Monday, 15 January 2018

Cyclist attacked

During the late afternoon of January 4, a cyclist was attacked by a group of teenagers on the Busway cycle path, between Addenbrookes and the main railway station. His injuries required hospital treatment.

For more information, here's a link to the Cambridge News report, as well as one to the Mail Online.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

"Grounds" maintenance

According to a report prepared for the County Council's Economy and Environment Committe, and due to be discussed at the next meeting of that committee on 11 January, the current contract for maintenance of the Busway "grounds" is due for renewal from October.

The existing contract - which also covers the county's Park & Ride sites, and which is let in partnership between the County and South Cambridgeshire District Council - was issued for 3 years in 2015. That shared contract allowed the number of contractors involved to be whittled down from four to just one. Overall savings of 6% were achieved as a result.

The Busway maintenance costs are covered by the access charges levied on bus operators.

One proposal to be considered by next week's meeting is that the new contract should run for 5 years. According to the report:
"This longer period may encourage contractors to offer greater savings to the overall contract and may also allow them to invest in bigger equipment such as tractor and flail type machinery to speed up certain aspects of grounds maintenance currently undertaken, especially along the Busway."
 Eagle-eyed readers will already have observed that there's no mention of improving the quality of the maintenance - so we've no reason to expect the issues of overhanging trees, or growth obstructing the maintenance track, to be alleviated as a consequence of any new contract. "Cheaper" and "faster" appear to be the Council's objectives.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Timetable changes, 7 January (or 8 January, to be more precise)

Stagecoach are introducing a few timetable changes to Busway services with effect from 7 January (although none of the changes actually seem to apply until Monday 8 January). Here are the details:
A new journey has been added at 0823 from Longstanton Park & Ride to Cambridge Rail Station. The 0702 journey from Hill Rise will start at 0625 at Somersham, and will serve Colne, Earith, Bluntisham and Needingworth.
Also, the 0745 Route N from Cambridge will now terminate at Longstanton Park & Ride (M-F).

And here's a link to the revised timetable.

Speed monitoring - FoI request reveals all (or not much?)

There have been a number of posts on this blog in recent months cncerning traffic speeds on the Busway (too many for me to bother to post all the links here). And here's another one!

Cllr Zoe O'Connell - picking up on earlier developments regarding the monitoring of speed along the Busway - recently submitted an FoI request to Cambridgeshire County Council. She asked:
Please can you provide any records of speed monitoring carried out on the Guided Busway by the county council using the speed monitoring device purchased in August or September of this year.
If possible, please can you include:
1) The date, time and location of any monitoring activities
2) The speed limit at that location
3) The speeds of any vehicles obtained.
4) Any follow up action by the council.
Now,  the request is slightly ambiguous because it relies on her understanding of the "speed monitoring device" being the same as the County Council's. (For what it's worth, I thought she was referring to a portable device covered in my December 5 blog post.)

The County's response has now been posted. It's brief, and doesn't reveal very much!
We have a portable camera we use to monitor speed on the Guided Busway. The only fixed camera we have at present is along the Trumpington single track section. The monitoring here is constant between 05:00 and 21:00 Monday to Saturday (whilst buses are running)

We capture anything that travels over 20 mph (to rule out cyclists etc).

Details of any bus travelling over 33 mph (limit plus 10%) will be sent to the relevant bus operator. The first block of information will be sent during January 2018. The Speed indicator device has been in place since November and during this time the device has been tested and calibrated to provide us with the accurate data that we require.
The County's response fails to provide any information at all about the use to which the portable camera has been put (why? Isn't that part of the point of the original FoI request?). And the fixed camera is too new for there to be any results to report.

So we're not much the wiser at this point!

I suspect Cllr O'Connell will be persisting with her questions.

If you want to look at the full exchange, follow this link.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Maintenance / Cycle Track Flooded between Fendrayton and. St Ives

This afternoon the Maintenance / Cycle track is flooded right across to a depth of over 5cm (and rising) just to the east (Fen Drayton side) of the Ouse viaduct.

The gates are not yet closed, and warnings not yet in place.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas and New Year Bus Services

Information about Stagecoach bus services running during the festive season in the Cambridge area can be found at https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/east/christmas-2017


Whippet will be running no services on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or 
New Year’s Day. Normal service on other days during the festive season.




Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Biogas vehicle on the Busway

I should preface this post by admitting that I have no first-hand knowledge of what follows, nor has the blog received reports from its readers. But with that caveat...

The ITV News website is reporting that a "biogas powered double-decker bus is being trialled on the Guided busway between Huntingdon and Cambridge. It's hoped the bus can cut emissions by up-to 84 per-cent."

Apparently, the bus was on a six-week trial that began on 1 November. So we've probably all missed our chance to see it! (The ITV News report only appeared on 12 December.)

Since I haven't seen it myself, I can't offer you a photo of my own. There's one with the ITV News story - and lots, lots more on Flickr (more than any casual reader will ever need, for sure!). The vehicle, registration DD16 GAS, is usually based in the Sunderland depot of Stagecoach North-East.

Postscript (3 hours after the original posting): It's reported on the Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum (and by a very reliable/authoritative contributor) that this vehicle has been "on Demo for suitability around Cambridge. As it was already fitted with Busway Guidewheel brackets, [Stagecoach] decided to use it at Fenstanton."