Friday, 21 September 2018

Busway diversions this weekend 23 September


Stagecoach have announced that, due to the part closure of the Busway Track between Longstanton and Oakington, their busway service will be diverted. No stops will be missed but buses will be delayed due to the extra travel time required.
On Sunday buses will be departing Cambridge 8 minutes earlier than stated on the timetable.
Customers are asked to allow extra travel time to there journeys
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/service-updates/serviceupdatesarticle?SituationId=ID-20/09/2018-09:19:29:100

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Busway accident - one dead

There are reports of an accident on the stretch of the Busway close to Long Road in Cambridge at around 16.45 this afternoon (13 September). The latest news from the BBC is that one male has died. From these initial reports it appears to have been a collision between a bus and a pedestrian, but this has not been confirmed. [Edited at 19.50 - Cambridgeshire Live, quoting the Police, is reporting that the dead person was a cyclist. The cyclist's gender has not yet been confirmed.]

Doubtless there will be much more in the media on this incident in due course. Right now (19.40) here are the stories as prepared by Cambridgeshire Live (rolling updates) and BBC News.

Swavesey Busway Stop

There’s a notice up at Swavesey Busway Stop saying that it will be closed on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September, presumably for trackworks on the busway. Passengers are advised that buses will be diverted to use the nearby bus stops on Over Road. Presumably this means that journeys will take longer, and may result in the timetable becoming chaotic. So allow extra time for your journey.

A14 road closures weekend of 14-17 September

A major road closure on the A14 will mean that Bar Hill buses will be unable to operate along Huntingdon Road.

Instead a shuttle bus service will connect Bar Hill with Longstanton Park & Ride.

Citi5 will run between Bar Hill and Swavesey.

Details here.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Changes to Stagecoach busway Routes A and N

I was wondering why I hadn’t seen a route N bus for a while. and had noticed that some Route A buses in the middle of the day were diverting via Cambridge North Station and calling at all bus stops along Milton Road.

It turns out that for some weeks, the N has been ‘temporarily’ discontinued. This comes as no surprise as it never had more than a handful of people on it, and the fact that it served Cambridge North was scarcely advertised.

Departure sheets posted at bus stops don’t indicate which buses serve Cambridge North.

The timetable for the A,B,N and R services valid from 29th July (here) shows the N as still running, but includes an extra mini timetable,  after the ‘village’ timetable pages, for the variant As which replace the N and starting from 14 August.

Today, while cycling, I stopped at Longstanton Park & Ride. In the Cambridge-bound waiting shelter a paper copy of this extra mini timetable has been pasted up, but no information that the N no longer runs.

What a shambles! First of all, Stagecoach fails to provide a frequent service between St Ives and Cambridge North. Then it extends the N to St Ives P&R. Then it replaces the N with an occasional diverted A soon to be re-named as the D.

Why don’t Stagecoach run every A to/from Cambridge North? That way, St Ives would have a much improved access to trains to London, Ely, Norwich and Kings Lynn.

Nor is Stagecoach providing a viable service from the northern suburbs to Cambridge North. OK, the Citi2 goes to Cambridge North. But how about extending the Citi1 and the 9/X9 to Cambridge North as well?

The new A,B,D,R timetable, valid from 16 September, can be viwed here here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Busway journeys only half what was anticipated

An article on the Hunts Post describes the numbers of people using the guided busway as ‘disappointing’. The projection of 20,000 passengers a day hasn’t been reached - with only 11,000 a day being recorded. One reason for this shortfall is undoubtedly the fact the the new town at Northstowe has not yet been completed, indeed it’s only just started. Even so, usage has increased by 8.7% since last year, and this was hailed  a ‘success’ compared with declining bus usage elsewhere.

