News and Updates

Category: Development

13 October 2022

Universal bus service to go electric

New electric buses will operate on the Universal bus route from next year, with the service extended to serve Girton College, Homerton College and Wolfson College.

As part of its commitment to sustainability and sustainable business travel, the University of Cambridge has agreed to award an eight-year contract to Whippet, to provide a fleet of new electric buses from July 2023.

The new contract will provide a ‘split service’, with half of Universal buses serving Girton College at the northern end of the route, and half routed along Grange Road and Newnham Road to better serve Wolfson College, with some returning to Hills Road to connect with Homerton College and the Faculty of Education.

Route U, the University bus for everyone, is subsidised by the University of Cambridge, and carries around 60,000 people per month, linking Eddington with West Cambridge, the city centre, the train station and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. University staff and students use the service, as well as Eddington residents, sixth form students, shoppers, tourists and key workers.

The University’s Planning and Resources Committee approved the introduction of the electric service, replacing the existing diesel service, and the route extension. The £1 fare for University Card holders will be retained despite the significant additional investment from the University in the new bus service.

Professor David Cardwell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning, said: “We are delighted to announce that the Universal bus service will operate with a fleet of new electric buses from next year, and that students, staff and members of the public will soon be able to also use the service at Girton College, Homerton College and Wolfson College.

“Colleagues, in particular the University’s Sustainability team, have worked hard on what are significant enhancements to the existing service, and have welcomed the positive working relationship they have had with student representatives’, and their perspective on the service.

“The Universal bus is a pioneering initiative, and this new contract will support the University’s commitment to environmental sustainability, in particular sustainable business travel, as well as its work to meet the access requirements of all students.”

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