Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Partial closure, December 13

The Busway will be closed tomorrow, December 13, in the Histon area, between 1000 and 1600. This is to allow tree maintenance work to be carried out. (Some might suggest that this is not before time!)

Outbound services will use a temporary stop in Station Road, travel through Histon village, and then rejoin the Busway at Park Road. The reverse diversion applies to inbound services, although there's no need for any temporary stop in that direction.

I first picked this up from the Cambridge News. More detailed information (including a map) is also on Whippet's website. At the time of writing there doesn't seem to be any information about this on the Stagecoach "travel updates" page. Nor is it mentioned on the County Council's dedicated Busway web pages. (The Cambridge News reports that the diversion was announced on Twitter, but it doesn't show up if you follow the Busway-specific Twitter link on the County Council web page - which suggests the Council neglected to use its own preferred hashtag.)

Monday, 4 December 2017

Speed sensors

The Cambridge News reports that speed sensors - similar to those positioned on roadsides the length and breadth of the country - have been installed by the side of the Busway, not too far from Trumpington Park and Ride.

This is quite separate from the speed monitoring device which the Council purchased earlier this year - understood to be a mobile device which could be put to use at any point along the Busway.

And that seems to be all there is to say.  Short and sweet, or something.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Unauthorised vehicles on Busway

Readers of this blog, and/or of other local media, will be acquainted with the seemingly persistent problem of unauthorised vehicles finding their way onto the Busway (and usually, as a result, falling foul of the car traps). The County Council reports that there have been 71 incidents between the opening of the Busway and September of this year. This blog long since gave up bothering to report such incidents - there's only so much repetition that the average reader can cope with.

The Cambridge News recently had a crack at trying to determine how some motorists manage to get things so wrong, although its investigation seems to have focused only on potential sat-nav problems (or GPS applications, perhaps) at one specific junction. And using only Google Maps as the data source.

This seems to have started with a report from a News reader who "told the News they were using Google Maps on their Android phone to get to Cambridge Regional College yesterday evening (October 31), when the software appeared to direct them onto the guided busway." The News reporters' investigation tentatively concluded that the cause might lie in the map being set to "night mode", where the Busway isn't so clear on the display and the driver might be confused.

At this point I would recommend that you read the News report:

Perhaps sensing that the risk of adverse publicity for one of its products, Google was quick to undertake its own investigation. Google says that its maps are "routing correctly". Given how long the Busway has been operating, any other result would have been surprising! But Google didn't respond directly to the "night mode" issue, merely noting that they welcomed suggestions for improving their services.

And this is the point where I need to point you to the follow-up Cambridge News story which covers Google's response:

The News also posted a poll at the end of the first story. Its follow-up reveals that only 10% of those responding claimed that their sat-nav had confused the Busway with a public road. Actually, I'm not sure I should have written "10%" - we don't know how many individuals this represents, but if only a small proportion of that 10% were to slavishly follow their sat-navs, then...

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Timetable changes today (or tomorrow, in fact)

Stagecoach are making more changes to their Busway "B" service. In theory these impact only on the "regular road" section between Huntingdon and Peterborough, but it's possible there might be consequences for the Busway proper.

The B is to be rerouted via Stilton. To accommodate this, Peterborough services will leave Huntingdon 3 minutes earlier. And southbound services will generally leave Peterborough 5 minutes earlier. If this latter isn't sufficient to fit in the extra route mileage, then arrival at Huntingdon could be late, with consequences on the Huntingdon to Cambridge stretch. Only time will tell!

A revised timetable for the Huntingdon to Peterborough stretch is available for download here. The new times are also available from Traveline. The dedicated Busway pages on the County Council website seem unaware of either the route change or the amended timetable.

It's not 100% clear from either Stagecoach or Traveline if the Huntingdon/Peterborough service is continuing as a through service to/from Cambridge (there are a few runs that never have, of course). It seems unlikely that any change is planned in this regard, but until we have a new complete timetable for the whole Busway, it's impossible to be certain.

According to Stagecoach the changes come into effect today (29 October) - but there isn't a Sunday service on this stretch, so in practice they apply from 30 October.

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: https://www.businessweekly.co.uk/news/automotive/autonomous-vehicle-trial-starts-cambridge
Cambridge News: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/driverless-robot-pods-take-cambridge-13772841
BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-41644810

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.