See https://www.huntspost.co.uk/news/guided-bus-questions-over-numbers-1-5650934

Friday, 17 August 2018

Timetable changes - 16 September

Stagecoach have announced a series of changes to the A and N services from 16 September. The new timetable isn't currently available, either from Stagecoach or Traveline. Here's the Stagecoach announcement:

Service N will no longer operate. The peak time N's will be renamed to Route D and have been re-timed. These will continue to serve all stops along Milton Road. The Off-Peak N's will be replaced by a diversion of the Route A once an hour via Cambridge North Station. These will also be renamed to Route D and will also serve all stops along Milton Road.
In order to maintain a 15 minute service on Route A, all Route A journeys have been re-timed between Trumpington Park & Ride and the Science Park in both directions. The Buckden journey in the afternoon will now be split at St Ives bus station. This is to enable customers who finish work at 5 at CB1 to catch a later bus and change in St Ives as these changes will see the A's depart earlier. The last A's to/from Royston are renumbered D's.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Passenger numbers - good? bad? could be better?

This morning's (16 August) meeting of the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee is due to discuss the Finance and Performance Report to the end of June 2018. Now, before you nod off, or navigate to videos of cats doing cute things, I should point out that this is of some relevance to the Busway.

According to the report's appendix (documents are at item 7 of the meeting agenda if you want to follow along), the 12-month rolling total of passngers on the Busway to May 2018 is 4.1 million. In May, 351,373 passenger journeys were made. Since its opening in August 2011, some 23.7 million journeys have been made.

Now, it's a little unclear whether these statistics include journeys made on Busway routes when operating on regular roads (most of Whippet's "U" service, for example; or Stagecoach's trips north of St Ives). But regadless of that sort of complication when talking about statistics, Edward Leigh, of Smarter Cambridge Transport, has been looking more closely at the figures and has noticed that the current usage is only just half of what was projected at the time the Busway was first proposed.

You can read more about this in a Cambridge News report. And Edward Leigh was also interviewed by Trevor Dann for Cambridge 105 (yesterday, I think), and that interview (covering more than just passenger statistics, admittedly) has been made available as a podcast. And is worth a listen. You can find that podcast here.

Busway driver guilty of speeding

Those with a long memory may recall an accident on the Busway in February 2016 (and if you don't, here's a link to our blogpost). The driver concerned was recently given a 12-week suspended prison sentence for speeding at the time of the crash. According to a Cambridge News report the bus was travelling at 53mph in a 30mph zone at the time of the accident, whilst the driver was reading a time duty card.

You can read the full Cambridge News report here.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Busway Service A

On Cambridgeshire County Council's website you can find maps of all the bus routes in the county that show all stops. Stagecoach's route A, which started life 7 years ago as a simple route between St Ives Park & Ride and Trumpington, has now reached a new level of complication, with numerous peak-hour branch routes.  You need to look at the map to fully appreciate it.

Click here for the web version.



Sunday, 29 July 2018

More details on busway timetable changes from 29 July 2018

The new timetable can be viewed on http://thebusway.info/pdfs/tt/ABNR.pdf

The new timetable is still not on the Stagecoach website, as at 29 July.

And a warning to passengers joining the busway at Drummer Street Bay 12, that the timetable poster displayed there is very out of date.

Once a day the service B operates via Houghton (18.55 Hinchingbrooke Hospital to St Ives).
In the other direction the 06.26 and 06.56 service A from St Ives to Hinchingbrooke call at Houghton.

Cambridge North continues to be served Mon-Sat by the hourly service N. Stagecoach seem to be missing an opportunity to provide a frequent direct service between St Ives and Cambridge North.

The Royston extensions of service A seems likely to introduce even more possibilities for late running on the core A route between Trumpington and St Ives.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Timetable changes from 29 July

As mentioned in an earlier post, there are to be significant changes to Busway timetables coming up at the end of July. It's now clear that these will affect most Stagecoach services.

They stem, in one way or another, from the need to accommodate the addition of journeys to and from Royston on Busway A (as perviously reported). But that has a knock-on effect on Route B times.

In addition, Route A buses that currently terminate at RAF Wyton will now terminate at Hill Rise during the day. RAF Wyton will be served by Route B on Peterborough and Huntingdon rail station journeys. Some peak time A buses will continue to serve RAF Wyton.

There are too many changes to be able to provide meaningful detail here. Fortunately, the new times are available on Traveline (but not - at time of writing - on the Stagecoach website).

Monday, 11 June 2018

Separating buses from cyclists and pedestrians

At a meeting of the Cambridge South Area Committee on 4 June, Councillor Katie Thornburrow proposed the erection of fencing along the stretch between Trumpington Park & Ride and Addenbrooke's Hospital to help keep cyclists and pedestrians separate from buses.

