Sunday 21 December 2014

Busway talk, Newport Pagnell, Jan 22

Local branches of the Institution of Structural Engineers have arranged a free talk on the Busway, to be given by Bob Menzies on Thursday 22 January in Newport Pagnell. I dare say that non-members with an interest in the Busway could be accommodated.

Details are on the ISE website.

Friday 19 December 2014

Timetable Changes from 4 January 2015

Swavesey village website has posted a list of Stagecoach service changes from 04 Januuary 2015 which includes changes affecting the Busway A and B routes.

Strangely I cannot find this info on the Stagecoach website.

Saturday 6 December 2014

Christmas and New Year bus services on the Busway

Details of amended Stagecoach bus times for Christmas and New Year can be found here.

No Stagecoach service at all on 25th and 26th December, and 1st January. Early service finish on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Saturday service will run on 29th and 30th December.

There is no information as yet about Whippet's services over the holiday period on their website www.go-whippet.co.uk .

Monday 1 December 2014

New cycle spaces at Swavesey and Longstanton

New cycle parking spaces have been installed at Longstanton Park & Ride recently.
This week, the cycle storage area at Swavesey is being enlarged.

Swavesey Busway Stop - cycle storage area

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Ride Quality - still very bouncy...

I took a ride out and back to St Ives today - 3 years after it opened in Aug 2011.

It is clear that a greater proportion of beam joints are getting out of alignment, and subsidence (and heave) are becoming more noticeable. Whether upstairs on a full 'B' service, or in the front seat of an 'A' service, the ride is poor - certainly in relation to the 'smooth' service expectations.

The sideways movement was unexpectedly bad on the 'A' service, which was quite empty. But the front seat may experience the worst of sideways jolting, and it may be better in the middle. The bus driver confirmed my suspicion that a fuller bus is more stable. Any experiences you'd like to share?

If this is what it's like after 3 years, it's clear something must be done to make the service in 2021 palatable. Let's just hope the proposed repairs will achieve their desired effect - and do so for at least anther 10 years, if not the 40-year 'design-life' of the system. As I've said before, what happens at 40 years, I just don't know. Presumably another set of rolling repairs to completely replace the track and/or supports?


Whippet taken over by Australian company

Today's Hunts Post (19 November, page 2) reports that Whippet, one of the two bus companies that serves the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, has been bought by an Australian company, Tower Transit, which operates some buses in London.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Cutting of verges

Last year's the subject of cutting of the verges prompted a lot of responses after the contractors smothered the path with debris, hiding the stud lights that were until then still visible, and giving cyclists lots of punctures.

This year, the verge cutting finally commenced last week, (St Ives to Swavesey) and the good news is that they have made a much better job of sweeping up the debris.

But the bad news, is that they have not cleared the overgrowth back to the edge of the path, and many of the studlights remain buried under the weeds.

In a few places they appear to have cleared around a studlight, but the clearing is so short it can only be seen a few meters away - and the lights are approx. 25m apart! The following picture - near Fen Drayton - shows an example, but the next few lights they have not even managed to find.


Verges Cut but not trimmed back to edge

I emailed Shaun Harrison-Fuller, and Campbell Ross-Bain at the beginning of this week, but have received no replies yet.

Friday 14 November 2014

Vandalism (or theft?) at Longstanton P&R

The Cambridge News is reporting that someone recently sawed through one of the cycle racks at Longstanton Park & Ride. The assumption is that is was part of a (possibly failed) cycle theft - there appears to be no evidence at this stage of any theft having taken place.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Parking charges at St Ives and Longstanton park and ride sites

BBC Look East this evening reveals that Cambridgeshire County Council is introducing parking charges at the Park & Ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton.

Agenda for the relevant committee (Economy and Environment Committee) can be viewed here http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CommitteeMinutes/Committees/AgendaItem.aspx?agendaItemID=10571

The story is also covered by today's Hunts Post (12 November, page 3). Charges are said to be between 50p and £2 per day and will start in April 2015 and are expected to bring in revenue of £120,000 a year. They also plan to introduce double yellow lines on roads near the park & ride sites to prevent motorists parking there. The article states that the St Ives  and Longstanton Park & Ride sites are estimated to cost the County Council £508,00 to run in 2014/15. Concessionary fares cost the County Council almost £1 million in 2013/14.
http://www.huntspost.co.uk/home/e-edition

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Bonfire night diversions

A reminder that some roads near Midsummer Common will be closed between 6.00 and 8.30pm this evening and guided buses on routes A and B will be diverted. Bust stops at New square/Short Street and Round Church Street will not be served during the period of the diversion. Please see the following web page for full details.

http://www.stagecoachbus.com/tis-service-update-details.aspx?id=3383

Cambridge City Council has posted this notice about the road closures https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/fireworks

Busway ticket machines - an update

It looks as though repairs are on the way for the non-functioning ticket machines on the busway. These notices at Histon and Swavesey say 'This machine is currently being re-commissioned, and is not in use' which I interpret as saying something is happening.

