More than 23,000 people have given their opinion on plans to charge motorists to travel to and around Cambridge.
The charge would be at least £5 and pay for a £50million expansion of Cambridgeshire’s bus network, plus walk and cycle improvements.
A consultation on the proposals closed at 12:00 p.m. Friday.
Officials from the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), which originated the idea, will now analyze the results.
The GCP said it had never received so many responses to a consultation.
Over 23,000 people responded to an online survey about the plans and another 900 emails were sent to the GCP during the 10-week financial year.
Elisa Meschini, Cambridgeshire County Councilor who also chairs the GCP Board, said: “There has never been a more important time for us to find ways to create and deliver a modern transport network suited to our growing and prosperous region, so I would like to thank the thousands of people who have contributed to the debate over the past 10 weeks.
“It was extremely important for us to hear from as many residents, businesses, volunteer groups and organizations as possible. Having completed 23,000 surveys reflects the broad nature of the engagement.”
Under the plans, the GCP says a ‘London-style’ bus network would be paid for by charging drivers entering or traveling through a ‘sustainable travel zone’.
The proposed area includes most of the town, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but does not include the Park & Ride lots.
The charges would apply between 07:00 and 19:00 on weekdays and would include low and zero emission vehicles.
On Wednesday, Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire Lucy Frazer said she “cannot support the GCP proposals”.
In a blog post, she said a survey she conducted highlighted concerns about Addenbrooke’s inclusion in the pricing zone.
She wrote: ‘The GCP proposals would make it worse for many of my constituents and basically the GCP plans would charge people to drive their vehicles in Cambridge and parts of South Cambridgeshire without giving them an option different viable.”
In its response, Huntingdonshire District Council asked the GCP to remove the hospital from the charging zone.
But he also added: ” [We] welcome the introduction of measures which have the potential to improve sustainable travel across Cambridgeshire and specifically improve economic opportunities in Huntingdonshire through improved connectivity.”
Cambridgeshire County Council has the final say on the adoption of proposals.
The GCP board is due to discuss the results of the consultation at a meeting in June, but says conversations on “potential exemptions, discounts and refunds” will continue.
At the June meeting, the council will also decide whether to recommend to the county council to implement the scheme.
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