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:
http://travellingtheguidedbusway.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/driverless-minibuses-feasibility-study.html

Friday, 13 October 2017

Le Busway

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

http://www.20minutes.fr/nantes/2149943-20171012-nantes-voila-quoi-ressembleront-nouveaux-busways-geants-100-electriqueshttp://www.20minutes.fr/nantes/2149943-20171012-nantes-voila-quoi-ressembleront-nouveaux-busways-geants-100-electriques

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:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/busway_guide_wheel_damage

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:
https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.amazonaws.com/Timetables/East/FENSTANTON/The%20Busway%20-%203%20SEP%202017%20-%20COMPLETE.pdf

The announcement from Stagecoach can be viewed here:
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/service-updates/serviceupdatesarticle?SituationId=ID-21/08/2017-09:26:43:529

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:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/incidents_on_the_cambridgeshire

(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.)

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Secret train fares to St Ives via the Guided Busway

Thanks to Mike Prior-Jones for alerting this blog to a secret fares option allowing through tickets to St Ives via the busway - but only if you book the tickets from a travel agent or a staffed station. And only from stations served by Great Northern Trains. It works via Cambridge or Huntingdon, apparently, an railcard reductions are available.

Full details here.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Order 2005

A recent post included a reference to something with the exciting title "The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Order 2005". It occurs to me that there may be readers of this blog - especially newer ones - who have never encountered this piece of legislation. I don't think it's ever been referenced in the blog before. It's pretty obvious from the title what it covers.

The Order is also known as Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 3523. It's less obvious from that title what it covers...

To access the Order, simply follow this link. (Or you can download this PDF version if you'd prefer.) Enjoy!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Closure this weekend - Groundhog Day?

Just three months after the last weekend closure of the Busway between St Ives and Swavesey (see the 14 June post if you need a reminder!), the same stretch is again to be completely closed this coming weekend, according to Stagecoach. As on the last occasion, "extra buses and drivers will be used to minimise the delay although slight delays are expected to occur".

The closure takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 3 September.

There's no further information about this (or, indeed, any mention at all) on the County Council's Busway web page. However, a spokesman told the Cambridge News: "The busway track will be closed just to the north of the Swavesey stop next weekend while an issue is fixed." And for those who walk or cycle alongside the busway track, all is not lost: "Pedestrians and cyclists should still be able to pass.” What the "issue" causing the closure actually is, that information wasn't in the Cambridge News report.

If anyone is passing by the site over the weekend, I'm sure readers would be interested to learn anything you might be able to find out about the work being undertaken. One correspondent reports that there's a spot "just east of Fen Drayton halt where a beam set has already been excavated and replaced, appears to be a fresh soil heap." Could the County Council's "just to the north of the Swavesey stop" be the same location as my correspondent's "just east of Fen Drayton"?
 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Stagecoach changes from 18 September

Stagecoach are introducing a number of changes to their Busway services from 18 September.

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.
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 main change here is a significant reduction in the number of buses serving Cambridge North station.

New timetables aren't available yet, but are likely to be posted on the Stagecoach website shortly.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Cars on busway - poor signage?

It's been several months since we had a post relating to cars stuck on the Busway, caught in one of the vehicle traps. But there have been almost regular reports in the local media of such events. One of the issues that keeps coming up is whether or not there's something deficient in the signage, so that drivers don't realise they're entering the Busway.

The latest incursion was yesterday (August 21) at St Ives, just past Waitrose, heading towards the Park & Ride stop. The Cambridge News has provided its usual report of the incident - handily, though, it's included a photo taken by another motorist giving the driver's-eye view leading up to this location.

So follow this link to read the CN report and to view the photo (it's in the middle of the report - ignore the video that's been posted as it offers nothing of interest).

It looks to me as though there are two "no entry" signs - albeit at radically different heights - as well as a "guided bus only" road marking. Presumably further back there will be a "cul de sac" warning sign as well. What other signage to readers of this blog think would be required to have prevented this incident?

