Council bosses have announced the delayed Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will open on Sunday, 7 August.
The revolutionary new link will offer a reliable, fast and frequent service between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge giving residents a high quality alternative to the long queues and uncertain journey times on the busy A14.
The Busway was originally expected to begin carrying passengers in Spring 2009, but the scheme has been plagued by delays and contractual disputes.
Stagecoach and Whippet Coaches, who will run the services on The Busway, are now in the process of registering the new Busway routes with the Traffic Commissioner. Timetables, stops and routes for the different services will be published next week.
Busway services will run seven days a week, and from Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm there will be buses running between St Ives and Cambridge at least every 10 minutes.
Services to Huntingdon will be every 20 minutes with an hourly evening service running until midnight.
It is anticipated around 3.5 million trips will be taken on The Busway each year. The dedicated track for guided buses will mean passengers will be able to travel by public transport between St Ives Park & Ride and the Science Park in Cambridge in just 20 minutes.
Cambridge Gateway – a project to improve bus, cycle and pedestrian access into Cambridge railway station – was completed earlier this year, and the new link to Hills Road will also open on 7 August to tie in with the start of Busway services.
The Busway will be the longest track of its kind in the world and includes two new Park & Ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton with spaces for hundreds of cars, and covered cycle parking.
The shorter southern section connects Cambridge Railway Station, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Trumpington Park & Ride with a completely traffic free link.
Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member Growth and Planning, said:
“The Busway is going to provide people with a reliable, fast and frequent form of public transport, making it the best way to travel. This route is much needed in Cambridgeshire and will set the standard for rapid transit systems being built in the future.
“Since the route was handed over to us, our absolute focus has been to get buses running on the track as soon as possible, and it is great news to finally announce the date people will be able to begin taking advantage of this fantastic new service.”
Andy Campbell, Managing Director for Stagecoach in Cambridge, said: “Stagecoach has been committed to this project since the very beginning and we are delighted we now have a date when the bus services will begin.
£The Busway is a visionary project and we believe that our luxury buses with leather seats, free WiFi internet access and air chill will encourage more people out of their cars and on to the route.
“I am certain our customers will be very impressed with the speed and quality of the service.”
The route will open on a Sunday to help get the service up and running before commuters begin using the route and further information on the services for the first day will be publicised in the coming weeks.
Surfacing of the cycleway next to the track between Swavesey and Cambridge will also be completed before the route opens. This means walkers, cyclists and horse riders will also be able to begin benefitting from the high quality, safe and car-free route from 7 August.
Final driver training will be completed in the weeks before the route opens.