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

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.

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.

Cambridge City Council has posted this notice about the road closures

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.



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?