Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Peterborough to Cambridge via the guided busway?

Stagecoach has announced plans to run buses from Peterborough on the busway.  ( See link to Cambridge First below). They hope  this will provide a less expensive alternative to the train for commuters. The buses would join the busway at St Ives, presumably using the A14/A1M for the northern section of their route. Extra vehicles will have to be purchased.

But will it be viable timewise? Andy Campbell, of Stagecoach describes the train as 'going round the houses'.  This is the pot calling the kettle black. The train takes about 45-50 minutes between Peterborough and Cambridge, usually with two stops - March and Ely. The guided buses, on the other hand, go all round the Oxmoor, the Hill Rise loop, call at all the villages between St Ives  and Cambridge, then if it's a service B, trundles through Orchard Park and squeezes through the narrow and congested Magdalene Street.  

We know the  guideway buses are taking longer than they used to by the old route - so how does Stagecoach imagine it can offer a fast service from Peterborough, when they can't offer a fast service from Huntingdon?

It's 29 miles from Peterborough to St Ives. That's going to take 45-60 minutes, then add on another 36 minutes from St Ives into Cambridge, and you're talking about well over an hour. Plus there is the added complication of traffic delays on the A14 near Huntingdon.

I watch this proposal with interest.

I think they'd be better concentaring on how to provide an all day, frequent service to Cambridge from places such as Godmanchester, Houghton & Wyton, Ramsey,  Warboys, Somersham, Earith, Fenstanton and, of course, Huntingdon.

In the same article, there is a comment about the four fast journesy from Huntingdon to Cambridge that were introduced a few weeks ago. Unfortunately they haven't been well used, and Stagecoach might have to review them. There are probably two factors to this. First, most people joining the service B in Huntingdon and travelling to Cambridge, do so in the Oxmoor, rather than the town centre. Second, the fast buses are still pretty slow when you consider that Huntingdon is only about 17 miles from Cambridge. So perhaps not a very attractive proposition for commuters


This this story also appears in the Hunts Post (9 November, page 27) and the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (10 November, page 31).


  1. Comment by MPH posted on 10 November 2011 at 14:30 but attached to my posting of 21 September.

    I am amazed that Mr Campbell wants to extend the guided bus to Peterborough. Stagecoach are incapable of running the present service. I am either left at Shire Hall some evenings because of overcrowding or have to stand for some of the way. Where are the new buses coming from? The guided busway is an embarrassment to this area and both Stagecoach and our County Councillors are just putting their heads in the sand . God help me with the Christmas rush almost here.

  2. I'd love for this to happen, it is such a horrbile drive on the A14,
    -the train isn't visable as i work near Science park.
    -the Guide bus ins't visable at the moment because the traffic to the St.ives park and rdie takes longer that driving on the a14.(and it's cheaper to drive)


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