Friday 31 August 2012

Timetable changes from 3 September

There appear to be some timetable changes to the Stagecoach route A starting from Monday 3 September. You can see the changes here , though the format makes it a bit difficult to read.

Some early morning services from north of St Ives will serve the new bus stop in Station Road instead of St Ives Bus Station Bay 3. These are  (Monday-Friday) the 0605 and 0705 from Somersham, the 0625 and 0725 from Ramsey and the 0645 from Chatteris. On Saturdays only the 0705 from Somersham is affected.

'Schoolday only' services are starting as from Tuesday 4 September. Dates of operation will be 4 September - 26 October, 5 November - 21 December and 8-9 January. That last pair of dates perhaps suggest another timetable revision might be planned for 10  January.

The following schoolday journeys will run:

0740 Burrel Road to Long Road
0750 Ansley Way to Cambridge Rail Station
0805 Anslet Way to Cambridge Rail Station

and in the afternoon:

1614 Cambridge Rail Station to Ansley Way
1625 Long Road to St Ives Bus Station where it will connect into
1717 St Ives Bus Station to Somersham via Bluntisham

Thursday 30 August 2012

Station Road bus stop - work continues

In the last couple of days, after a gap of several weeks, work appears to have resumed on the Station Road bus stop in St Ives, which is the new departure pointg for busway service towards Cambridge in central St Ives. 'Men at work' signs and barriers have appeared, and a small metal cabinet has been set in place. I wonder if they are about to instal a ticket machine. Or perhaps the box is intended to control the lights in a yet-to-be-built shelter.

Thursday 23 August 2012

St Ives Station Road Bus Stop

The new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives, has now been in operation for  several weeks. as expected, it has caused traffic congestion. The Hunts Post ( 22 August, page 15) shows two photos of Station Road. There is a van parked on the double yellow opposite the bus stop preventing west bound traffic from passing. Colin Saunderson, a former St Ives Town councillor, who had campaigned for the stop to be at a better location, blames the Cambridgeshire County Council for siting the stop in the wrong position.The County Council claims they have had no complaints.  If you have observed any congestion problems in Station Road, you can write to . It would also be a good idea to write to your county councillor.

Poor bus service between St Ives and Huntingdon

This week's Hunts Post (22 August, page 6) carries a letter from a St Ives resident who was trying to catch the bus to Huntingdon en route for the Olympics. She noticed six buses going towards Cambridge while she waited for 40 minutes for a bus heading towards Huntingdon.  Unfortunately she was waiting in Ramsey Road, and as readers of this blog will know, the Huntingdon-bound buses no longer travel the top end of Ramsey Road. The writer mentions difficulties getting information about the bus services, and also unhelpful or non-existent responses from Philip Norwell of Stagecoach in response to questions about the timetable.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Busway's first birthday - report in News & Crier

Today's  Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (9 August, page 19) includes a full page devoted to the busway's first birthday. Chris Havergal asks whether the celebrations are justified. Although the number of journeys ( 2.5 million) in the first year is above target, it includes journeys made in guided buses off the busway, and bus operators do not expect fully to recoup their investments until Northstowe new town is built. Has the busway been 'value for money'? What evidence is there that the busway has reduced traffic on the A14? Finally there is the court case between Cambridgeshire County Council and BAM Nuttall still to be resolved - the case will not start until January 2014.

A similar article can be viewed on the Cambridge News website here.

There are two letters in the News & Crier ( 9 August, page 6) about the Station Road bus stop in St Ives.  Note that this bus stop is still unfinished : the top layer of tar hasn't been added, and there is no shelter.

Comments from readers of this blog welcome. What have been your experiences of the busway?

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Harrison Way congestion and bus connections to Huntingdon Railway Station

This week's Hunts Post (8 August) has two items about the busway.

First,  a piece entitled 'Ring road peak flow now smoother' (page 2). Engineers have changed the timings of the traffic lights at the Harrison Way/Busway crossing to reduce the number of times cars have to stop when both pedestrians and buses are at the junction.  It is worth noting that traffic is light at the moment because of the school holidays, and it remains to be seen how the new lights sequence will perform when traffic increases at the start of the school term.

Second, a letter from a Bluntisham resident about connectiosn between the busway and trains at Huntingdon Railway Station. It is a response to Philip Newell's comment last week on behalf of Stagecoach. The letter gives a couple of example of how the service B does not connect with trains.

Monday 6 August 2012

New Stagecoach route B service

There don't seem to be any timetable booklets available yet for the new timetable which started today. But you can find a link to it here . On my homeward bus journey this evening they were still giving out the  22 July timetable, which, of course, now gives erroneous information about journeys north and west of Huntingdon.