Histon

Swavesey

Sunday 2 November 2014

Busway connections at Huntingdon Railway Station

Today I was reminded how poor the bus connections at Huntingdon Station are on a Sunday. The bus times really don't fit in well with the trains in either direction.

We were at an event at Hinchingbrooke Country Park and walked down to the Railway Station in time to catch the last bus to St Ives - departing at 1619, which is barely mid afternoon. Trains from London generally arrive at Huntingdon at 16 past the hour, scarcely enough time to cross over the footbridge and walk out to the bus stop, even if the train is on time and you are athletic. But the 1508 from Kings Cross is timed to arrive at Huntingdon at 1619, thus missing the 1619 bus altogether.

Busway arrivals to Huntingdon Station on a Sunday are hourly between 1030 and 1830. Trains to London are 1030 ( i.e. no connection), then 1100, 1125 ( no connection), 1200 and hourly  thereafter. So a longish wait.

Departures to Peterborough are mostly at 16 minutes past the hour, so a very long wait of 46 minutes for any would-be passengers.

Another issue with the Sunday bus service to Huntingdon Station is that you can't really use it for a decent day out in London, travelling from St Ives. First arrival in Kings Cross would be 1214 and you'd have to leave Kings Cross at 1508 to get a bus connection back to St Ives.

One other gripe - the timetable sheet displayed at the bus stop at Huntingdon Station doesn't show the new bus times including the buses arriving in from Peterborough and serving the railway station. This information sheet also shows the now closed bus stop at the top of the station steps.

Is it any wonder that with a poor service, and inaccurate information at the station bus stop, that the service is not well used?


Monday 27 October 2014

Busway ticket machines

The two ticket machines at what must be the busiest stop on the busway, St Ives Park & Ride, are currently completely out of action. For a few days they were papered over, and an apology message suggested it was outside their control. But now they have been completely sheeted over with black plastic.



Some ticket machine along the route have been out of action for months, and the rest no longer take cash payments.

All this means that more people are having to pay the driver for their tickets, and inevitably this will slow down the buses.

When is the County Council going to fix the machines?

Friday 17 October 2014

Lighting the Busway - again

Back in the summer, I reported on proposals to light the Busway's southern section. There's more!

At its meeting on 8 July, the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee deferred any final decision until its 16 September meeting. Then at that meeting discussion was again deferred, this time until the 21 October (it was felt it fitted well with other issues due to be discussed at the October).

So, here it is on the agenda for the committee's 21 October meeting. The associated paperwork contains some interesting stuff - for example, statistics of cyclists and pedestrians using what it describes as the "maintenance track" alongside the Busway. It's proposed that funding comes from developer contributions in the Cambridge Area Transport Corridor Funds.

The report presented to next week's committee explains that the original  - seriously flawed - "preliminary costing" was 
"was carried out at a very early stage before full investigation into the possible lighting solutions for the Busway had been carried out".

[Edited 28 Oct to correct a dreadful typo!]

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Passenger numbers, year 3

The Cambridge News has obtained Busway passenger numbers for the year to 6 August 2014. They show usage at 3,457,354 - slightly below the County Council's target for Year 3.

There's no background, beyond what's in the Cambridge News piece, as these figures don't yet appear in any report to a County Council committee. And it's hard to know exactly what they cover. One of the opponents of the Busway is quoted as saying that they include all journeys made by "guided" vehicles (so including off-Busway routes), but no evidence is offered to support that view. (The same person seems to imply that there's something wrong in including "concessionary pass" travellers in the figures, simply because they don't pay directly for their journeys.)

Thursday 2 October 2014

Passenger injured

A passenger was taken to Addenbrookes with back, head and leg pains, and a number of other passengers suffered more minor injuries as a result of an incident on the Busway yesterday afternoon (2 Oct). The driver was forced to execute an emergency stop to avoid colliding with a cyclist carrying his bike across the tracks near Histon. The Cambridge News has the full story, including an eye-witness report.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

County Council committee to debate busway defects

The headline is the simplified version - in fact, the County Council's General Purposes Committee, due to meet on Tuesday, October 7, will be debating expert advice on tackling busway defects. This includes technical advice in respect of both the concrete guideway and the foundations and drainage, as well as legal advice from a QC.

According to the County Council (in its press release), "the technical advice suggests that Bam Nuttall is responsible for defects on the Busway. The report outlines that some parts of the Busway were either not built to the agreed design or don’t comply to national standards specified in the contract.