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Operations Handbook - FoI request

In another recent Freedom of Information request, Cllr Zoe O'Connell asked Cambridgeshire County Council to "provide copies of all versions of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Operations Handbook, both current and past". The County Council's response makes the current edition, v.1.10.1 dated June 2017, publicly available. Earlier editions have been made available to Cllr O'Connell for downloading (as they're too large to attach to an email).

Here's a link to the FoI request, from where anyone can access the June 2017 edition of the Handbook:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cambridgeshire_guided_busway_ope

Curiously, this edition, although postdating the opening of the Busway extension to Cambridge North station, provides no diversionary route should that section be blocked or otherwise unavailable for any reason.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Speed-related correspondence - FoI request

It was only a matter of time before the recent batch of Freedom of Information requests spawned some follow-ups. There have been two in the past week or so, both submitted by Cllr Zoe O'Connell. In no particular order...

One of them requested from Cambridgeshire County Council "copies of any 'information passed on to bus operators' relating to speed checks on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, as referred to in your response to FOI request 8012" (covered by this blog in a posting dated 4 August).

 The County Council responded, saying that is "does not hold a record of this information. The reason there is no correspondence is because the information was passed on verbally to the relevant operator control rooms. The conversations were not recorded so no record is held of the times / dates or content of the telephone information passed to either operators in regard to speed checks."

So who knows what was said to whom, or when, or how frequently. Or anything, really...

Here's a link to the full FoI request:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/correspondence_with_bus_companie

Monday, 7 August 2017

Plans, sections and book of reference - FoI request

The County Council has just posted what is, for the time being, only a partial response to the last of the current crop of Freedom of Information requests.

This request came from Sam Webster (who, careful readers may recall, was responsible for the first of the requests covered by this blog). He asked:

Could you please provide copies of the 'plans, sections and book of reference' referred to in the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Order 2005 Explanatory Note ( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/... ). Although the information is available during working hours at the County Council’s offices, this is not accessible for those of us in full time employment who must be at our own places of work during these hours. As these documents form part of UK legislation, they really should be available on your website given how cheap and easy this is.
For the time being, the County Council has made the relevant documentation available only to Sam himself. It turns out that there are currently 58 documents, some of them substantial in size. However, the Council is working to upload these documents to its website, a task which it anticipates should take no more than a "couple of weeks".

As usual, I'm providing a link to the full FoI request:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/plans_sections_and_book_of_refer

I'll try to remember to keep an eye open for the appearance of these documents on the County Council website - and, if successful, post a follow-up to let you have the URL.

Arrests, prosecutions - FoI request

There's been a response to the third of the four recent Freedom of Information requests that I introduced in my 23 July posting.


This one was submitted by Martin Lucas-Smith, who's well-known in Cambridge cycling circles (although there's no reason to assume that this connection is relevant to his FoI request).


He asked Cambridgeshire Constabulary for:  
1) The total number of arrests made as a result of an unauthorised motor vehicle being driven on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway tracks. 
2) The total number of prosecutions for the same
3) A summary of what law/crime any such arrests/prosecutions were made under.
These all to cover the period since the Busway opened.

The responses: (1) 0; (2) 0; (3) n/a.

(I'm personally unclear whether the request, and/or the reponse, covers the possibility that fixed penalty notices might, or might not, have been issued. If anyone has a clearer understanding of the law in this regard, please post a comment!)

Here's a link to the full FoI request:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/number_of_prosecutions_for_unaut

 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Busway speed monitoring - FoI request

Information of the second of the four recent Freedom of Information requests that I introduced in my 23 July posting.

This one was submitted by Zoe O'Connell, one of Trumpington ward's City Councillors. In essence, Cllr O'Connell asked the County Council:
Please can you provide policies for and records of any monitoring of the speed of buses using the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway carried out by or on behalf of the council.

There are two aspects to the County Council's response. The lengthier part extracts all of the speed-related clauses in the Bus Operations Handbook for Drivers. Most of this information has been in the public domain at some point in the past. The first part of the Council's response is, I suspect, less well-known. Here it is in full:
Cambridgeshire County Council carries out speed checks along the Guided Busway and this information is passed onto the bus operators. 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.

