Friday, 20 October 2017

Upcoming diversions

There are two sets of Busway diversions coming up soon.

The first one concerns only the "B" route and comes into effect tomorrow, Saturday 21 October. The Orchard Park East and West stops in both directions will be closed until 6pm on Sunday week. This will allow repairs at Iceni Way, Chariot Way, Chieftain Way and Graham Road to be carried out. The maintenance track will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists though. A replacement for the Orchard Park West stop will be provided at the regular bus stop on the Cambridge Road, just round the corner. Orchard Park East would-be passengers aren't quite so lucky. Presumably they will have to walk to the CRC.

The other diversion affects "A", "B" and "C" routes, and applies this coming Sunday, 22 October. It's caused by another road race. Route A services won't serve New Square until 1 pm. Passengers should go to Drummer St Bus Station (Bay 12) instead. Until 1 pm Route B services can't serve the stops from Castle Street (Shire Hall) through to New Square, in either direction. Additional stops are being made on Victoria Road (inbound) and Histon Road Grapes (outbound). Route C services aren't using the St Ives-bound New Square stop until 1 pm

The County Council announcement about these diversions doesn't even mention the Whippet service. And provides incorrect information about the "A" change. And incomplete information about the "B". The information in the preceding paragraph is based on information provided by the operators, whom I'm inclined to trust more than the County Council.

Finally, I feel like there should be a special prize to anyone who can explain why inbound C services still stop at New Square, but B services don't...

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Autonomous vehicle trial starts on Busway

I've decided to stick with Business Weekly's definition in the title for this posting. The Cambridge News prefers "driverless robot buses" (which begs the question as to how it would be defined if actually driven by a robot...). Whilst the BBC goes for "driverless bus 'pod'". As you can tell, even defining what it is that's being described isn't easy!

Simply because it seems to repeat a press release, I'll stick with Business Weekly (links to all of the sources referenced appear at the end of this posting).

It reports that the "RDM Group is utilising its existing driverless PodZero to complete feasibility studies ahead of the potential deployment of a number of 10-seater autonomous buses that will run between Trumpington Park and Ride and Cambridge Station, via the strategically important Cambridge Biomedical Campus (Addenbrooke’s) site." The idea being that a successful trial could lead to the introduction of an autonomous bus service after 8pm in the evening and during the weekends.

An RDM member of staff notes that the Trumpington to Cambridge section of the Busway is an ideal route as "it is segregated from the highway allowing the pods to whizz up and down without traffic congestion slowing them down and also segregated from pedestrians and cyclists meaning it is a really safe route."

I wonder whether that person has actually surveyed the route at the Cambridge end of this section? It was at precisely the point where buses and cyclists aren't segregated - at the end of the guided section near the Railway Station -  that an accident happened earlier in the summer.

Funding is being provided by Innovate UK, and delivered in partnership with Connecting Cambridgeshire and the Smart Cambridge Programme.

More at the following sources - although there's a good deal of overlap, since so much of the reporting is based on the initial press release:

Business Weekly:
Cambridge News:

I submitted a previous report at the time the funding  was first announced:

Friday, 13 October 2017

Le Busway

I was intrigued by this report of a Busway in Nantes, France. Unlike ours it is electric.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Guide wheel damage - FoI request

And yet another Freedom of Information request...

Sam Webster pickied up on the response to a previous FoI request. The latter had said, inter alia, that the "... considerable damage to the upstand further along the beam ... is consistent with damage caused to the guideway elsewhere on previous occasions where a guide wheel has sheared off". Sam wanted "counts, dates, locations and further descriptions of the 'previous occasions'".

The County Council, in its response, has provided information on two previous incidents. One, in November 2012, took place at the road crossing just north of Longstanton Parn & Ride site; the other was at Orchard Park in April 2013. In both cases the bus was incorrectly positioned in relation to the entry flare, resulting in the bus rolling and the guide wheel (or its arms) fouling the concrete upstands.

The first incident resulted in the driver's dismissal; the second in disciplinary proceeedings against the driver.

For the full FoI exchange, including more details on both incidents, follow this link:

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Timetable changes - busway services

Stagecoach have announced some timetable changes which affect services on the guided busway, starting from 17 September.

Busway A - The journeys on route A departing St Ives bus station at 0636/0706 Monday to Friday, returning from Hinchingbrooke Hospital at 1900 will be diverted to serve RAF Wyton and Houghton village. This is following the withdrawal of route 45 by Whippets Coaches. There is also a new journey from Boxworth into Cambridge (via St Ives and the Busway) Monday to Friday, departing Boxworth at 0644, serving Elsworth at 0649 and Hilton at 0657. The 1733 from Central Cambridge is extended to serve these villages.

Busway A/B/D - Journeys numbered D which operate via Cambridge North Station will no longer serve the station. These will now be renumbered route A. There are also changes to Sunday services beyond St. Ives. These journeys will depart 5 minutes later and arrive minutes later throughout.
Busway N - This service will continue to operate every 20 minutes into Cambridge first thing in the morning. Buses will now operate hourly throughout the day. This reduction is due to a lack of passengers using the service after the morning peak.
Busway R - Changes to early morning journeys in order to allow more time for passengers to connect with trains at Cambridge station following changes to the platform of London bound trains.

The new timetable can be viewed here:

The announcement from Stagecoach can be viewed here:

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Speed monitoring - again

Cast your mind back to the August 4 post about speed monitoring. From that, we learned that the County Council carries out speed checks and passes the results on to the operators. Subsequently, as reported on August 18, it was revealed that the communication is entirely verbal, and that no written record of what's reported to the operators is kept.

Now, in its initial statement, the Council noted that
"The current devices we use do not have the ability to record the data, it has been primarily a monitoring exercise. We are looking into expanding our monitoring capability which will lean more towards enforcement and the different types of speed recording devices, which will log data, in future."

I've been informed that the BBC ran an item last week, both on Look East and on the radio, about a new laser speed gun that the County Council has just acquired. My correspondent notes that it's reported to have cost £17,000. But at least this one will, apparently, keep a record of the results. On Look East's late programme there was the briefest of clips of it in use on the busway. Unfortunately, the BBC iPlayer only has the previous day's Look East available for catch-up viewing, so I'm totally dependent on others for providing this information. Thanks!

Problem solved, perhaps?


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Busway incidents reported to the HSE - FoI request

Another recent Freedom of Information request was to the Health & Safety Executive. Sam Webster asked for "a list of all of the incidents on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway that have been reported to yourselves along with dates, the source(s), a brief description and whether or not you investigated."

The HSE submitted its response two days ago. It has records of only three incidents:
  1.  The fatality on 17 November 2015
  2. The Whippet crash near Cambridge station on 21 June 2017
  3. An incident between Histon and Oakington on 15 July 2017 in which a young cyclist fell off the maintenance track onto the Busway
Paperwork relating to the first of these is exempt from disclosure - the HSE notes that their investigation is ongoing.  Documentation about the others is included in the FoI correspondence.

Here's the link to the FoI request and the related documentation:

(Please note the original version of Document 2 posted there should be ignored - the wrong file was attached. The correct version of that document appears later in the exchange of correspondence.)