Defects include
• Shims and neoprene pads were put in without being fixed so they now slip and cause movement of the beams, effecting ride quality.
• Foundations were not deep enough as outlined in national guidelines on certain sections so they could move in the clay conditions.
• Inadequate drainage at two locations
• Joints between the guideway beams that were too narrow to allow for thermal expansion of the beams.
• Some bearings were identified as being out of position. 
• Beams not being restrained enough by brackets so they move.

...the legal advice is that this is a breach of contract and that the Council has a good case and should pursue the contractor for the money to pay for the necessary repairs."

Officers are recommending that councillors should "resolve to carry out works to rectify all of the superstructure, foundation and drainage defects in accordance with the assessment of the Project Manager and the advice of the Council’s expert technical advisers, subject to securing funds from Bam Nuttall in accordance with the defect provisions in the construction contract or alternative legal argument; [and] instruct Officers to initiate negotiations and any necessary legal proceedings to recover the assessed cost of defect correction in accordance with the contract, consequential losses arising from those defects, and any costs incurred to date and incurred in future in investigating and taking advice on the defects."


Full documentation (minus Appendix D - which is confidential to members, and any of discussion of which will take place with press and public excluded) is available here. Some of the sums involved are quite eye-watering (see Appendix B, for example).

Stagecoach orders six new buses

Stagecoach recently announced that it has ordered six new Scania/ADL Enviro 400 buses to go into service on the Busway. These new vehicles have Euro 5 engines, are fully accessible and have free Wi-Fi, power sockets and air chill. They're expected to go into service by the end of the year.

Those who delight in media-speak might feel a need to read the Stagecoach press release.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Closure of Emmanuel Road, Cambridge, today

Emmanuel Road in Cambridge will be closed until 7.30pm today due to road works, meaning that A and B buses will not be able to serve the stop at New Square ( Central Cambridge) and service A won't be able to call at Parkside.

Details here.

There is a link to alternative stops.

Friday 12 September 2014

Ticket machines vandalised

Cambridgeshire County Council has appealed for help in catching thieves who caused damage to the Busway ticket machines at Histon and Longstanton earlier this month. One consequence is that the County Council has now decided to remove the facility to pay by cash at the machines - cash fares can be paid on the bus instead. Indeed, the necessary work had already been carried out when I travelled along the Busway yesterday.


Thursday 11 September 2014

Guided Busway Lessons Learned Review

Cambridgeshire County Council has published the report of a review it commissioned from Bill Edwards FICE, FCIHT, MCICES, FCIArb, a partner at EC Harris LLP, entitled the "Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Independent Review". It's due to be discussed at next Tuesday's meeting of the Economy and Environment Committee. The title of this blog post is the one assigned to it in the committee agenda (follow this link if you want to read the report).

The review was initiated following the court case involving the County Council and BAM Nuttall, and is principally concerned with the contract, and the procurement process leading up to it, aspects of which were at the heart of the legal action.

I haven't had time to read the report, but  Cambridge News reporter Jon Vale has, and writes about it here. If you value your sanity you might want to skip the comments below the line, though...

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Anglia Bus Forum mentions busway deterioration

Link to ATVBF Forum:

http://angliaandthamesvalleybusforum.com/index.php?topic=7012.0

discusses rebar corrosion (I suspect this is corrosion of spots close to surface, not actually a critical problem)

Anyone noticed further wear on busway surface over the summer? - subjectively I would say that aggregate is sticking out proud of the cement surface level to a greater extent. I'm wondering whether the air-entrainment of the concrete (inclusion of small air bubbles) to guard against freeze-thaw damage is making the surface wear faster.

Monday 8 September 2014

Road works in Cambridge affecting the guided buses.


Details of roadworks affecting the Four Lamps Roundabout, Short Street and Emmanuel Road between Sunday 7th September and Thursday 18th September.can be found at http://thebusway.info/servicedetails.aspx?update=208 . Stagecoach have some information about how this will affect Busway service here and there are links through to maps showing which bus stops are closed and which alternative stops may be available.

Incidentally, the email informing me of these road works arrived into my inbox today at 9.51am, a day after the first lot of road works had started.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Changes to routes A and B timetable from early September

A reminder that the routes A and B timetable will be changing as from 1 September 2014.

Route B timings will change between Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon Rail Station and Huntingdon town centre. Peterborough journeys on route B will be diverted to serve Huntingdon Rail Station. Evening journey on route 45, which links Hinchingbrooke and St Ives, will run 5 minutes later.

The 1716 service A from St Ives to Somersham will operate Mondays-Fridays only.

Some other changes will start from 7 September. The 0702 from Hills Rise to Cambridge and the 0649 from Brampton to Cambridge will terminate at Regent Street and no longer continue to Cambridge Rail station. There will be extra journeys from Longstanton Parl& Ride to Cambridge Rail Station at 0815 and 0830

Full details here .


