Bus service which faced uncertain future has contract extended until 2017

The Absolutely bus service.

The Absolutely bus service. - Credit: Archant

Financial support for a popular bus service in Ely is to be extended until 2017.

The Absolutely service, which runs an orbital service around the city, was set up on a three-year contract between Norfolk Green, East Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

The service was initially funded from section 106 gained from Sainsbury’s.

With passenger numbers rising year on year - in 2012/13, the annual number of journeys was 40,285 and in 2013/14 this rose to 50,807 – the two authorities have agreed to continue the service.

As a result, the remaining money from the Section 106 bus fund with Sainsbury’s will be directed to paying for the extension of the service and Cambridgeshire County Council will put the route out to tender.

Cllr James Palmer, leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The orbital bus service has been a great success with more and more people using the service since it launched in 2012.

“It has become a vital piece of Ely’s infrastructure taking people into the city centre to do their shopping, helping people to get to the hospital and even getting commuters to the railway station.

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“As a result, we had no hesitation in committing the remaining Section 106 bus fund to extend the service for another two years. We hope with the expected growth of Ely, this service will continue to be well used by residents over the years to come.”

The service currently provided by Norfolk Green comprises of two orbital routes linking the housing estates on the outskirts of Ely with the city centre and the Sainsbury store, in Lisle Lane.

One loop is via Cam Drive while the other loop is via Beresford Road providing an hourly service to those residents and giving a half hourly service to the city centre and Lisle Lane.