Saturday, 21 September 2019

Yet another weekend, Yet another diversion

This weekend, a different diversion for the A, D and Citi 8 bus services due to the work on Histon A14 roundabout.

Details are here

However, I would say that the details for the replacement services are, as usual with Stagecoach, vague.

Take this shuttle ‘along the A route between Cambridge City Centre and Orchard Park’. What times does it run and why isn’t it arranged to allow passengers travelling to St Ives to change at Cambridge North. Surely that would make more sense. Specific times for the ‘shuttle’ are needed.

Last night I travelled out of Cambridge on the 22.25 departure for St Ives. After picking up and dropping passengers at the Histon Road stop near Orchard Park, we then diverted through Orchard Park West, Orchard Park East, CRC and Science Park (non-stop, of course), then out along the A10 to the Milton Recycling facility, and in through Impington( a narrow twisty. road), to rejoin the normal route at Histon. This added an extra 15 minutes to the journey time.

Do Stagecoach create a revised timetable to account for these scheduled delays, or do they simply allow the bus service to become chaotic?

In my observations, they generally allow the buses to become chaotic.

I also take issue with Stagecoach over the lack of public information at bus stops about the diversions, particularly the effect this has on travel to/from the Orchard Park stops because of the contra flow route swap between the A/d and B services.

Train companies are penalised for this delays like this. Why not buses?

Monday, 9 September 2019

Another weekend, another diversion

The title of last week's post was rhetorical. For lo, another weekend closure and diversion looms.

On September 14 and 15 the Busway will be closed between St Ives and Swavesey. The nature of the diversionary route - the lack of public roads (!) - means that the Fen Drayton Lakes stop cannot be served at all.

No details have been given of the revised timetable that will result from this quite extensive diversion.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Is there no end to the diversions?

SO,...yet again there's a Busway closure this weekend - this one's between Oakington and Longstanton and will last all day Saturday and Sunday.

The County Council's announcement claims that "all services will be running as normal", but as the diversionary route takes several minutes longer than the direct Busway route, it's hard to take this statement at all seriously. Indeed, one wonders why the County Council feel it's necessary to make this sort of false statement Wouldn't passengers - or those who haven't given up in disgust following a summer of closures and diversions - rather be given accurate, reliable and, above all, truthful information, rather than this misleading spin? Feel free to offer your thoughts in the Comments!

NB: the closure applies equally to buses, cyclists and pedestrians. And, presumably, horses as well.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Histon-Orchard Park footpath reopens, but Busway closed until 4th Nov

I was very surprised this morning, when I discovered a 75m length on the busway had been concreted over - to allow bikes and pedestrians to walk along it, under the A14 bridge!

It's clear a major delay to the bridge-widening works has occurred. There are piles installed at both overbridges, but there's much more to do.  In a update published here on 28th Aug, the County announced the busway would now reopen on the morning of Nov 4th.

In the interim, plants have grown up about 1m, including some substantial trees, and it looks rather like it did before, like an abandoned railway line. Is this the first incidence of a busway being concreted over? ;-)

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Further closures 23rd - 26th Aug and 30th Aug-2nd Sep

Swavesey Parish Council website has announced busway closures the next 2 weekends between Swavesey and Longstanton - "In order to carry out defect correction works"

Not clear whether the maintenance track / bridleway / cycle path will be closed or not.

Stagecoach are also listing both these closures.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Further closure, 17-18 August

Another weekend, another closure. And another closure with little advance warning.

The Busway will be closed between Park Lane and Station Road, Histon. All day Saturday and Sunday. As a result, the northbound stop can't be served - outbound buses will pick up at Station Road Stores instead.

Here's a link to the County Council announcement.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Additional Busway closure August 10-11

Not content with the summer-long closure of the Busway between Histon and Orchard Park, this coming weekend (August 10-11) sees the closure extended to the Science Park. This means that Stagecoach A and D services won't be able to serve the Orchard Park, CRC and Science Park stops. No alternative is being provided for Orchsrd Park passengers (other than the existing "diversion" stops that service B uses on Histon Road). Alternatives for the other stops are on Kings Hedges Road (near the CRC) and at the Golden Hind (for the Science Park).