Wednesday 13 August 2014

Cheeky cyclists

This week's Hunts Post (13 August, page 13) report a story about what are described as 'cheeky cyclists' who have been triggering the busway traffic lights at the Harrison Way crossing in St Ives to change for them. These lights were intended for buses. And this has been causing delays to motorists.

Cambridgeshire County Council engineers have now altered the lights so that cyclists can no longer benefit from them. The article says 'The junction had been designed so that cyclists and pedestrians would use a traffic-light controlled crossing - a crossing that does not give priority to the detriment of traffic on Harrison Way'.




Tuesday 12 August 2014

Investigating Busway faults - the costs so far...

The Cambridge News has used FoI powers to extract from the County Council the costs, over the past 3 years, of "investigatory works" on outstanding faults. This is before any money''s spent on fixing them. Of course, it's possible that some or all of the costs might be recoverable from BAM Nuttall. The story includes, inevitably, a quote from Cllr Mike Mason.

Figures exclude legal costs.

The Cambridge News story can be read here.

Monday 11 August 2014

Busway service B diversions in St Ives

Several roads in the centre of St Ives are being resurfaced this week, and as a result,  evening buses on route B are diverted. After 7pm they will not be calling at Station Road or St Ives Bus Station.

These buses will be running non stop between St Ives Park & Ride and the first stop on Ramsey Road north of St Audrey's Lane.

According to the second of these notices this arrangement will last until 24th August (except weekends). Presumably that means  buses will run as normal on Saturdays. But what about Fridays?

I travelled back from Cambridge this evening on the 22.33 service. There was nothing at the bus stop in New Square to say there would be a diversion.

When the bus reached St Ives Park & Ride, the driver made no announcement that the bus would not be calling at the Bus Station or other town centre bus stops.

At the time of me writing this, there is nothing on the Stagecoach website about this diversion, and nothing on thebusway.info website either.





Saturday 9 August 2014

Flooding on busway cycle track - August 2014

A quarter-mile section of the busway cycle track is flooded between Long Stanton and Oakington. The water is only about 20cm deep and it is possible to cycle through if you go slow and don't mind getting your feet wet.

The Cambridge News has reported flash flooding in the Cambridge area including Dry Drayton, Oakington, Rampton and Bar Hill.

The flooded part of the cycle track lies close to the Beck Brook, a normally small stream flowing form Dry Drayton, through Girton  and Westwick and down to Rampton.


Wednesday 6 August 2014

Delays to motor traffic at busway crossing in St Ives

This week's Hunts Post ( 6 August, page 6) has a letter form a St Ives residents whose commute by car to Bar Hill is seriously slowed by traffic queues cause by the busway traffic lights on Harrison Way.

The letter writer thinks that there should have been a bridge or subway for pedestrians and cyclists. He suggests (1) installing traffic lights at the Meadow Lane roundabout giving priority to traffic on the bypass rather than traffic emerging from the town centre, and (2) allowing southbound traffic to use the Town Bridge at peak hours.


Tuesday 5 August 2014

Changes to bus route B

Stagecoach will take advantage of the new West Huntingdon Link Road to re-route buses to/from Peterborough on service B, enabling them to serve Huntingdon Railway Station.

Details of the change of timetable, which will start from 1 September, can be found here.

Saturday 2 August 2014

5 SmartDays ticket

On the Stagecoach A bus today I noticed a poster advertising a new fare option - the '5 SmartDays' ticket - which would suit people who travel odd days rather than every day. There was a leaflet giving some details about this fare option,  including how to register 'your card'. I guess that must be the existing electronic multi journey ticket 'Stagecoach Smart' . The leaflet names a website - stagecoachsmart.com - but I could find nothing on that site about the 5 SmartDays ticket. I was hoping it might say how much the 5 SmartDays ticket costs.

If anyone finds out more about this ticket option, could you please send a comment to this blog?

Busway Coordinators sought

The County Council is looking to recruit two new Busway Coordinators. I've been unable to find details of the vacancies on the Council's own website, so here's a link to the particulars posted on an external job board, Empty Lemon.

Friday 1 August 2014

Electric buses on the busway?


Buses on Cambridgeshire's guided busway are currently powered entirely by bio-fuel. 

But now it seems that CCC is considering the possibility of low-carbon options. 

One such option is electrification, using a magnetic field emanating from  a cable laid the central reservation between the running tracks as a power source for charging electric buses while they are in motion. The County Council is commissioning a study to make an initial analysis of the case for electrification using 'dynamic inductive charging'.

The advertising portal for Cambridgeshire County Council is here with a specific link to this project here.  But bear in mind that, as this is a tendering process with an end date, the link may become inactive after a time. Closing date for expressions of interest appears to be 4th August.