A brief report of the relevant part of that meeting has appeared in the Cambridge Independent.

UPDATE 0940 on 11 June: Less than an hour after I posted the above, the Cambridge News is reporting some sort of collision involving a pedestrian and a guided bus, close to Long Road. Inevitably the details are somewhat sketchy at this point.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Removing charges leads to greater use of P&R car parks!

The data wranglers at Smart Cambridge have been taking a look at the parking figures at the Park & Ride sites since charges were removed at the beginning of April. I'm sure you'll find this hard to believe, but usage has increased. Yes, really!

So far, the only site relevant to the Busway that they've investigated is Trumpington. The increase there is lower than at Babraham Road - as this Smart Cambridge post explains, this is because Trumpington operates at closer to maximum capacity for some of the time, so the scope for increased usage is diminished.

What the data cannot tell us - this could only be determined by a survey of vehicle users - is whether the additional parking results from drivers who would previously have carried on into the city (clearly a "good thing"), or from those who now undertake the first part of their journey by car or van, where previously it would have been entirely by public transport. If it were to be the latter, then - perversely - the removal of parking charges could actually have led to an increase in the number of vehicles driving into the Cambridge suburbs. But we have no way of knowing.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Route A additional services from 28 July

Although these proposals haven't yet been submitted to the Traffic Commissioners, there are changes afoot at the southern end of Route A.

From 28 July there will be new Busway A services to and from Trumpington Park and Ride
Two new services will run from the Park and Ride at 06:02 and 06:17, and there will also be a new bus route to and through the biomedical campus from Royston, also stopping at Melbourn, Shepreth, Foxton and Harston (separate to the existing 26 bus service which currently routes to the City). This new bus route will initially run hourly and will be an extension to the Busway A to/from Trumpington Park and Ride.
The new 08:03 Busway A service from Longstanton will now be a single-deck bus, which means it can travel all the way to the biomedical campus as opposed to terminating at Cambridge rail station. 

Cambridge Area Bus Users

The inaugural general meeting of  Cambridge Area Bus Users takes place on 2 June.at 14.00 in Cambridge Cemtral Library. It's open to all, but it seems from the announcement as though the organisers would like you to say if you're planning to attend (presumably so they have some idea of numbers).

More information on CABU Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBGbusUsers

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Whippet "C" special offer and competition

Between 28 May and 3 June, Whippet is offering unlimited travel on Route C for £10, covering the whole week.

And they're also running a competition, linked to that promotion. So if you want to win a bottle of Jack Daniels...

The whole thing runs under a "Tenner C" label ("Tennessee" - geddit??).

More details here.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Another cyclist attacked

The Cambridge News has reported another attack on a cyclist on the bridleway/maintenance track, this time in the section between Addenbrooke's and Trumpington. The attack took place on April 30.

There was at least one previous attack on the southern section of the Busway - this blog reported on one in January.

UPDATE 4 May, 16.35: Another attack along the same stretch has just been reported. This time it involved a pedestrian, and in daylight. According to the Cambridge News report, the assailants were three men riding Ofo hire bikes.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Unplanned diversion - overrunning works?

The Busway was closed during this morning's rush hour south of Cambridge Railway Station. Does anyone have any further information? I've checked the County Council, Stagecoach and Whippet Twitter feeds, Facebook and web pages, and none report any problems. The driver of one bus was clearly unaware, so it seems like a last-minute thing.

My guess is that it's "overrunning engineering works" (a disease transmitted by the neighbouring railway line, perhaps...).

Friday, 6 April 2018

Busway diversions - weekends in April

More diversions coming up! Starting tomorrow (Saturday 7 April)!!

This weekend: between Cambridge Railway Station and Trumpington Park and Ride
14-15 April: in Histon, between Park Road and Station Road (St Ives-bound buses will serve a stop in Station Road)

Further information (although there isn't much to be said) is available on the County Council website. (Annoyingly, there's no link to this announcement on the County Council's own dedicated Busway page - and the announcement itself appears, from the embedded metadata, to have been posted as late as 2115 on 6 April - contradicting the displayed date of 5 April, and leaving it rather late to warn passengers)


Thursday, 5 April 2018

March diversions - what was done?