Here's the Stagecoach announcement relating to this latest closure.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Erroneous info on County Website - showing Swavesey-Longstanton Busway Closed

This page:

Is showing pdf maps with buses using the Swavesey-Longstanton road, not the busway. Also, many of the route A,B maps do not work (come up as blank).

Can somebody make the County aware? The maps are also not showing the Orchard Park - Histon closure

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Whippet leave the Busway (again)

It's been reported on the Anglia & Thames Valley Bus Forum that Whippet will be withdrawing their P service from 23 August. Apparently, it was only on "trial", and hasn't attracted enough custom to justify the three buses and drivers that it took to operate.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Busway closure/diversion period extended

My post of 17 June has been overtaken by events. Firstly, the County Council website did eventually get round to advertising the closure and associated diversion (but not until the day they started - so NO ADVANCE WARNING!). More importantly, what was previously two separate closure periods has now been transformed into one extended closure. But just when the closure ends is a matter of some confusion. According to the County Council the closure now carries on, uninterrupted, until 29 August. According to Stagecoach, the closure continues until the commencement of services on 1 September. According to the Cambridgeshire Live website, the closure is due to continue until 4 September. My interpretation of these varying dates is that the Highways Agency cannot be certain when the bridge works that are responsible for this closure will actually finish. All we know for certain is that they will continue for the next few weeks! Be prepared...

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Stagecoach consultation

It's possible there are readers who aren't aware that Stagecoach East has, over the past few months, put in place an almost completely fresh management team. And they want to hear from Busway users - which is nice!

So from 1-21 July, Stagecoach will be asking the public for their views on its Busway services.

Here's a link to the announcement, from where you can access the survey.

As with all such surveys, there are prizes to tempt you to take part. But those who read this blog are unlikely to need such temptations to be persuaded to offer their opinions, I suspect...

Monday, 24 June 2019

Busway concrete - defence against melting tarmac?

As Britain and the Continent prepares for an early summer heatwave, I remembered the ruts gouged out by buses on city roads in previous years, particularly at tight turns. And I wondered if this could be a unique strength of the concrete-roaded busway - its immunity from tarmac melt?

Just think if it had been constructed as unguided, and of conventional tarmac - buses would be rutting themselves in shortly...


Monday, 17 June 2019

Forthcoming Busway closure/diversion - extended periods

The Busway will be completely closed between Histon and the Orchard Park "junction" (where the A/D and B/P usually diverge heading into the city) between the following dates:

22 June - 7 July inclusive
25 July - 3 September inclusive

Here's a link to the Stagecoach announcement which gives details of the necessary diversions and alternative stops. I presume the Whippet P will take the same diversion as the Stagecoach B.

There's nothing about this major closure on the County Council's Busway site.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Audio announcements

I understand that Stagecoach are (or are about to start) trialling audio "next stop" announcements on one or two of their Busway vehicles. They are essential, of course, for the registered blind and for others with poor sight. And useful for anyone with their head stuck in a phone, not paying attention to where they are...

This information came from Ross Barton, Operations Manager with Stagecoach East, as part of his presentation at yesterday's Cambridge Area Bus Users meeting. Having been away for a couple of weeks, I can't personally verify whether the trial has actually started (Ross was unsure of the start date when put on the spot - not unreasonably!).

Monday, 20 May 2019

Car and bus wrecked in inferno at Longstanton

Shortly after this morning's (20 May) rush hour, a car and a bus were involved in a collision where the Busway crosses the B1050 at Longstanton. The car caught fire, and shortly afterwards that fire spread to the bus. Both vehicles were gutted in the resulting inferno.

The bus was a Stagecoach single decker on an outbound service. All the passengers were evacuated before the bus caught fire, but the driver was injured during the incident.

The bus came to rest on the bridleway to the north of the crossing, with the car seemingly almost alongside it on its offside.

There have been a number of sets of photographs and a couple of reports compiled during the course of the day, although none that I have seen yet attempt to explain what happened. Here are some links to Cambridgeshire Live, Cambridge Independent and BBC reports and photo galleries:

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Child cyclist injured in collision with bus

A child cyclist was injured in a collision on the Busway last Wednesday (1 May). The incident happened as the child crossed the busway adjacent to Kings Hedges Road.

