Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas floods on the busway

Merry Christmas to all readers of the busway blog!

It's not such merry news for those of us who cycle the busway. I walked along the busway between the gravadlax and the turkey early this afternoon, and the Great Ouse River is in flood. Water is now covering the busway cycle track at the concrete bridge a short distance east of the Ouse Viaduct. I was a bit surprised to see that the water is flowing through that concrete bridge from north-east to south-west ( that's left to right on the first photo, and right to left on the second).

I'll keep checking the water levels over the next few days and post details on the blog.

Boxing Day update - the big dip between St Ives Park & Ride and the Ouse Viaduct is now under water, and the flooded section beyond the viaduct has extended both directions from the concrete bridge. So probably 400 metres of the cycle track under water.

Update - 7 January.
This photo shows the flooded cycle track between Fen Drayton and Swavesey.

Update 9 January.

I walked along Low Road towards Fenstanton this afternoon and here is the state of the road at Crystal Lakes. Although the road is 'closed' several cars drove through the flood apparently without difficulty and a cyclist made it through.

Friday 20 December 2013

Concessionary bus passes on guided busway

There are two rather alarming letters in this week's Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (19 December, page 6). The letter writers, who both contacted the paper by email, seem to believe that Cambridgeshire County Council wants to end the use of concessionary bus passes on busway and park & ride services.

It is not clear where they have got their suspicions from unless it is the minutes of the Council's Enterprise Growth and Community Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee's  meeting held on 7 December. In the minutes there is a clarification that 'concessionary fares only applied to ‘standard’ bus services, not for ones with additional services like parking, toilets, etc.  The Guided Busway was seen as a ‘standard’ service in this respect, as it could be caught from normal bus stops with no parking or additional services.'

In reality, of course, the Park & Ride services can also be caught from certain ordinary bus stops, and in my experience, if you start your journey from the city centre, you get charged the regular single journey or day ticket price for Cambridge, not the reduced Park & Ride fare. Park & Ride service serve a limited range of bus stops during the day, but after 6.30pm appear to serve all stops on their respective routes, which might seem to imply that they are 'standard' bus services. Information about Park & Ride services, including ticket validity is at this page.

See an earlier blog post for a further comment relating to this topic here.

The Council committee minutes are here .

Mitcham's Corner bus cut-through

Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to create a 'cut-through' for buses at Mitcham's Corner. This will speed up buses travelling from Victoria Avenue to Milton Road and Chesterton Road by 30 seconds, and will benefit Busway routes A and C. The cost of £97,000 is part of a £5.2 million Government-funded scheme to improve bus transport in Cambridge and is supported by the bus companies.

See Cambridge News here.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Cambridge Science Park rail station approved

Cambridgeshire County Council has approved the planning application for the new railway station at Chesterton serving the north of the city.

This will involve an extension to the guided busway.

Several details of the scheme are causing concern, including the safety of proposed cycle lanes.

More information here.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Christmas and New Year bus services

Changes to busway timetables for Stagecoach buses during the festive season  are as follows :

Christmas Eve - Services finish early*
Christmas Day & Boxing Day - No service
Friday 27th & Saturday 28th December - Saturday service 
Sunday 29th December - Sunday service
Monday 30th December - Saturday service
New Year’s Eve - Saturday service*
New Year’s Day - No service
Normal service resumes on Thursday 2nd January 2014

*Last buses on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve will be:
Route A: 2012 - Trumpington park&ride to Central Cambridge
Route A: 2038 - Central Cambridge to St. Ives Hill Rise
Route B: 1833 - Huntingdon to Central Cambridge
Route B: 1920 - Peterborough to Huntingdon (does not continue to Cambridge)
Route B: 2020 - Peterborough to Huntingdon (does not continue to Cambridge)

More details, including other Stagecoach services in Cambridgeshire can be viewed here.

Whippet's timetable alterations are:

25/26 Dec 1Jan - No service

27 Dec amended Saturday timetable 

28 Dec Saturday timetable

29 Sunday service

30/31 amended Saturday timetable

See Whippet website here. However, there doesn't seem to be any detailed information about what the 'amended' Saturday timetable is for 27, 30 and 31 December.

Busway extension to Science Park Station

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has visited Cambridge to announce spending of £6million for the new Cambridge Science Park railway station at Chesterton, including extension of the guided busway to the station.

Mr Clegg also signed a 'memorandum of understanding' which would allow Cambridge to keep a  bigger share of tax revenues raised locally with over £1 billion to be spent on housing and transport projects. The local authorities have pledged to explore the possibility of an underground bus or rail system for Cambridge

To read full story click here and here.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Delays to busway services

Regular users of the busway will be aware that the buses don't run every 7-8 minutes as they are supposed to. A whole lot of delays occur, usually as a result of road conditions  elsewhere.

There is a good example in this week's Hunts Post (11 December, page 11). It's about parked cars blocking Cowper Road, Huntingdon, a small residential street that, because of Huntingdon's one-way street system forms part of the westbound Busway B route. The photo shows 4 Bs waiting to get through. That's an hour's worth of buses! OK, they're westbound, but that means their return journeys towards Cambridge will subsequently be delayed.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Parking charges at Busway sites?

There's been a lot of noise in the local media about the County Council's plans to charge users of the Cambridge City Park & Ride sites for parking (in addition, of course, to the bus fares they need to pay to ferry them into town and back). What I'd missed until this morning was that the same Council meeting had also, in principle, agreed to back the imposition of charges for parking at the Busway P&R St Ives and Longstanton sites from 2015/16.

Almost inevitably, Stagecoach's Andy Campbell has something to say about this (well, there's a potential loss of revenue = profits for his company) - and, equally inevitably, the Cambridge News has used this as the basis of a story. See here for the CN news item.

The County Council documents, meanwhile, are to be found on the rather dull-sounding "Enterprise, Growth and Community Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Committee" web pages - follow this link for the specific agenda item relating to this. The proposal first appears in Appendix A, and is budgeted to raise £120K in 2015/16. (There are other Busway-related entries in these Business Plan papers which might well repay closer attention, if only I knew how to interpret them!)

The Council's Press Release didn't go into details, so I'm allowing myself to forgive me for missing this amongst all of the paperwork. And it's worth noting that the final decision hasn't actually been made - that's up to a meeting of the full Council in February.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Busway extension to Chesterton Station - traffic conflicts

Cycling campaigners and local residents in the vicinity of the new Cambridge Science Park Station have highlighted potential traffic conflicts between the busway extension to the station and lorry traffic to/from the Nuffield Road industrial estate. They are proposing that Nuffield Road traders be given a direct link to Milton Road.

Details at Cambridge News here.

Monday 2 December 2013

New Cycleways

Cambridgeshire County Council have published details on their website of new cycleways - planned very soon. Two likely to be of interest to readers of this blog are:

The A1096 St Ives: Foot and cycleway will run along the St Ives A1096 bypass from the Meadow Lane junction to St Ives Business park. This will connect to the busway via existing cycleway along Meadow Lane and the Park & Ride site. Construction is expected to start this month, and be completed by end of February!

In Swavesey, the Swavesey to Buckingway Business Park Cycleway will run from the south end of the village to Buckingway Business park, and extend over the existing A14 flyover to the roundabout at Cambridge Services. Construction is expected to start in February and be completed June 2014.

Both will have 2.5m wide track (where possible), separated from the road by a 1m grass verge.

Further afield, Other cycleways also planned are Wandlebury to Babrham Research Park and A505 to Granta Park.

The last 3 here are "being funded by Cambridgeshire County Council's successful bid this summer to the Department for Transport for £4.1m from the Cycle City Ambition Fund."