Here's a link to the FoI request, including the County Council's response:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/speed_monitoring_on_the_guided_b

The Cambridge News has this morning published a story based on this FoI request. Here's the link to that Cambridge News item:
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/guided-busway-drivers-face-speeding-13427802

Two further FoI requests await responses - both are due in the next few days. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Changes to Whippet bus routes from 2 September

Whippet have announced the withdrawal of a number of their bus services and you can read the full details here:

http://www.go-whippet.co.uk/changes-local-bus-services-2-september-2017/

However, service C, which operates on the Guided Busway will be strengthened to half hourly between St Ives and Drummer Street, with some earlier and later journeys that at present.

Buses will continue to operate every hour on Sundays, but the gap at midday will be removed so the service is regular throughout the day.

Some service C journeys will start or finish at Fenstanton.

From 2 September, Service C will not serve Cambridge Railway Station , Somersham or Hill Rise/Ramsey Road in St Ives.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Smarter Cambridge Transport publishes major report on Busway defects

Many readers of this blog will know of Smarter Cambridge Transport (SCT), the initiative of an impartial group of local volunteers, who are developing and promoting a modern vision for integrated transport in Cambridge and the surrounding region. They have recently posted a major report, with accompanying commentary, on the Busway's defects. Actually, I'd go further than that - although the title of the report mentions only "defects", the report itself explores the whole long-term viability of the Busway, not just the immediate repairs which are required (and which are likely to be the subject of legal proceedings between the County Council and BAM Nuttall).

Here's just a short taster from SCT's blog post:

Smarter Cambridge Transport has prepared a detailed review of reports commissioned by the County Council. It identifies more than twenty areas of concern with the busway not identified in those reports. The council leader, Councillor Count, has indicated that two companies, Capita and Atkins, are continuing investigations and that our findings have have already been investigated. We cannot verify this until a new report or statement of claim is published.
Perhaps the most important question we pose is whether the problems are due in part not to construction defects, but to inherent design flaws that repairs alone cannot fix.
The review runs to 22 pages. For those who don't have the time or energy to read the whole thing (although it comes highly recommended for anyone interested in the future of the Busway), there's the usual Executive Summary. And the blog post which helped launch it also provides a useful (but different) summary.

Although the report was launched on 20 July, the version currently available from the SCT website (and to which the link below leads) is dated 26 July (the blog post was updated on that date as well). There's no indication as to what changes were made that I can find.

Here are the links you need:

Blog post: http://www.smartertransport.uk/guided-busway-defects/

Report (PDF): http://www.smartertransport.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Guided-Busway-Defects-1q.pdf

According to the Cambridge News, the County Council "do not consider that [the SCT report] raises any new issues that need to be considered as part of our claim [against BAM Nuttall]." In addition, the council leader, Councillor Count, has indicated that twenty areas of concern with the busway listed by SCT as not having been identified by Capita's reports into the Busway's defects "have already been investigated". Smarter Cambridge Transport say they cannot verify this until a new report or statement of claim is published. Here's the link to that Cambridge News story.

[Declaration of interest: earlier this year I was asked to comment on an early version of the SCT report  - which I did. I have had no involvement with the report or its authors since then.]

Monday, 24 July 2017

Cambridge - diversion to end of August

Busway route B services are being diverted Monday to Friday until the end of August in Cambridge city centre. The stops in Round Church Street and Jesus Lane are not being served and buses are being routed via Mitcham's Corner. No alternative stops are being provided, which means that the nearest stops are those on Castle Street and Drummer Street Bus Station.

At least that's the theory. One service (almost certainly the 1745 from Drummer St) was observed today on its normal route in Bridge Street.

There's nothing about this diversion on the County Council website.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Busway derailments - FoI request

In the three weeks following the 21 June derailment on the Busway south of Cambridge railway station, four Freedom of Information requests relating to various aspects of the Busway and its operation were submitted. I will attempt to track them and to provide more information as responses to these requests are posted.

