Friday 28 April 2017

Timetable changes from 21 May - mostly Cambridge North-related

As anticipated, there are various timetable changes planned in connection with the opening of the Cambridge North railway station on 21 May. New timetables can be found on Traveline and the Stagecoach website, but there's no written description of the changes on the latter's "Latest Updates" page. Here's my attempt to summarise for you (although perhaps it would have been simpler just to wait for Stagecoach's own write-up!).

The easiest to describe is the new route "N", which runs Cambridge City Centre-Longstanton (and reverse), Mon-Sat only, and via Cambridge North. There are three journeys in each direction that extend to/from St Ives. The service runs every 20 mins from around 0700 to 1900 (since this service operates out of the Fenstanton depot, the earliest departures are from St Ives, and the latest from Cambridge). Within Cambridge, buses will do an anti-clockwise look - Emmanuel St, St Andrew's St, Gonville Place, Parkside, Emmanuel St. Note that this service does NOT serve the main railway station in Cambridge.

There is another new service "D" (not to be confused with the now defunct Whippet route "D"). This operates a rush-hour service from St Ives to Cambridge Railway Station (via Cambridge North) in the morning, and the reverse in the afternoon. There are 7 or 8 departures each day, Mon-Fri only, but significantly fewer during school holidays. However, the extent to which this is genuinely a "new" service is arguable, since it seems to incorporate some journeys that were formerly running as "A". So it's probably best to consider the "D" in conjunction with the revised "A". It's impossible to summarise the changes overall in this context, so I suggest eager readers simply have a look at the timetables and see how their journeys are affected.

One very specific change to the "A" is that the last three St Ives-bound departures, Mon-Sat, will divert via Cambridge North. For those heading out into the countryside, this is scheduled to add 2 minutes to your journey.

Sundays: more significant changes are coming here. The current "B" service on Sunday operates every 20 minutes. This will be reduced to a half-hourly frequency, with half-hourly "A" services (via Cambridge North) being added to the timetable. So an overall increase in frequency, with half of the journeys running via Cambridge North. Passengers from Histon and beyond will realise that the "A" is a quicker way to make it to Cambridge City Centre than the roundabout route the "B" takes (it can be quicker to take the Citi 8 from Shire Hall to Histon than the B).

Finally, the "R" continues to make its circuit around the station development - in from Trumpington via the Busway, then Station Rd, Hills Rd and back to the Busway. Rather late in the day, Stagecoach has decided to add the Hills Rd stop (opposite the Botanic Garden - opposite, indeed, the old Eastern Counties garage for those who were around in those days) to the schedule.

Friday 14 April 2017

Driverless minibuses - feasibility study funded

According to a report posted yesterday (13 April) on the Local Transport Today website (LTT is "the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers"):

"The government has awarded £31m to 24 connected and autonomous vehicle projects.
One project to receive funds is the Cambridge autonomous bus system feasibility study, which could lead to driverless minibuses operating over part of the Cambridgeshire guided busway."

So it looks as though one of the Smart Cambridge projects is going to receive government backing to evaluate its feasibility.

If you want to learn more about what Smart Cambridge is investigating, there's a detailed Cambridge News report to answer all your questions. (Admittedly, I'm guessing this is the same project as the one that HMG is investing in, although in the 4 March CN report it says quite clearly that the feasibility study is already being funded - by the City Deal and Cambridge Ahead. Puzzling.)

Friday 7 April 2017

Cambridge North

As most readers of this blog will be aware, the new Cambridge North railway station is due to open for scheduled services on May 20th. And we can expect a number of bus services to serve this station, including those using the new extension to the Guided Busway.

Stagecoach has submitted proposals to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency for changes to the existing registration of the A and B services (which are registered as a single service). They also seem to be proposing a new service "N", to operate from St Ives Park & Ride to Central Cambridge - this will run Monday-Saturday only. Unfortunately, there's no public access to the actual timetables submitted for approval, and there's no further information to be found as yet on the Stagecoach website. The Cambridge Independent has a story, mostly dealing with Northstowe, and giving very little further information - follow this link for that item.

Whippet hasn't, to date, submitted any request to change its existing Route C timetable. (Route D was abandoned some years ago.)

Readers interested in the actual station might find this Cambridge News article rewarding.