Stephen Lawrence asked - in a comment to the 9 March posting on that month's Busway diversions - if anyone knew what work was carried out. And lo, as chance would have it, correspondent RichardC provided some very interesting information about the two weekends of work at Histon, together with a number of further questions! If anyogone has further information, please post a comment or email the blog at: buswayblog@btinternet.com

Here's what RichardC reports:

"Quick update on closures over weekends of 17/18 and 24/25 March.  On the first weekend it appears that five beam sets to south-east of Histon overbridge (Bridge Road) were lifted and realigned.  On the second weekend the work concentrated on the area around the Cambridge-bound stop to the west of the bridge.
 
Attached image shows activity in the afternoon of 24 March. 


Lifting frames with hydraulic jacks, apparently under supervision of Ekspan of Sheffield who supplied the original close-tolerance bearing pads.
 

Clearly lifting the beam set is not easy.  At this location, buses will have braked to a standstill at the stop, then accelerated away.  In the mornings the buses will be full almost to capacity, so maybe the beams have shifted, and jammed tightly together?  Surprising to see puddles on the guideway, on what should be a very flat, level surface.  Also at a similar point on the maintenance track.  Wonder what is causing that?"

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Busway cycle track flooded


The busway cycle track isflooded between St Ives Park & Ride and Fen Drayton. This is due to high water levels in the river Great Ouse.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Easter timetables on busway

Stagecoach will be running a Sunday bus service on the guided busway on Good Friday (30 March) and Easter Monday (2 April). Normal service on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

See http://thebusway.info/news.shtml

New timetable starting Sunday 1st April 2018

Stagecoach have publishedtheir new busway timetable, to come into operation on Sunday 1st April. Details at http://thebusway.info/pdfs/tt/ABNR-april2018.pdf

Friday, 9 March 2018

Busway diversions - weekends in March

Details have now been posted of this month's weekend diversions on the Busway.

In summary:

9-10 March: Between Longstanton and Oakington. But no changes to the stops served.
17-18 March: Between Histon and Milton Road, and with changes to pick up and set down locations
24-25 March: Between Histon and Milton Road, and with changes to pick up and set down locations

The maintenance track remains open at all times.

All services are affected. It's reasonable to assume that these diversions will involve extended journey times around the blockages, but as there's no mention of them on either the Stagecoach or Whippet websites, there's no further information about these. Unlike engineering works on the railways, the bus companies never issue revised timetables, so if you need to be somewhere at a specific time (a railway station, for example!), you're left to do the calculations yourself.

Further details are now available (at rather short notice) on the County Council website.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Autonomous vehicles - £3.2m awarded for trial

This follows up my 17 October 2017 posting, and again uses information from Business Weekly (not, I admit, my go-to publication for Cambridge news...).

The government has recently announced awards totalling £22.4m to 22 connected and autonomous vehicle (CAVs) R&D projects, of which £3.2m is coming to Cambridge. This money will be used to build and trial six 10-15-seater self-driving shuttles to operate on the southern (Trumpington) section of the existing guided busway, initially for an out-of-hours service, when ordinary buses aren’t running.

The details are a little vague - at least in the published reports. Although one of the strengths of this section of the busway is - for the purposes of a trial - that it is segregated from general traffic, the trial is supposed to serve the Biomedical Campus, where busway vehicles share road space with hoi polloi. And emergency vehicles.

Prototypes are due to be tested in late summer 2019, with the first paying passengers boarding a year later. It's unclear if the first few months of public service are part of the trial (in which case funding is already guaranteed) or are to be part of the County Council's "transport" portfolio.

The vehicles will be developed by Aurrigo, part of the RDM Group. This follows the same company's involvement in the earlier trial using a 4-seater autonomous "pod".






Free parking to be reinstated next month

Ever since it was introduced in May 2015 - no, let's be honest, it was an issue from the moment it was first announced - the parking charge at the Busway Park & Ride sites has proved controversial. There are many who felt it was counter-productive, hostile to the idea that the County Council should be encouraging people out of their cars and onto public transport.