Stagecoach report that their assessment of the onboard CCTV shows the cyclist pulling out "without looking".

The child's father feels that the positioning of pedestrian lights is confusing, in that they cover the road itself, but not the Busway. He is also calling for "change all along the busway" to prevent similar incidents in the future.

There are three reports on Cambridgeshire Live relevant to this item:

Cyclist death "accidental"

The inquest into the death on the Busway of cyclist Steve Moir has concluded that his death was "accidental". As reported in a post at the time Mr Moir died in a head-on collision with a bus on the section of the Busway near to Long Road on 13 September. According to media reports from the inquest, which finished yesterday (3 May), he clipped the kerb whilst overtaking pedestrians, and fell onto the Busway in front of an oncoming bus. The bus was travelling within the speed limit (which has since been reduced) and the driver was found to have acted "appropriately" when he saw what was unfolding.

There have been calls from Mr Moir's family either for greater separation of the busway from the parallel bridleway (used extensively in this area by both cyclists and pedestrians).or for separation of those cyclists and pedestrians from each other.

The Health and Safety Executive is still investigating the incident.

More information is available on the BBC Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire Live websites.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Ticket machines - going, going, gone...

It's ony a few days since Andrew's post drawing attention, amongst other things, to the fact that the Busway ticket machines have been out of order for some time - and that there was no sign of them being fixed any time soon.

Well, now we know why! According to a CambridgeshireLive report, published earlier today, the County Council is planning to withdraw ticket machines from all Busway and Park & Ride sites at the end of this month - no, make that the end of this week!

I am lost for words. Let's leave it there...

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Bank Holiday services return to southern Busway

Yes, I know that Good Friday and Easter Monday have been and gone, so apologies in advance for this retrospective posting.

One (less-than-desirable?) feature of Sundays and Bank Holidays is that there are no services on the southern portion of the Busway, between Cambridge Railway Station and the Biomedical Campus. As I've commented elsewhere, it seems that operators (and one particularly large operator locally) are keen to lock as many buses as possible away in their depots. Bank Holidays are supposed to be like Sundays (tell that to the 30-35 passengers on a "U" service at 1925 on Good Friday evening)!

Well, Whippet broke with that shabby "tradition" this Easter, and ran a full "P" service on both Friday and Monday. Which means that there were Bank Holiday services on that southern stretch for the first time since... well, I think it's the first time ever, but stand open to correction from someone with a better memory than mine.

Unfortunately - and didn't you know there was going to be a "but" to this good news - it helps if people know those services are running. According to Traveline there were no services on this route on either day. The Whippet website, and the print "P" timetable (plus its online equivalent) made no mention of Bank Holiday services. All I could eventually track down was a single tweet from Whippet HQ informing its followers what was happening over the holiday weekend. It's possible they also showed up in apps offering real-time operating data (e.g. the UK Bus Checker, or Traveline's own).

So 10/10 for daring to offer the service. But a rather lower score for making sure people know that the buses are out on the road, waiting to be used.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Tickets and Timetables

These photos show two examples of how the guided busway is being neglected.

The ticket machines have been out of action now for several weeks, with no sign of them being repaired. These machines were intended to speed up passenger loading by ensuring the people had tickets before boarding, though they never installed ticket machines at some of the busiest stops such as Drummer Street and St Ives Station Road. Then the machines ceased to accept coins. And now they have conked out completely

The second photo shows an information sheet which out of date, still on display at St Ives Park & Ride. It looks as if the organisation responsible (Cambridgeshire County Council?) has taken its eye off the ball, and maybe the Council is too strapped for cash.
So much for this supposedly 21st century transport system!

Another of my gripes is about the poor bus service to Cambridge North Station. The information displayed at bus stops doesn’t tell you which buses go to Cambridge North. So if you aren’t very clued up about the bus timetable, how are you supposed to know. I think Stagecoach should divert the A service via Cam North. That way St Ives would have a 15 minute interval link to the Station for most of the day.