For a useful article explaining what dynamic inductive charging is, click  here.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Bus and cycle link to Cambridge Science Park railway station


Work to create a  road/cycleway link between the guided busway and the new Cambridge Science Park railway station is stepping up. 

The cycle/pedestrian underpass under the old railway in Milton Road will close - cyclists and pedestrians will be diverted to the other side of Milton Road. Motor traffic will continue on Milton Road throughout the operation in both directions, but traffic may be diverted onto a bus only lane. This phase of the work will be completed in March 2015.

The station is expected to open in May 2016. 

Read more at

Cambridge News


Sunday 20 July 2014

Honourable mention for Cambridgeshire busway

Yesterday's Times (19 July, page 32) carried an article analysing the effect of Park & Ride schemes on people's driving habits. In general, it seems, people drive longer distances to use a P&R than they might have done otherwise. So P&Rs are maybe not as green as all that. Of course, P&Rs are designed to prevent people taking their cars into congested city centres - but there is clearly a cost in terms of driving distances. This is according to the work of Prof Graham Parkhurst of the University of the West of England.

However, Prof Parkhurst praises the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway , since it manages to intercept car trips early in their journey.

You can read the article online here if you have an online subscription to The Times.

Monday 14 July 2014

Busway "emergencies"

The Cambridge News has used FoI requests to obtain a breakdown of what it describes as "emergencies" on the Busway in the past 18 months. There were 38 of them. Follow this link for the full story, including a slideshow of 10 photos of such incidents (all but one of the photos are of vehicle incursions - presumably because broken traffic lights aren't especially photogenic).

Opinions seem to differ as to whether poor signage might be partly responsible for the vehicle incursions. Cllr Mason, on past evidence no great friend of the Busway, would like to see prosecutions to back up earlier threats.

Friday 11 July 2014

Police activity in Histon

I tried - and failed - to come up with a more interesting title for this posting. Honest.

According to the Cambridge News, Histon PCSO Tony Martin has been energetically addressing illegal and anti-social activity in the vicinity of the Busway. Just today there was a report of him engaged in a Hunt for 'unsavoury characters' around the Buway. And this report comes close on the heels of news that PCSO Martin was also the subject of One man's bid to snare illegal riders on guided busway. As this earlier story also makes clear, he has also held a cycle security surgery to try to reduce the number of bike thefts at Busway stops.

Hard to fault his enthusiasm. But what this says about the good folk of Histon - or a small proportion of them, at least - well, that's a different story...

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Lighting the Busway - a follow up

Just a month ago, I posted an entry about proposals to light the southern section of the Busway. I said then that the plans were very much on track. What a difference a month makes!

Yesterday's meeting of the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee considered the proposal. Actually, the proposal covered both the northern and southern city sections. I can't easily summarise the details, but will instead provide a link to the relevant agenda item, and the council officer's report. The key issue, though, is that instead of the £100,000 provisionally set aside in December 2012 for the southern section, detailed costings have come in at £400,000 [sic]. Council officers made clear, though, that there was enough unspent money from the pot of "developer contributions" (the levy that larger developments have to contribute to general infrastructure - NB, that's only my personal definition!) to meet the additional cost.

We'll know exactly what happened at the meeting when the official minutes are posted on the County Council website. But there's no reason to doubt the veracity of the Cambridge News report. Here's a taste:

Cllr Amanda Taylor, who represents Queen Edith’s, said it would improve safety and encourage more people to use the track, but councillors from outside the city expressed misgivings about allocating this much money when streetlamps in their areas were being removed or dimmed.

This prompted Petersfield’s Cllr Ashley Walsh to attack what he described as “petty-minded parochialism”, but Roman Bank and Peckover’s Cllr Alan Lay recalled blackouts during the Second World War and questioned why there was now “a lot of fuss saying we must have lights”.
 Something to keep in mind next time you're cycling in the dark along the southern section.

Friday 4 July 2014

Busway extension to Cambridge Science Park Station

Work is in progress clearing the former railway track between Milton Road and Chesterton Junction. As the following photos show, there are piles of old railway sleepers.




They're also working on the opposite side of the road, where the busway emerges onto Milton Road. The buses have to make a rather sharp right hand turn out of the busway when heading towards Cambridge. A slice has been taken off the traffic island to ease the turn.



Sunday 29 June 2014

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race will be in Cambridge on Monday 7th July. The city centre will be closed off to traffic for the whole day, and all busway services will be affected. Services A, B and C will not be able to serve the city centre.

Full details can be found here.

Service A from St Ives direction will terminate at Chesterton Milton Road all day on 7th July. Timetable here. Map of bus stops here.

Service A will also run between Cambridge Railway Station, Addenbrooke's and Trumpington P&R. Details at http://www.stagecoachbus.com/uploads/buswayapr88tdf.pdf Map of bus stops here.

There won't be any buses on route A between Milton Road and Cambridge Rail Station.