If you go to the County Council's bus pages  you can find the version of the timetabel that shows every bus stop. Click here. There is a note at the top of the timetable saying ' The information on this timetable is expected to be valid until at least 29th August 2012'. This suggest to me that Stagecoach may be planning yet more changes, perhaps to coincide with the start of the school term.

Saturday 4 August 2012

A trip to Peterborough on the guided bus

Today was the last day of the unrevised  Stagecoach service B, so I decided to take a trip to Peterborough. I caught the 1321  B from St Ives. This was in the interest of 'research' but I did visit Peterborough Cathedral.

The13.21 bus left St Ives 5 minutes late, and reached Peterborough 9 minutes late. So we dropped 4 minutes against the schedule.   2 minutes were lost between St Ives and Hartford, which it is not possible to cover in the 10 minutes allowed by the timetable. So Stagecoach are right to ease the time on this section of the route.

I had imagined that the B ran as an express between Huntingdon and Peterborough, but this is not the case. The bus stops on request  at all bus stops en route, so on this trip we picked up of set down passengers at Stukeley Meadows, RAF Alconbury, two different stops in Sawtry, Norman Cross ( possibly someone heading for Stilton which has been bypassed by the new timetable) and Serpentine Green. At no point were there more than 11 passengers on board, and only 8 alighted at the end of the journey.

The return journey was at 1615 from Peterborough with 21 passengers on board.  Passengers boarded or alighted at Serpentine Green, 4 different stops in Sawtry,  and Great Stukeley. We were 6 minutes late reaching Huntingdon, but made up the time between Huntingdon and St Ives, arriving at St Ives on time.

The extra 10 minutes allowed in the new timetable due to start from Monday 6 August should give enough  flexibility to allow for passenger stops and traffic conditions.

It is a puzzle why Stagecoach have cut the large village of Stilton out of the route. And I do not see how they imagine that tacking what is really a 'stopping' service onto the end of the busway route is going to attract people to use the bus for Peterborough-Cambridge journeys.

Has anyone else travelled the Huntingdon-Peterborough section?

Wednesday 1 August 2012

More changes to service B timetable

Stagecoach are having to make changes to the service B timetable in order to improve punctuality. In an email today, they say these amendments will be introduced from Monday 5th August, but I assume that should read Monday 6th August. Here are the changes they are making:
  • Buses from Peterborough, Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Huntingdon rail station are retimed to leave up to 15 minutes later.
  • Buses from St Ives towards Huntingdon will arrive at Hartford and all stops to Hinchingbrooke Hospital up to 3 minutes later.
  • Buses are retimed between Huntingdon and Peterborough to give extra time for the journey. All leave and arrive slightly later.
  • Evening buses from Huntingdon to Cambridge after 1900 hours and return buses from Cambridge after 2000 hours run 10 minutes later throughout.
  • There are no changes to bus times on The Busway track during the daytime.
  • There are no changes to route A.
Attached to the email is a pdf of the amended timetable , but it does not yet appear on the Stagecoach website.

Despite what the email says, the revised departures from Peterborough seem generally to be 5 minutes after the current timetable. Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Huntingdon Rail Station departures are 15 minutes later than now. the Peterborough to Huntingdon running time is slowed from 48 to 58 minutes ( 44 to 49 minutes northbound), and Peterborough to Cambridge Drummer Street is now 2 hours 2 minutes ( 1 hour 59 minutes going north).

Evening buses on service B from Drummer Street will leave at 1953 (as now), then 2103, 2133, 2233 and 2333. There are As from New Square (but not Drummer Street) plugging the long gap between the 1953 and 2103  B departures.

I guess they will now have to reprint their recently published timetable booklet!

Hunts Post - 1 August

Four items of busway interest in this week's Hunts Post ( 1 August).

First ( page 6) , a letter from a resident of St Ives who has been using the bus to/from Huntingdon Rail Station for his daily commute. The new timetable has reduced the service to the station. he alos comments thta the buses don't comnnect well with the trains.  Stagecoach reply pointing out that the new evening frequency is the same as before, and that the Hinchingbrooke buses call at the stop on Brampton Road adjacent to the station. This isn't made clear by the published timetable though.

On page 14 are three articles about the busway.

Cambridgeshire County Council says that usage of the busway has been more than expected, reaching 2.5 million in the first year. They are expecting 3 million in year 2.

Whippet say their first year on the busway has been better than expected. Stagecoach.

Stagecoach refer to their heavy investment in vehicales and staff training. Their big question is - when will they get the return on their investment? In fact, they don't see that happening until the Northstowe development gets going.