Thursday 31 May 2012

More about Ramsey Road timetable changes

This week's Hunts Post (30 May, page 6) includes a very long letter from a Sawtry resident, mainly about changes to buses in the Sawtry area, but goes on to compare Stagecoach with Ryanair. The writer thinks that Stagecoach has used spurious arguments to justify re-routong the service B away Hill Rise, and claims that time saving will be marginal. He suggests that time gained will be lost during slow crew changeovers at St Ives Park & Ride. There is also a criticism of Whippet for unofficial variations of their bus routes, and finally bewails that fact the bus passengers have no official channel for pursuing complaints.

More guided busways for Cambridge?

Cambridgeshire County Council is considering creating a new stretch of guided busway ( or possibly dedicated bus-only lanes) in Newmarket Road, Cambridge. See report in The Cambridge News and also in the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (31 May (page 17). This is an attempt to deal with existing traffic congestion plus extra traffic that will arise if a new development of 25,000 houses materialises.

Friday 25 May 2012

New bus stop in Station Road, St Ives

This week's Hunts Post (23 May, page 6) includes only one item about the busway - a letter from a St Ives resident who doesn't think anything is to be gained by creating a new bus stop in Station Road outside Hyperion. He can't believe that passengers are willing to walk from St Ives Town centre to the Park & Ride to catch a bus to cambridge. He thinks the problem of congestion at the Harrison Way crossing is about people parking (free) at the Park & Ride and walking into St Ives. He thinks they are misusing the Park & Ride. There may indeed be some people parking in this way, but I do know that many people walk to/from the Park & Ride because they want to use the Service A which starts and terminates there, which is often more reliable than the B, serves places that the B doesn't go to, and is generally a few minutes quicker than the B. I often arrive back in St Ives on the A which is due in at 1733, though it's usually about 5-10 minutes late. It is rarely worth waiting for the B to take me into central St Ives. What do readers of the blog think about this issue?

Sunday 20 May 2012


The cycle track is now passable. There is still some water lying on it, but there is a dry strip along the side of the track nearest the buses.

Friday 18 May 2012

Busway news in this week's Hunts Post

There are four items in the Hunts Post (16 May) about the busway. On page 2 is a report about the proposed bus stop in Station road, St Ives, outside the Hyperion auction house. It is likely to be completed by the end of June. The County County held trials which confirmed that there is room for a bus standing at the bus stop to be overtaken by another bus. However, local councillor, Debbie Townsend, reiterates concern about congestion. Next is a charming story about a bus driver rescuing a family of goslings who had walked onto the guided busway (page4). The letters page features a comment about the fact that the Bank Holiday market once again occupied St Ives Bus Station and questions why the market should be allowed to take precedence over the guided buses. In an earlier post, I noted that Station Road had no market stalls this time, yet the buses were diverted via Meadow Lane. Lastly (page 35) is a report about various changes to bus routes around Cambridgeshire. There may be changes to the bus service between Huntingdon and Peterborough - this would happen if guided buses from Cambridge were to be extended to Peterborough. The current hourly local service to Alconbury and Alconbury Weston will be affected.

Monday 14 May 2012

Real time information at St Ives Bus Station

On Friday I noticed that there is now a real time information screen at St Ives Bus Station. How long has it been there? It's tucked away in the waiting room, which might explain why I hadn't seen it before.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Re-routing buses in northern St Ives

This week's Hunts Post (9 May, page 6) has two letters from St Ives residents about Stagecoach's proposal to divert the Service B away from Hill Rise and the north end of Ramsey Road. One accuses Stagecoach of being motivated solely by profit, and not really considering the needs of the people who use the buses. The other highlights the needs of elderly and disabled people for whom the rerouting will cause problems. There is a reply from Andy Campbell, manager of Stagecoach East. He says that the Service B will continue to serve the full length of Ramsey Road in the evenings and Sundays. There will still be a direct service between Hill Rise and St Ives Town Centre. Bus coverage of St Ives will improve. The Oxmoor will still be served by the B, and Huntingdon will have a quicker service. The accusation that Stagecoach is somehow punishing St Ives because of the Town Council's refusal to allow buses through the town centre, he says, is ludicrous. Of course, the fact remains that passengers from the north end of Ramsey Road and Hill r Rise won't have a direct service to/from Huntingdon. Whippet might well find themselves picking up some of this traffic. In the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (10 may, page 14-15) is a report about the recent flooding, caused by rain water flowing down the Great Ouse and its tributaries. There are several photos of the floods, including one (by Mark Shelley) of the guided busway cycle track, but nothing at all in the text about the busway.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Flood levels - Tuesday morning

The water level on the cycle track between St Ives Park & Ride and Fen Drayton Lakes has fallen. The brick art installation is now mostly visible, and only its base is now still standing in the water. The track is still flooded east of Fen Drayton and it wasn't obvious to me whether the water level had dropped at that location.

