Saturday 23 June 2012

A closer look at the new route A timetable

Stagecoach has been saying for a while that the busway route A would be extended to serve St Ives Bus Station and the northern part of St Ives. I got the impression that the bus route would form a loop turning left at the Seven Wives, then right into Hill Rise and right again to return towards Cambridge down the top section of Ramsey Road. 
However, the new timetable, as revealed on Cambridgeshire County Council’s transport pages (click here), seems to indicate that the buses won’t perform this loop, but will run either to St Ives Burrel Road or to Wyton Camp via Ansley way, which I think is bus-speak for one of the stops in Hill Rise. 
When I looked in detail at the timetable, it struck me that route A doesn’t provide a consistent service frequency throughout the working day to the northern end of St Ives. 

So what will the service be like? 
Monday-Friday departures from Wyton Camp will be at 06.20 then 07.20, then every half hour until 17.20, then 17.58, 18.28 and 18.58. There is an extra early morning journey starting from Ansley Way ( i.e. Hill Rise) at 05.57. But no 06.50 departure, which you'd think would be a peak travel to work journey. During this early morning period, several route A journeys towards Cambridge start from St Ives Bus Station.
From Burrel Road ( Mopnday-Friday) buses will leave at 07.40 (school days only), then 08.10 and every half hour until 17.10. So, as with the Wyton Camp service, a bit thin on the ground during the morning peak for passengers heading towards Cambridge. 

Heading out from Cambridge, the first A  of the day arrives at Wyton Camp at 08.11 then half hourly until 17.41 (which is the 16.27 from Trumpington and16.53 from Cambridge New Square). Then follows an inexplicable one-and-a half-hour gap when service A runs no further than St Ives Bus Station, forcing passengers from Trumpington, Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge Railway Station, Parkside,The Science Park and CRC, to have to change onto a B, which, of course, won’t take them further up Ramsey Road than the Seven Wives.  Later arrivals at Wyton Camp are at 19.11, 19.26, 19.56, 20.26, with two further journeys terminating at Ansley Way at 20.49 and 21.19. 

Arrivals at Burrel Road are at 08.51 then half hourly until 1721, which is the 16.38 departure from Cambridge New Square, and a bit early for most people finishing work. Curiously the Saturday service to both Wyton Camp and Burrel Road is steadier throughout the day, and there is no evening gap in service to Wyton Camp.
During the late evening, route B serves the top of Ramsey Road and Hill Rise as at present, with four trips in each direction Monday-Saturday. There is no change to the Sunday bus service.

I hope I have understood the new timetable correctly. As I mentioned in another posting, the old and new times are mingled together in a single timetable, which makes reading it difficult.


  1. It looks like A is splitting in St Ives to provide a half hourly service from RAF Wyton, which travels along Hill Rise to get to Ramsey Road, and a half hourly service from the Burrell Road industrial estate travelling round Marley Road - passing the Co-op superstore to get to Ramsey Road that way. So whilst some of the town is losing its direct link to Huntingdon (still offered by Whippet), there is a wider penetration of the town with services to Cambridge - and locally a new regular link with the town's biggest supermarket. I expect Whippet will ditch service 1B given that Service A will be serving RAF Wyton half hourly to Cambridge and Service 30/35 will still offer hourly journies to Huntingdon. The direct extension on route B to Hinchingbrooke Hospital looks good - and explains the rather odd half hourly 65 bus at the moment (which was only launched this month) which isn't integrated with the 66 to Hinchingbrooke. Now we know why. I wish Stagecoach the best of luck with the new, innovative timetables.

  2. Thanks for your comment. It will be interesting to see if your prediction re the 1B happens. Regarding the service 30 (Huntingdon-Ramsey), it looks as if it will connect at Wyton Camp with the route A. However, because of the limited number service 30 journeys, the value of this arrangement will be modest. I wonder what will happen if the A coming from Cambridge is late. Will the Ramsey connection wait for it? And vice versa. I agree that extension of route B to Hinchingbrooke is a good move. But why don't all the route B services run to Hunchingbrooke? And why does only one per hour go to the rail station bus stop? Wouldn't it be better if Hinchingbrooke and the rail station had a 15 minute frequency?


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