Azara Blog: Guided bus is a very expensive use of public money

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Date published: 2012/01/10

The Cambridge News says:

The guided busway's millionth passenger is due to travel on the route this week.

One lucky customer travelling from the St Ives park and ride site on Thursday morning is likely to be taking the millionth journey, five months since the service was launched.

Staff from bus operators Stagecoach and Whippet will surprise them alongside representatives of Cambridgeshire County Council to celebrate the occasion.

More than 200,000 trips are being taken monthly on the busway, the longest in the world, since it opened in August last year.

This is pretty poor. 200k trips represents 100k people, and dividing by (roughly) 20 working days per month, that means the equivalent of around 5k regular users. Given that the scheme was subsidised to the tune of around 180 million pounds, this means that each of those 5k users is in effect getting a subsidy of around 36k pounds. Even if the ridership doubles, that is still not a very effective use of public money.

And unfortunately the companies and the county council are not revealing how many of the journeys are actually taken by old people with bus passes, who do not pay.

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