Route B will be terminating in Chesterton Lane. Timetable here and map showing location of set down and pick up point is here.

Whippet website does not yet give exact details of how their service C will be affected.

Information about road closures for the Tour can be found here and here

Monday 9 June 2014

Histon station handed back to previous owner

The Cambridge News, seemingly prompted by Cllr Mike Mason, published a story whilst I was away on holiday about the handing back of the old railway station at Histon - which had been acquired by the County Council through compulsory purchase as part of the Busway project - to its previous owner. The CN report also explains how much the purchase, and subsequent disposal, cost the County Council. However, the Council claims that its decision to purchase the station in the first place was in response to the expressed wishes of local residents - including, it seems, Cllr Mason.

I don't have a view; I merely report and leave you to judge.

Photo by A Bethune

Lighting the Busway (southern section)

According to a post on County Councillor Amanda Taylor's blog, plans are very much on track (wordplay intended) for lighting to be installed on the Busway, between the railway station and Trumpington, in time for next winter. For more information see Cllr Taylor's blog post.

(PS: I am not related to Cllr Taylor - it's a very common surname!)

Thursday 29 May 2014

Busway extension to Science Park Rail Station

The busway extension which will link Milton Road with the new Science Park rail station is to be an ordinary road, but there will be a short section of guided track at each end. This means that ordinary buses won't be able to us the route which will be suitable only for guided buses.

Read full article at
Cambridge News

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Charity walk along busway

30 May is the deadline if you want to register for a midnight charity walk along the busway from St Ives. Entry costs £15 and proceeds go to Walking with the Wounded, an armed forces  charity supporting troops who have injured back into civilian life.

Details here.


Friday 23 May 2014

Collision between bus and cyclist

The Cambridge News reports a collision this morning between a bus and a cyclist, at the point close to the Addenbrooke's site where the Busway crosses Francis Crick Avenue (or, if you like, where Francis Crick Avenue crosses the Busway - I'm unfamiliar with the road layout at that point). Apparently, it was "an accident waiting to happen", according so someone who works at the MRC close by.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Broken ticket machines

Not sure how long this machine has been out of action, but I first noticed it a few days ago. I'm referring to the ticket machine at the Science Park stop on the busway. It's now boxed up like its mates at Histon and Swavesey. Those two have been out of action for the best part of a year. Isn't the Council going to fix them?


Reminder about event on busway cycle track



The Flaming June Half Marathon will be running alongside the busway on 1st June. Closing date for participants is this coming Sunday 25th May.
Details here.

Busway damage - even more pictures

Here are some I took today in the Histon area.

This one looks as if it has already been patched:


Here is an example of what you get in the middle of every long concrete beam. There is a stress crack, which suggests that the beams are flexing every time a bus goes over them. If water gets into these cracks, and we have hard frosts in the winter, I can see the concrete disintegrating even more:



More patching:


Typical example of flaking of the concrete at  a beam end. Presumably this is caused by friction of the guided wheels:


An example disintegration of the vertical surface of the  guide 'rail'. Maybe it's cosmetic. Maybe it's more serious:


Flaking of the guide rail:


Shows the disparity in gap widths between the two running tracks:




Wednesday 21 May 2014

Busway damage - pictures

I've been out a couple of times in the past few weeks, and here are some of the shots I took (all taken from the bridleway).

Damage falls into various categories:

a) kerb damage

b) beam-end damage

c) step-damage (rubber pad fall-out)

I've also included some examples of pock-marking and surface stones, which might in the long-term cause issues of unevenness.

Kerb Damage:

i) to kerb-top

 ii) to side-wall (location west of Histon)
These are more extreme examples, but in general I wonder how long it will be before the kerb-wall starts to become as rough as the main running-way. The kerbs are smooth at the moment, but will the guide-wheels start to wear out much faster once the surface they run on becomes rough?

Beam-end damage - caused by expansion in hot weather


i) just east of Histon Stop - this one had only just occurred when I saw it
 ii) this type of damage possibly caused by small stones falling off and getting jammed between the beam ends, then causing further damage as and when the beam expands with heat.


Step-damage (rubber pad fall-out)


location: Trumpington


Pock-marking:



 Now some areas where the top surface has worn away, exposing more aggregate. How long will it be before these stones start popping out, and if so, will it produce an uneven surface over time?

 ...or, like this bit (with different concrete construction), will none of them pop out?

Comments appreciated!

Busway lighting improvements - for cyclists?

There are a number of items in the County Council's recently-published Transport Delivery Plan 2014/15-2015/16 that relate to the Guided Busway. One that caught my attention is on page 15 and the works involved concern "Provision of lighting". But this is in a section headed "Funding from developer contributions to deliver cycling infrastructure". So, putting two and two together, one might conclude that the County Council is planning to spend around £190,000 over the next two years to provide (or improve?) lighting for cyclists using the bridleway alongside the bus track. But this could be a completely mistaken interpretation of the evidence.