Fares are too high. Yesterday with sone family members I travelled from the new bus stop at Houghton back to St Ives. The young adults in the party had to pay £4 for a single ticket - that’s for a journey of less than 3 miles. It compares ver unfavourably with Lothian Buses, which operates in and around Edinburgh. £4 will buy you a day ticket which covers the whole of the city, plus Midlothian and parts of East Lothian. But then Lothian Buses is owned by the 4 local authorities who run it as an ‘arms length’ venture. Despite, or perhaps because of the value for money fare structure, it returns a modest profit, not to shareholders, but to the public as represented by the local councils of Edinburgh,  East, West and Mid Lothian.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Another diversion (possibly) - be prepared!

It's sometimes hard to know whether it's better to wait for "official" information (that may never be provided) or to put up something that may turn out to be wrong. This post is in the latter category - so be warned! On the other hand, if what I'm posting here is correct then it's the only place right now that you will have been able to read it...

There's another significant diversion, this time affecting the Stagecoach B and the Swavesey version of Whippet's relatively new P service.

Castle Street in Cambridge is due to be closed to all traffic shortly. Exactly when, and whether it's in closed in both directions is, to put it mildly, unclear.

The announcement on the Stagecoach website implies a complete closure in both directions. But that announcement covers only the Citi 5 and 6. There's nothing about the B (which uses the same route between All Saints Church in Jesus Lane and the junction at the top of Castle Street. It's hard to see how this closure could not affect the Busway service.

The diversion (as least for the 5 and 6) is via Chesterton Lane and Victoria Road. Whether any alternative to the Shire Hall stop will be served remains to be seen.

Then there's the question of just when the closure is taking place. Stagecoach say 15-29 April - i.e., as soon as Monday! The County Council website, on the other hand, suggests the permit has been issued only for 20-28 April. Who do you believe. Whenever it happens, both sites imply that this is a 24-hour closure. I would expect major delays on Victoria Road heading out of the city at certain times of day.

Finally, one might expect the County Council's dedicated Busway site to provide definitive answers. In your dreams! No mention at all.

All, some or none of the above may be accurate. But at least you're forewarned of possible problems ahead.

Diversion - Cambridge Parkside

I'm late passing this one on!

Since earlier this week Busway services have been unable to serve Cambridge Parkside - this is served only by route A & D buses heading to Cambridge North and the St Ives area. This is due to roadworks (which have been reported in the local press - and personally by my wife! - as causing significant disruption.

Services are stopping at the Regent Street stop instead, before resuming the usual route at Parker Street.

Stagecoach report that the diversion is expected to operate from 10 April for *approximately 10 days". It's worth noting, however, that the permit authorising these works on the carriageway is valid until 22 April (to allow them to overrun, perhaps?).

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Evening diversions, week beginning 25 March, Cambridge City Centre

I've tried to capture the essence of this post in the title!

Starting on Monday 25 March, there are diversions after 21.30 each evening affecting Bridge Street and Magdalene Street in Cambridge City Centre. This means that the Round Church St and Jesus Lane stops won't be served by the last couple of "B" services of the day in each direction.

How long does this last, I hear you asking. Well, I wish I could tell you for certain. According to boards "on the ground" there are four nights of works. According to the Stagecoach website diversions are in place from Monday to Friday. Perhaps Stagecoach have learned from experience that all roadworks take longer than originally expected...

According to the County Council website the works continue until Friday (but they're overnight works, which suggests that "Thursday night" is the last one. But according to the County Council, the works are scheduled to commence at 20.00.

Who knows? How many possible variants of what should be the same information is it reasonable for the passenger to digest? How important, in the scheme of things, is providing accurate, reliable information to potential passengers? Why are the simplest things so hard to get right?

Friday, 22 March 2019

Cambridge Metro

A £4 billion scheme to create a metro system for Cambridge is being talked about again. A ‘compelling’ case has apparently been made for its construction, and we report it here because plans show it taking over the guided busway route. Unlike other metro systems, this one will not be rail-based.

CAM, as it is being  called, will operate with high-quality, zero-emission ‘trackless metro’ vehicles, powered by electric batteries recharged overnight and at route termini throughout the day, without the need for overhead wires. Vehicles would offer a high level of passenger comfort, comparable to trams.

The route will run underground through the city centre.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

New stops for Houghton & Wyton (at last...)

It's over 6 years since the need for Busway services to be able to serve Houghton & Wyton was first raised on this blog. In early 2013 the parish council commissioned a survey of local residents. And it's just under two years since this blog reported that design work was under way to see the project to fruition.