First up in this mini-series is a request from Sam Webster, who asked the following of the County Council:
There have been a number of derailments on the guided busway. For each of these, could you please provide:
1. Date, time, location and type and operator of the bus
2. A brief description of any damage to the busway caused by the derailment
3. The cost of any repairs to the busway (a rough estimate is fine)
4. Copies of any reports compiled on the derailment
5. Details of any penalties applied to operators as a result of the derailment
6. Details of any changes made to the operation of the busway as a result of the derailment
The County Council's response details four such derailments:
A: 20/11/12 15:00 St Ives-bound guideway north of junction with B1050 at Longstanton Single decker bus operated by Stagecoach
B: 22/2/16 13:59 St Ives-bound guideway north of Trumpington cutting Single decker bus operated by Stagecoach
C: 7/7/16 07:33 Northern end of single guideway section in Trumpington cutting Single decker bus operated by Stagecoach
D: 21/6/17 15:47 Trumpington-bound guideway south of Hills Road bridge Single decker bus operated by Whippet Coaches
Reports were compiled on B and C - these have been in the public domain for some time. A report on D is currently in preparation. No report was ever produced on derailment A, even though the cost of repairs for that one (ca. £100,000) cost twice the anticipated combined totals of the three other incidents. No penalties have ever been imposed (although it's too soon to say what might happen regarding the most recent derailment).

Anyone wanting to read the full response - or to have a handy link to the two reports referred to - is advised to follow this link. The Cambridge News also picked up on this request - its story based on the information provided can be found here .

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fenstanton joins the Busway network

Not only is Fenstanton shortly to join the Busway network (a term I've just made up to describe the off-Busway services than continue to/from the Busway without the need to change buses...), but Whippet also plan to increase their "C" services (albeit by terminating in Cambridge City Centre and not serving the Railway Station - and omitting Somersham at the other end). Here's the full announcement from Whippet.

"Route C from 2 September 2017 We will be increasing the number of journeys between St Ives and Cambridge, Drummer Street Bus Station to provide a bus up to every 30 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays. Buses will continue to operate every hour on Sundays, but the gap at midday will be removed so the service is regular throughout the day.  Route C will no longer serve Cambridge Railway Station, Somersham or Hills Road/Ramsey Road in St Ives.  Some morning and afternoon journeys will start and finish at Fenstanton, providing residents with their first Busway service to Cambridge and a Sunday service."

This is part of a major shake-up of Whippet local bus services. Anyone interested in the "bigger picture" will want to read this announcement.

Fenstanton was, for a short while, served by a Stagecoach "feeder" bus to St Ives Park and Ride.

The new Whippet timetable for Fenstanton can be viewed at  http://www.go-whippet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Busway-C-timetable-for-web-2-Sept-2017.pdf

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Speeding?

According to a report on the BBC website Cambridge City Councillor Zoe O'Connell (Trumpington, Liberal Democrat) has purchased a speed gun, which she has used to demonstrate that some buses are exceeding a 15mph speed limit in the vicinity of Cambridge Railway Station.

From the accompanying video report, it seems that the speed gun was used in the area just south of the Hills Road bridge (close to the site of last week's accident, therefore). If memory serves, this is not a public highway, so breaking the speed limit here would not be a regular traffic offence. Rather, the limit was applied by the County Council to a busway section operating on County Council land, and as such any speeding - if proven - would be a matter between the operator and the County Council (and presumably covered by the operating manual that controls so much of what happens on the Busway). If anyone has more definite information on the legal situation, please share it!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Accident south of Cambridge railway station

A Whippet single decker, operating the University's "Universal" contract, was involved in an accident earlier this afternoon on the Trumpington stretch of Busway, just after the entrance to the guided section south of Cambridge railway station. Reports are still coming in - you might want to follow this Cambridge News link for more information (and for more up-to-date information). It seems no other vehicle was involved.

Update 22:15, 21 June
Latest information from Whippet is that the driver swerved to avoid two cyclists. What they were doing in a location that such action was required is not immediately clear from reports.