Following the trail a little further, I ended up at the page on the County Council website providing the Forward plan of key decisions and service committee agenda plans (which we might summarise as "Looking ahead", perhaps). The plan for the Economy and Environment Committee, which can be found linked from that page, tells us that its 8 July meeting is scheduled to cover "Guided Busway lighting", which I'm guessing is the same as the item in the Transport Delivery Plan. We should know more when the agenda for that meeting is published a fortnight or so in advance.

Another item pencilled in for the 8 July meeting is "Busway to City Centre Cycle Route". Anyone care to suggest what this might be about (I feel I've done enough guesswork for one day!)?

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Track faults

I was sent a couple of photos of faults on the busway track which are reproduced here.

This one shows an irregular crack developing in the concrete near the corner with the cross beam:
Photo by Stephen Lawrence

And this is a 'step fault' where the track panel on the right has settled by perhaps 0.5cm compared with its neighbour:
Photo by Stephen Lawrence

I'll be happy to post more photos of damage to the busway track, so please send them in.

However the blog can only include photos that are taken from the public footpath/cycle track or bus stop platforms i.e. do not trespass on the track itself

Friday 16 May 2014

Science Park station - Busway lighting

The County Council has given details of the street lighting it's proposing for the Busway extension into the forthcoming Science Park railway station. Follow this link for more information.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Counting Cycles?

Just at the west end of the Ouse Viaduct, what looks like a new electrical control cabinet has appeared this week - with a solar panel on top of it.


Control box
Today I noticed that in the cycle track beside it are some new lines, filled with tar, just like the traffic sensors you see on the approach to traffic lights.


Sensor in cycle track
What is it?  I think it is most likely to count the cycles passing that point. 

Are there any more anywhere else along the busway?

Anybody know any more?

Friday 2 May 2014

Bank Holiday bus services on the busway

Whippet are running a Sunday service on Mondays 5th and 16th May. Details here.

Stagecoach will run a Sunday service on Monday 5th May. Details here.

St Ives Bank Holiday Market will be occupying parts of the town centre on 5th May. There is a sign up in The Quadrant advising motorists not to park there on the Bank Holiday Monday as the space will be needed for buses. This implies that once again, the bus station will be taken over by market stalls, and the needs of public transport are sidelined.

Busway services towards Cambridge will probably be departing from Station Road, as they did on Easter Monday. But, as yet, there is no information about where bus from Cambridge will stop.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Busway to the Science Park

As if to emphasise the rather vague definition of "busway", it seems that the extension to the Science Park may not be "guided", but simply a "bus only" road. A council spokesman is reported in the Cambridge News as saying "“No decision has been made on whether this section of the busway link will be guided or not." Meanwhile, some locals would clearly prefer that it weren't. The full Cambridge News story is to be found here.

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Busway complaints fall

The Cambridge News reports that the number of complaints to the County Council concerning the Busway has fallen. The full story is here.

The number of Busway-related complaints to the bus operators isn't reported.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

More on the busway track faults

Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet has approved a report on the £20 million of faults that have been identified on the guided busway track.

The faults potentially affect every track beam between St Ives and Cambridge, and the 'serviceability and longevity' of the busway are now being questioned.

It is possible that legal action may be taken against the company that built the busway, BAM Nuttall.

See article in Cambridge News.

Monday 14 April 2014

Track problems?

Here are a couple of photos of  'excavations' at Oakington. Is this something to do with the faulty track that we have heard about recently?



Sunday 13 April 2014

Extension of guided busway to Cambridge Science Park Station

Cambridgeshire County Council is expected soon to approve construction of a 500-metre guided busway link between Milton Road and the new railway station at Chesterton on the northern edge of Cambridge.

The likely contractor is named in a Cambridge News article as Balfour Beatty, and construction of the track beams is likely to be on site, rather than brought in from elsewhere.

If the scheme proves too expensive, ' a road with guided entry and exit points to prevent trespass' may be built instead.

It is not clear from the article what provision is likely to be made for ordinary buses to serve the new station, nor indeed what specific bus routes may run.

From my perspective, as a St Ives resident, I am wondering if the existing bus routes A, B and C may be diverted to the new station - which would inevitably slow down their journey times. Or are some new routes being planned? What connections are planned between guided buses and the train, especially with regard to late night train arrivals from London? Up to now, evening guided bus connections at Huntingdon Station with trains from London have proved poor, and they do not run until late evening.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Busway track in need of major repairs

A report published by Cambridgeshire County Council has revealed that the busway track is in need of around £20 million worth of repairs, according to an article in the Cambridge News.