Monday 7 May 2012

St Ives Bank Holiday Market

I am constantly amazed at the lack of joined up thinking when it comes to Bank Holiday Markets, and the Michaelmas Fair, in St Ives. Market stalls fill the bus station, which is closed to buses for the duration of the market. And so it was today. Buses coming off the busway are diverted from the Park & Ride via Meadow Lane and have been calling at the stop in The Quadrant. There seems to be no published information about this diversion - no notices displayed the the bus station, and nothing, as far as I could see, on the Stagecoach or Busway websites. Huntingdonshire District Council put up notices at either end of The Quadrant to say that the parking bays were out of use during the Bank Holiday Market (presumably to create space for the buses) but the anarchic motorists of St Ives were ignoring the notices. The District Council also put up a notice in Station Road forbidding market traders from setting up the stalls in that road. This meant that guided buses could have used Station Road as normal, and the Meadow Lane diversion was strictly speaking unnecessary. Today, the Bank Holiday Market was a lot smaller than usual (blame the weather) so the usual level of inconvenience for the travelling public was not reached.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Flooding update

The water level on the cycle track between St Ives and Fen Drayton Lakes has dropped a few inches today, but the two short flooded sections east of Fen Drayton haven't yet started to recede.

Saturday 5 May 2012

Flooding on the busway

Today (Saturday), as I travelled to work in the relative comfort of a Stagecoach bus, I noticed that the water level on the flooded section of the busway cycle path has now risen a few more inches. It was lapping at the top of the concrete bridge that takes the cycle track over what must be intended as a flood channel. This is situated a few metres east of the Ouse Viaduct.
Nearby is one of those brick 'art installations' that were erected along the busway a few months ago. The 'installation' was almost submerged. So I reckon the water is close to two feet, maybe three feet deep.
This is too deep for cyclist to plough through (as they have been doing the past few days), and so this morning there were several cyclists wheeling their bikes along the grass verge at the top of the busway embankment, dangerously close to the buses which at this point travel at 56mph.
The flat area of grass at the top of the embankment is only about a metre wide, so people are putting themselves into danger. There is very little margin for error between getting hit by a passing bus and sliding down the embankment into the water. The busway cycle track has proved hugely successful as both a leisure route for cyclist, walkers, and runners, and as a travel-to-work route for cyclists. Is it too much to ask that Cambridgeshire County Council raise the level of the track even more so that the cycle path becomes an all weather route?

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Busway in today's Hunts Post

Today's Hunts Post (2 May) touches on several topics of busway interest. First, on page 5, is an update on the Cambridgeshire County Council v BAM Nuttall court case. While the Council is suing BAM Nuttall for £60m, BAM Nuttall is now making a counter claim of £43m. On page 14 it is reported that the County Council is pressing ahead with creating a new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives, to allow extra busway buses to serve St Ives town. The siting of the bus stop, outside Hyperion auction house, is near a road junction and therefore likely to increase road accidents, according to the County Council's own road safety report. There are four letters from Hunts Post readers (on pages 7 and 32). The topic of all four concerns the proposal to divert the service B away from the north end of Ramsey Road and Hill Rise in order to provide faster journeys to/from Huntingdon. One writer fears he may have to revert to using his car when travelling to/from Huntingdon rail station. Another speaks of Stagecoach's plans as depriving residents of northern St Ives of choice of bus services, and calls for a compromise solution whereby some buses continue to serve Hill Rise. A third letter is about problems the revised service will cause for disabled people who are unable to walk to St Ives town centre if buses are re-routed, and asks Stagecoach to provide an alternative. Finally, Peter Lee of Whippet says his company intends to continue service the Hill Rise route, and would consider increasing the frequency of services if demand justifies it.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Busway cycle track flooded

Following the recent prolonged rainfall, the River Great Ouse has burst its banks and is flooding the water meadows near St Ives. As a result a section of the busway cycle track is under water. This morning, around 6.30, the dip between St Ives Park & Ride and the Ouse Viaduct, was just above water level, by a margin of maybe 20 cm.
Across the viaduct, the cycle track is under water.
I walked along the busway this evening about 6.30pm. The water level had risen and the cycle track is now flooded in the dip between the Park & Ride and the Ouse Viaduct. Despite that I saw a couple of people cycle through the flooded section.
Since this morning, a warning notice has been put up.
And the not-very-effective Flood gate had been closed.