Update, 11 July
The BBC reports that the Whippet driver involved in this incident has been sacked for speeding. The report doesn't indicate whether speeding was the sole cause of the accident. Follow this link for more information:

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Closure This Weekend


This sign is at Fendrayton Lakes crossing, as you go towards St. Ives.

Stagecoach Updates say:

"Due to repairs being made to the track, all Busway services are unable to serve Fen Drayton Lakes on the 17th & 18th of June.
10-15 minutes will be added onto the journey time for the diversion in both directions. However, extra buses and drivers will be used to minimise the delay although slight delays are expected to occur.

We apologise for any inconveniences caused."

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Stagecoach R Service

The Stagecoach R Service (Trumpingtion to Cambridge Station) has returned to a 15 minute service at peak times.  Not everybody is happy. The service now diverts to Cambridge Biomedical Campus, (not necessarily picking up or dropping off any passengers) and this delay means early morning commuters are now missing their direct trains to London.   You can read the story here in the Cambridge News.

Bollards on maintenance / cycle track

Controversy over bollards is not new, but in recent weeks some of the bollards along the maintenance / cycle track have been changed.

It appears this has only been at the major road junctions, and only the centre of the three bollards has been changed. Some at the lesser crossings, just as dangerous, have not (yet?) been changed. 

At Milton Road junction
Note the old bollard remains in front of the new one. Both it, and the other 2 are lowered.

At Fendrayton Lakes - looking away from the junction towards Swavesey
Note the reflector is white.

Fendrayton Lakes - same bollard looking towards junction.
Note the reflector is red.

The bollards appear the same as the ones on the new busway extension to to Cambridge North station reported on this blog here,... except for the reflectors. There you will see not one, but three bollards with orange reflectors on both sides. The new ones have red reflectors one side and white the other.

Why this difference? Maybe(?) red means 'Danger' - you are approaching a junction, and white means you have left it.

Reflectors are designed to reflect light back in exactly to where it came from. For this reason - they are most effective for cyclists if their light is near their eyes - e.g. a head mounted light.
They are much less effective for cyclists with handlebar mounted lights - especially if their lights are thoughtfully dipped to prevent dazzling oncoming traffic.

However, there is a stud light just in front of the bollards, (I can't remember what colour), which does not rely on reflecting light from the cyclist.

But why only one new style bollard?
- maybe one is enough (and the others will be left down)?
- maybe to leave enough room for the Multihog to grit the track without having to stop so often?

Anybody have any more information on the reasons behind this change?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cambridge North Railway Station has opened


Beautiful spring day for the opening of Cambridge's new station.



The A bus to St Ives about to depart from the new bus stop outside the station earlier today. It's linked to Milton Road by 500 metres of bus-only road, with a short length of guide rail at each end. Through buses to/from St Ives only run at certain times of the day, but at other times St Ives-Cambridge North passengers connect at Longstanton. The bus journey between St Ives and Cambridge North is quicker than that between St Ives and Huntingdon Station, so it offers a viable alternative route to/from London.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Update from Stagecoach about the revised busway services

Stagecoach have just sent out an update message by email which summarises the changes to the busway timetable resulting from the opening of Cambridge north Station. You can read it at this link .

Thursday, 18 May 2017

New timetable showing busway buses serving Cambridge North station

The new timetable, which starts on Sunday 21 May, for busway services that will be calling at Cambridge North Station has been posted on Cambridgeshire County Council's busway website http://www.thebusway.info/ .  This includes all journeys on routes A, B, D, N and R.

Click on this link http://thebusway.info/pdfs/tt/AB-may2017.pdf

The timetable is also available on Stagecoach's website at https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.amazonaws.com/Timetables/East/HYBRIDS/The%20Busway%20Complete%20-%20HYBRID.pdf

The pdf shows the current timetable ( i.e. valid until 20 May) followed by the new timetable ( but no start is shown on the pages listing new services D or N and revised services A, B and R).



Monday, 8 May 2017

Train timetable for Cambridge North Station from 21 May 2017

Timetables for the new Cambridge North Station, which opens on 21 May,  and connects to the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, can be viewed on the Abellio Greater Anglia website  at https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/sites/default/files/assets/download_ct/ga1705_web_regional_table_10.pdf 

and on the Great Northern Rail website at https://www.greatnorthernrail.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/timetables .