Well, it finally happened! February 22 saw the official opening of the new stops on the A1123 Houghton Hill Road. There's even a crossing to ensure that villagers aren't mown down by traffic when accessing the new stops.

The Hunts Post was there to record the occasion.

With the recent diversion of half of the daytime Route B services via RAF Wyton, the new stops will see a half-hourly service in both directions. (There are a handful of peak-hour "A" services as well.)

Note: at the time of writing this, there's no indication on Traveline that the new stop exists, or that it's being used. So this is still a "work in progress". But the Parish Council is quite clear that they're operational.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Diversions Sunday 3rd March

The Cambridge Half Marathon is on Sunday 3rd March and will result in a number of diversions to Stagecoach buses.
Full details can be found at here.
This is what it says about Busway routes:

Busway A/B Services - 

Towards Cambridge: We will be unable to serve stops located on Castle Street, Round Church Street, New Square and at Drummer Street Bus Station until 10:30. During this time, passengers are advised to board at Milton Road (near the Westbrook Centre) or on Victoria Road. After this time, we will be able to serve Round Church Street and Drummer Street bus station. We will return to normal service from 16:00.

Towards St. Ives: We will be unable to serve Drummer Street bus station, New Square, Jesus Lane and Castle Street bus stops. During this time, passengers are advised board at Milton Road near the Westbrook Centre. We will return to normal service from 16:00.
But, please note, service A no longer runs on Sundays. It has been replaced by the D route, but that information seems not to have reached whoever compiled this update.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Whippet return to Busway

Whippet are returning to the Busway! With effect from 18 February the Swavesey-based operator will be running a new Monday-Friday service, "P", which provides 3 morning rush-hour journeys from Swavesey Busway stop to the Biomedical Campus - with corresponding return journeys in the evening - supplemented by a (generally) 4-per-hour "shuttle" between Drummer Street and the Biomedical Campus via the southern portion of the Busway. The shuttle operates to a slightly less frequent (and more irregular) schedule around the edges of the rush hour (rather like the "U" timetable), to take account of likely traffic conditions (in so far as traffic in Cambridge is ever predictable).

Elswhere there's been speculation that this is tied to the imminent opening of the new Royal Papworth hospital (hence the service "number"), but I've been unable to confirm that.

The route around the Biomedical Campus is the same as that taken by other Busway services - currently that's in an anti-clockwise loop. (That route is likely to change in the spring, I guess, when the new road in front of the Papworth hospital is open and there are new bus stops to serve.)

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Trapped driver wants council to pay car repair bill

This post is based entirely on a story which appeared earlier today on the Cambridgeshire Live site.

A driver whose vehicle was damaged when caught in a Busway car trap last Wednesday afternoon is claiming that the signage doesn't meet the required standard and that "Cambridge Borough Council" [sic] should pay his "significant" repair bill. The incident happened in Kings Hedges, near to the Travis Perkins site.

The County Council has responded that signage meets DoT standards.

The driver is also looking to be compensated for the "considerable stress and inconvenience" suffered.

Friday, 4 January 2019

The times they are a-changing' (yet again...)

I'm sure Bob Dylan didn't have Stagecoach in mind when he wrote his influential song (and yes, I do realise Stagecoach didn't exist in 1964). But it's certainly appropriate, as another clutch of timetable revisions is set to be introduced on 13 January.

Here are the details from the Stagecoach website:
"There are minor adjustments to morning peak hour departures to accommodate additional journeys between St. Ives and Cambridge. There are also changes to journeys in the evening peak to accommodate additional journeys between Cambridge and St Ives. There are additional minor changes to evening peak journeys from St. Ives Hill Rise, Marley Road and Ramsey Road towards St Ives Town Centre. Route A departures on Sundays have been re-named to Route D and will serve Milton Road stops. The Route A to Buckden will now depart St. Ives Bus Station at 18:08 and will serve stops 12 minutes earlier throughout the journey. The 1450 from Huntingdon to Peterborough (M-F) journey will now depart 5 minutes later and will serve stops 5 minutes later throughout."
The revised timetable is also available for download from Stagecoach.