hospital.  Finally, the reliability of the Citi 1 service also came in for criticism.

 As to participating in a car share scheme there was a lukewarm response and although a significant number would use a dial a ride service nearly twice as many said they would not.

 Background

The Fulbourn Parish Plan called for a more direct bus service between Fulbourn village and Cambridge city and actioned a survey of bus users.  In February 2011 Cambridgeshire County Council announced the withdrawal of subsidies to local bus services, affecting routes 16/17.  The parish plan action group therefore decided to carry out a survey in Fulbourn village to ascertain current public transport use, to identify whether it met demand and to seek suggestions on how public transport could be improved.

The Survey

The survey consisted of a questionnaire delivered to about 1,200 households in Fulbourn village during March and April 2011.  In addition to asking questions about current bus usage, it included park and ride use and the use of school, work and community transport serving the village.  It gave recipients the opportunity to make suggestions and it also asked if people would use a car share scheme or dial a ride service.  Respondents were asked to return the questionnaire to the parish council office (although some were received by Cllr Williams direct).  In total 180 were received, representing a return rate of 15%, from across the village, from different housing types and socio economic groups.

Current public transport links

The main bus service serving the village is Citi 1, a daily commercial service to Cambridge city, via Cherry Hinton and Addenbrooke Hospital operated by Stagecoach, with a 20 minute timetable during the day Monday to Saturday and a 30 minute service in the evening and on Sunday.  The Citi 1 also has night journeys from the city on Fridays and Saturdays.

The village is also served by county council funded routes 16 and 17.  These provide a combined Monday to Saturday day time hourly service to the city via Teversham, Cherry Hinton Church and the Beehive Centre with some peak period journeys.  To the east, the 16 operates twice hourly during the day to Haverhill via Balsham and the 17 twice hourly to Newmarket or Stretchworth via the Wilbrahams. There is also a 16A bus serving Long Road and Hills Road Sixth Form Colleges.

In addition to these local bus routes, the village is served by school buses to Bottisham Village College, St Bedes, Stoke College at Clare and Cambridge Regional College, works buses to the Genome Campus at Hinxton and the Abington Business Park and other community transport schemes such as Cambridge Dial a Ride.  Fulbourn village is also some two to three miles from the park and ride sites at Babraham Road and Newmarket Road.

Current use of local bus services

Just over two third of the households that responded use the local bus services from the village. Three out of five have concessionary bus pass users and they are the majority of local bus users (almost two out of three).  As a proportion of total passengers concessionary pass holders are higher on the 16/17 route to Cambridge city (three out of four), compared to the Citi 1 (two out of three).  The services to Haverhill and Newmarket are overwhelmingly patronised by concessionary pass holders (over nine in ten).

A quarter of households use the Citi 1 during peak periods Monday to Friday (before 9.30am and between 4.30 and 7pm), while nearly one in five use the 16/17 routes between Fulbourn and Cambridge city, with most travelling to the Beehive and Grafton Centres.  Peak period journeys account for most of the fare paying trips on routes 16/17 (four out of five).  This is significant given the limited number of peak time journeys on these two routes.  As to Addenbrooke Hospital and Cambridge Rail Station, the number of households travelling regularly (at least once a week) on Citi 1 to these two destinations was small (nine and seven respectively) with peak period journeys at seven each.

Current use of Park and Ride sites

Just under a third of households do not use local buses at all and drive to the park and ride sites and of the local bus users three out of five also drive to the park and ride sites. Therefore almost two third of households use the park and ride facilities, split (with a handful using other sites) evenly between Babraham Road and Newmarket Road. Comments suggest Babraham Road is used as a car park for Addenbrooke Hospital, both for employment and visiting.  This could be worthy of further investigation.

Suggestions for improvements

When asked what would improve public transport and encourage more residents to use it, the overwhelming response (104) was for a more direct Citi 1 service to Hills Road bridge.  Next was improving the reliability of the Citi 1service (21). Then came requests for earlier and later buses on the Citi 1 and 16/17 and for a more frequent service on the latter to the city (17).  The cost of fares was a concern for nine respondents, while seven wanted a shuttle to the park and ride sites, five asked for a direct route to Addenbrooke Hospital and four wanted Fulbourn Station reopened.  There were numerous other individual requests.

Car Sharing and Dial a Ride

There was some enthusiasm for car sharing (14) and for a dial a ride service (34), with some already using Cambridge Dial a Ride.  However 32 respondents said they would not use a car sharing scheme and 56 said they would not use a dial a ride service.

Next steps

The full report with this summary will be sent to the county and district councils, local bus operators, Cambridge Dial a Ride, the primary care trust and councillors. And to take it forward a group is being formed with people who have expressed an interest in getting involved.  This summary will be placed on the parish council website.

27 June 2011