Guided buses serving Cambridge North Station

Timetables for the guided buses that will serve Cambridge North Station from 21 May can be viewed at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/buses/bus-timetables/

There will be two completely new routes:

Service  D will run between Cambridge and St Ives via Cambridge North during peak periods Monday-Friday only - to Cambridge in the morning, and from Cambridge in the evening. Some of these journeys will start from or continue to some of teh towns and villages north and west of St Ives.

Service N will link Longstanton Park & Ride and Cambridge North throughout most of the the day Monday-Saturday. A few morning journeys will start from St Ives, and a few evening journeys will continue to St Ives.

Two existing routes will be amended to serve Cambridge North at certain times:

A few Service A journeys towards St Ives will serve Cambridge North, Monday to Friday early evening. Service A will run half hourly between Drummer Street and St Ives via Cambridge North on Sundays.

Citi 2 will serve Cambridge North daily.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Bus route changes on Sunday 7th May

I've received this message about changes to the busway service B during part of Sunday 7th May:

Disruption to Busway on Sunday 7th May 2017
Dear Busway user
Due to an event taking place in Cambridge on Sunday 7th May, the Busway B will need to use a different route between Histon and Cambridge between approximately 1130 and 1320
During this time we will use the "A" route, which means we will not be able to serve any of the Orchard Park Stops, Jesus Lane and Shire Hall.
Customers in Orchard Park should use the Busway stops at CRC during the closure. Customers can also use the Citi 1 from Kings Hedges Road to/from Central Cambridge or the Citi 8 from Histon Road to/from Central Cambridge/Histon
Normal service is expected before 1130 and after 1320
Please note that other Stagecoach services within Cambridge will also be affected. Please click HERE for details
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause due to the factors outside our control
Best wishes
The Busway Team

Friday, 28 April 2017

Timetable changes from 21 May - mostly Cambridge North-related

As anticipated, there are various timetable changes planned in connection with the opening of the Cambridge North railway station on 21 May. New timetables can be found on Traveline and the Stagecoach website, but there's no written description of the changes on the latter's "Latest Updates" page. Here's my attempt to summarise for you (although perhaps it would have been simpler just to wait for Stagecoach's own write-up!).

The easiest to describe is the new route "N", which runs Cambridge City Centre-Longstanton (and reverse), Mon-Sat only, and via Cambridge North. There are three journeys in each direction that extend to/from St Ives. The service runs every 20 mins from around 0700 to 1900 (since this service operates out of the Fenstanton depot, the earliest departures are from St Ives, and the latest from Cambridge). Within Cambridge, buses will do an anti-clockwise look - Emmanuel St, St Andrew's St, Gonville Place, Parkside, Emmanuel St. Note that this service does NOT serve the main railway station in Cambridge.

There is another new service "D" (not to be confused with the now defunct Whippet route "D"). This operates a rush-hour service from St Ives to Cambridge Railway Station (via Cambridge North) in the morning, and the reverse in the afternoon. There are 7 or 8 departures each day, Mon-Fri only, but significantly fewer during school holidays. However, the extent to which this is genuinely a "new" service is arguable, since it seems to incorporate some journeys that were formerly running as "A". So it's probably best to consider the "D" in conjunction with the revised "A". It's impossible to summarise the changes overall in this context, so I suggest eager readers simply have a look at the timetables and see how their journeys are affected.

One very specific change to the "A" is that the last three St Ives-bound departures, Mon-Sat, will divert via Cambridge North. For those heading out into the countryside, this is scheduled to add 2 minutes to your journey.

Sundays: more significant changes are coming here. The current "B" service on Sunday operates every 20 minutes. This will be reduced to a half-hourly frequency, with half-hourly "A" services (via Cambridge North) being added to the timetable. So an overall increase in frequency, with half of the journeys running via Cambridge North. Passengers from Histon and beyond will realise that the "A" is a quicker way to make it to Cambridge City Centre than the roundabout route the "B" takes (it can be quicker to take the Citi 8 from Shire Hall to Histon than the B).