At last - but in no small measure due to the existence of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, perhaps (it has money!) - the charge is to be removed, and free parking reinstated. This is due to happen on 1 April, and is presumably no April Fool.

The Cambridge Network has more details. Apparently,  according to one prominent councillor: "the removal of the £1 parking fee [is] a positive move to continue to make the Park & Ride the first transport choice for people coming into the city." Some might ask why this argument wasn't more energetically made at the time of the charge's introduction.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Cambridge Half Marathon - Sunday 4th March

Stagecoach has published an update on itsCambridge bus routes, many of which will be diverted on Sunday 4th March, due to road closures for the Cambridge Half Marathon.

 Bus B will be unable to serve Shire Hall, Jesus Lane/Round Church Street and New Square befor 1pm.
Towards St. Ives buses will serve the first stop on Histon Road (The Grapes). Customers in Central Cambridge should use Drummer Street bay 12. Towards Cambridge buses will serve the first stop on Victoria Road instead of Shire Hall

https://www.stagecoachbus.com/service-updates/serviceupdatesarticle?SituationId=ID-24/02/2017-14:31:57:474

Whippet bus route C will also be diverted. See http://www.go-whippet.co.uk/diversions-and-known-disruptions/

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Busway diversions - weekends in February

A series of closures of the Busway has been announced for February. Details are as follows:

3/4 February - Fen Drayton Lakes Stop - Buses will be unable to serve this stop - No Alternative is avaliable
10/11 February - Swavesey - To be confirmed
17/18 February - Longstanton - Delays of 10-15 minutes - No stops missed
Further closures are expected, and details will be avaliable in due course
Apologies for the late notification.

One of the County Council's news releases (there were two, posted in different places) on this weekend's closure - and one which only went out on 3 February - refers to the "request stop Holywell Ferry" [sic]. Curiously, the corresponding announcement on the Busway web pages refers to it by its correct name. Puzzling.

The next two closures/diversions have yet to be confirmed by the County Council - so should, I guess, be marked "subject to alteration".

UPDATED 8 February: The County Council has now published its plans for the remainder of the month - and provided an explanation as to why the work is being carried out. Here's that information:
https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/weekend-guided-busway-repairs-planned/

Friday, 26 January 2018

Speed monitoring happens - but only in Trumpington

This is a follow-up to a January 4 post. I said at the end of that post: "I suspect Cllr O'Connell will be persisting with her questions." And that turned out to be an accurate assumption, because a few days later Cllr O'Connell asked the County Council to undertake an internal review of its handling of her original FoI request.


Well, the results of that review have now been posted - and have already been covered in the local media (I saw a piece on the late-evening Look East yesterday).


Two main points gave rise to Cllr O'Connell's request.


1. Non-disclosure of details relating to the portable camera. It turns out the reason for any non-disclosure is that the portable camera "has not yet been utilised". Readers with long memories - an interest in the Busway is assumed, of course! - will recall that the County Council acquired a speed gun (or "portable camera")  back in August, at a reported cost of £17,000 (covered in a post of 12 September). That's the one that hasn't been used since. (Although I think it was unpacked so that it could be demonstrated to the BBC, before being put back.)


2. Non-disclosure of data [about speeds recorded]. This relates to the information recorded from fixed cameras on the Trumpington stretch of the Busway. The County Council has now released this information.


The full exchange on this FoI request, including the records of speeds logged by the cameras, is at this URL.


Now, according to a BBC News report, "The council said the portable camera had not been needed because it had no evidence of speeding since fixed cameras were put on parts of the route." But this ignores the other places on the Busway where speed limits are applied and where there are no fixed cameras. And the whole Busway is subject to a maximum line speed, which means that the use of a portable device would be justified on any guided section (although it's clearly impossible to exceed the maximum speed in a number of places, even if one were to try).

The County Council spokesman also came out with this rather puzzling statement: "Since cameras were installed along the Trumpington route, we haven't recorded any evidence of speeding therefore the portable camera hasn't been needed." I've had more success trying to make sense of the relationship between the various films in the Star Wars franchise than I had with that! Apparently, if drivers observe the limit in the Trumpington section that means they're never going to speed anywhere else. Forgive me if I need to go and lie down whilst I work out the logic behind that.

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.