The faults are in the bearings which support the concrete track beams, and in the foundations of the beams. There are mid beam cracks which are bigger than permissible.

As these problems arise from the way the track was constructed, legal action against  BAM Nuttall, the engineering firm which built the busway, is being considered.

Friday 28 March 2014

New Signs on the Flood Gates

Since the floods have drained off the cycle track, and the gates at Swavesey, Fen Drayton and St Ives have been opened, new signs have been attached to each of the gates.



Whippet fares to rise

I saw a notice on a Whippet route C bus this morning advising that fares are going up as from Monday 7 April. As yet no detailed information appears on Whippet's website.

Busway 'cover-up'?

Councillor Mike Mason has submitted a motion to Cambridgeshire County Council's next meeting calling for a full investigation of the guided busway, including its £36 million overspend.

The Council Cabinet is due to discuss busway defects on 15 April - in private.

Read full article here.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Stagecoach bus fares rising as from Sunday 30 March 2014

Bus fares for Stagecoach services in Cambridgeshire are going up as from Sunday 30 March. This affects bus routes A and B on the busway. Details here.

The following is taken from the busway.info website:


From the 30th March 2014 some of our fares will be changing. Details of some of our most popular tickets are shown below.

Day tickets
Cambridge & Peterborough will increase to £4
Cambridgeshire dayrider plus will increase to £6.20

Weekly/4 weekly/monthly (xtra) tickets
Cambridge & Peterborough 1 week Megarider will remain at £13 on smart, increase to £13.50 on paper
Cambridgeshire 1 week Megarider Plus will remain at £23.50 on smart, increase to £24 on paper
East 1 week Megarider Gold will remain at £33 on smart, increase to £33.50 on paper
Cambridge & Peterborough 4 week Megarider will remain at £50 on smart, increase to £52 on paper
Cambridgeshire Megarider Plus 4 week will remain at £90 on smart, increase to £94 on paper
East Megarider Gold will increase to £115 on both smart and paper
Cambridge & Peterborough MegariderXtra increase to £45.50 per month
Cambridgeshire Megarider Plus Xtra increase to £85 per month
East Megarider GoldXtra will increase to £106 per month

1 week Megarider/Megarider Plus tickets are now available online. Please visitwww.stagecoachsmart.com to purchase your ticket today.

Easter bus services on busway routes A and B

Stagecoach have announced their amended timetables for the Easter holiday weekend.
See Stagecoach website here.

This table relating to the A and B route reached me by email :

Routes A and B on the Busway will operate the following service:

Thursday 17 April - normal service

Friday 18 April - Sunday service

Saturday 19 April - normal saturday service

Sunday 20 April - normal Sunday service

Monday 21 April - Sunday service

Tuesday 22 April - normal service resumes










Saturday 22 March 2014

County Council to discuss "disquiet and concern"

The County Council's central Council - that's to say, the general forum of all 69 elected members - is due, at its meeting on Tuesday 25 March, to discuss a motion relating to the Guided Busway. This motion, submitted by Councillor Mike Mason (Independent, Cottenham, Histon & Impington)
"notes that Cambridgeshire residents and members continue to express disquiet and concern over the failure of the Council to properly scrutinise and publicise the financial, contractual and operational legacy associated with the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.  Furthermore it is noted that much of the business in connection with the contract and subsequent legal action has not been conducted in open meetings and that this is not in the public interest or in accordance with Council’s aims and policies. Council therefore hereby resolves to set up a cross party Scrutiny Panel with wide and comprehensive terms of reference, to fully examine, in public, all aspects of this major infrastructure scheme and to report back to Council with recommendations following an agreed timetable."
 Full details of the meeting - and, in due course, the minutes - appear on the County Council website.

Meanwhile, the Cambridge News reports that Coun. Mason is also concerned about the condition of the track - linking this concern to the results of a Cambridge News investigation. The News story can be found here.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Cambridge Half Marathon - 9 March 2014

Buses on route B will be diverted for most of the day (until 4pm)  on Sunday 9th March. This is due to road closures to allow the Cambridge Half Marathon to take place.

Bus stops at New square, Jesus Lane, Round Church Street and Castle Street will be out of use, and passengers for the city centre are recommended to use Drummer Street Bus Station instead.

Full details here.

Whippet buses will also be diverted, but their website doesn't give precise details.

Information about the Half Marathon can be found here.




Yet more incursions

There are times when one feels a separate blog is required simply to note the constant flow of illegal incursions, but according to the Cambridge News there has been a noticeable spike of such incidents in the past week or so, as a result of car drivers "being confused by road closures at Addenbrooke’s". Apparently the Busway, notwithstanding the signs, looks like a road you might want to drive down. Let's hope these same drivers are paying slightly more attention when you, or I, or our children, are crossing the road one day.

For those who can bear it, here's the full Cambridge News story.