Butterfly bus route could be the next stop for St Neots

Cllr Derek Giles

Cllr Derek Giles - Credit: Archant

A butterfly-shaped bus route linking communities in St Neots could open if the town is successful in obtaining a chunk of £5.8 million being made available by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Mayor Cllr Derek Giles told a meeting of St Neots Town Council that the money could be available for a year or two to gauge the popularity of the service.

“The key is that it has got to be regular and people have got to use it,” he said.

But Cllr Bob Farrer told the meeting that the service would only be reliable if it was operated by the town council itself.

He said: “If it is going to be done it needs to be done here, it needs to be done by the town council. We need to have control of those buses.”

Cllr Farrer said that big bus companies would not be interested.

The St Neots Butterfly Route gets its name because from above the shape of the looped routes resemble a butterfly’s wings.

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Routes would include the Eatons, Eynesbury and Priory and Loves Farm.

Cllr Giles raised the scheme at the town council meeting because he needed to take members’ views to the combined authority the following day.

He told the Hunts Post he would now be meeting the buss supervisor and officers with a view to progressing the idea.

Cllr Giles envisages minibuses running regularly around the loops and connecting to the town centre - also providing a key link to the railway station, cutting congestion and saving on the price of a parking ticket.

“If it works and people use it, it would become the foundation for a good regular bus service,” he said.

“The combined authority has £5.8 million and I am trying to get some of that money which would probably help fund it.”

Cllr Giles told the meeting: “There could be substantial funding for two years to get it under way.”

Cllr Charles Bober said it was an “excellent idea” but was concerned about what would happen if funds ran out.

Cllr Barry Chapman said a link to the railway station would be important.