Finally, the "R" continues to make its circuit around the station development - in from Trumpington via the Busway, then Station Rd, Hills Rd and back to the Busway. Rather late in the day, Stagecoach has decided to add the Hills Rd stop (opposite the Botanic Garden - opposite, indeed, the old Eastern Counties garage for those who were around in those days) to the schedule.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Driverless minibuses - feasibility study funded

According to a report posted yesterday (13 April) on the Local Transport Today website (LTT is "the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers"):

"The government has awarded £31m to 24 connected and autonomous vehicle projects.
One project to receive funds is the Cambridge autonomous bus system feasibility study, which could lead to driverless minibuses operating over part of the Cambridgeshire guided busway."

So it looks as though one of the Smart Cambridge projects is going to receive government backing to evaluate its feasibility.

If you want to learn more about what Smart Cambridge is investigating, there's a detailed Cambridge News report to answer all your questions. (Admittedly, I'm guessing this is the same project as the one that HMG is investing in, although in the 4 March CN report it says quite clearly that the feasibility study is already being funded - by the City Deal and Cambridge Ahead. Puzzling.)

Friday, 7 April 2017

Cambridge North

As most readers of this blog will be aware, the new Cambridge North railway station is due to open for scheduled services on May 20th. And we can expect a number of bus services to serve this station, including those using the new extension to the Guided Busway.

Stagecoach has submitted proposals to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency for changes to the existing registration of the A and B services (which are registered as a single service). They also seem to be proposing a new service "N", to operate from St Ives Park & Ride to Central Cambridge - this will run Monday-Saturday only. Unfortunately, there's no public access to the actual timetables submitted for approval, and there's no further information to be found as yet on the Stagecoach website. The Cambridge Independent has a story, mostly dealing with Northstowe, and giving very little further information - follow this link for that item.

Whippet hasn't, to date, submitted any request to change its existing Route C timetable. (Route D was abandoned some years ago.)

Readers interested in the actual station might find this Cambridge News article rewarding.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Car Blocking Addenbrooke's Spur

Approx 16:00 this afternoon Adenbrooke's spur of the busway (heading away from the hospital) was blocked by a car that had got almost to the end of the spur, and then fallen down between the tracks. There were 2 Guided buses stuck behind it.

Stagecoach say buses from hospital to Trumpington and Station being diverted by road, and not able to server Foster Road.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Bus stop for Houghton village

Houghton village is situated about 2 miles west of St Ives. The guided service B does not call at Houghton because there are no bus stops on the A1123. Local residents have been campaigning for several years for bus stops to be provided. That campaign is soon to be realised with design work currently under way for new bus stop lay-bys, a pedestrian crossong point and real time bus information.


Hunts Post 22 March 2017 page 13.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Busway route diversions - Sunday 5 March 2017 until 13.00

Because of the Cambridge Half Marathon, Busway route B will be diverted until 13.00  on Sunday 5th March.

Buses will be unable to serve Shire Hall, Round Church, Jesus Lane and New Square.

Passengers should use Drummer Street Bay 12.  Full details here.

Whippet's route C will also be diverted and there will be times when buses cannot serve stops at Mitcham’s Corner and New Square. Click here to download a PDF showing the alternative bus stops



Friday, 13 January 2017

Cars on busway

Regular readers may have noticed that the blog hasn't been consistently reporting incursions onto the Busway by cars and other vehicles (or by their drivers). As fast as one can type, there's another one - it's hard to keep up! And after the first couple, there's not much one can say...

One during last night's rush hour on the Orchard Park section of the "B" route (close to the Orchard Park West stop) brings the total to six since the beginning of December.

Handily, a story in the Cambridge News, published yesterday afternoon, summarises the consequences for drivers (who are, after all, breaking the law). In addition to any damage to their vehicle, the driver has to pay the County Council for removal of the vehicle. In addition, they receive three points on their licence.

The Cambridge News story was published before the latest incursion. There's a separate CN report on that incident.