Thursday 31 August 2017

Closure this weekend - Groundhog Day?

Just three months after the last weekend closure of the Busway between St Ives and Swavesey (see the 14 June post if you need a reminder!), the same stretch is again to be completely closed this coming weekend, according to Stagecoach. As on the last occasion, "extra buses and drivers will be used to minimise the delay although slight delays are expected to occur".

The closure takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 3 September.

There's no further information about this (or, indeed, any mention at all) on the County Council's Busway web page. However, a spokesman told the Cambridge News: "The busway track will be closed just to the north of the Swavesey stop next weekend while an issue is fixed." And for those who walk or cycle alongside the busway track, all is not lost: "Pedestrians and cyclists should still be able to pass.” What the "issue" causing the closure actually is, that information wasn't in the Cambridge News report.

If anyone is passing by the site over the weekend, I'm sure readers would be interested to learn anything you might be able to find out about the work being undertaken. One correspondent reports that there's a spot "just east of Fen Drayton halt where a beam set has already been excavated and replaced, appears to be a fresh soil heap." Could the County Council's "just to the north of the Swavesey stop" be the same location as my correspondent's "just east of Fen Drayton"?

Thursday 24 August 2017

Stagecoach changes from 18 September

Stagecoach are introducing a number of changes to their Busway services from 18 September.

Busway A/B/D - Journeys numbered D which operate via Cambridge North Station will no longer serve the station. These will now be renumbered route A.
Busway N - This service will continue to operate every 20 minutes into Cambridge first thing in the morning. Buses will now operate hourly throughout the day. This reduction is due to a lack of passengers using the service after the morning peak.
Busway R - Changes to early morning journeys in order to allow more time for passengers to connect with trains at Cambridge station following changes to the platform of London bound trains.
The main change here is a significant reduction in the number of buses serving Cambridge North station.

New timetables aren't available yet, but are likely to be posted on the Stagecoach website shortly.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Cars on busway - poor signage?

It's been several months since we had a post relating to cars stuck on the Busway, caught in one of the vehicle traps. But there have been almost regular reports in the local media of such events. One of the issues that keeps coming up is whether or not there's something deficient in the signage, so that drivers don't realise they're entering the Busway.

The latest incursion was yesterday (August 21) at St Ives, just past Waitrose, heading towards the Park & Ride stop. The Cambridge News has provided its usual report of the incident - handily, though, it's included a photo taken by another motorist giving the driver's-eye view leading up to this location.

So follow this link to read the CN report and to view the photo (it's in the middle of the report - ignore the video that's been posted as it offers nothing of interest).

It looks to me as though there are two "no entry" signs - albeit at radically different heights - as well as a "guided bus only" road marking. Presumably further back there will be a "cul de sac" warning sign as well. What other signage to readers of this blog think would be required to have prevented this incident?

Sunday 20 August 2017

Operations Handbook - FoI request

In another recent Freedom of Information request, Cllr Zoe O'Connell asked Cambridgeshire County Council to "provide copies of all versions of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Operations Handbook, both current and past". The County Council's response makes the current edition, v.1.10.1 dated June 2017, publicly available. Earlier editions have been made available to Cllr O'Connell for downloading (as they're too large to attach to an email).

Here's a link to the FoI request, from where anyone can access the June 2017 edition of the Handbook:

Curiously, this edition, although postdating the opening of the Busway extension to Cambridge North station, provides no diversionary route should that section be blocked or otherwise unavailable for any reason.

Friday 18 August 2017

Speed-related correspondence - FoI request

It was only a matter of time before the recent batch of Freedom of Information requests spawned some follow-ups. There have been two in the past week or so, both submitted by Cllr Zoe O'Connell. In no particular order...

One of them requested from Cambridgeshire County Council "copies of any 'information passed on to bus operators' relating to speed checks on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, as referred to in your response to FOI request 8012" (covered by this blog in a posting dated 4 August).

 The County Council responded, saying that is "does not hold a record of this information. The reason there is no correspondence is because the information was passed on verbally to the relevant operator control rooms. The conversations were not recorded so no record is held of the times / dates or content of the telephone information passed to either operators in regard to speed checks."

So who knows what was said to whom, or when, or how frequently. Or anything, really...

Here's a link to the full FoI request:

Monday 7 August 2017

Plans, sections and book of reference - FoI request

The County Council has just posted what is, for the time being, only a partial response to the last of the current crop of Freedom of Information requests.

This request came from Sam Webster (who, careful readers may recall, was responsible for the first of the requests covered by this blog). He asked:

Could you please provide copies of the 'plans, sections and book of reference' referred to in the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Order 2005 Explanatory Note ( ). Although the information is available during working hours at the County Council’s offices, this is not accessible for those of us in full time employment who must be at our own places of work during these hours. As these documents form part of UK legislation, they really should be available on your website given how cheap and easy this is.
For the time being, the County Council has made the relevant documentation available only to Sam himself. It turns out that there are currently 58 documents, some of them substantial in size. However, the Council is working to upload these documents to its website, a task which it anticipates should take no more than a "couple of weeks".

As usual, I'm providing a link to the full FoI request:

I'll try to remember to keep an eye open for the appearance of these documents on the County Council website - and, if successful, post a follow-up to let you have the URL.

Arrests, prosecutions - FoI request

There's been a response to the third of the four recent Freedom of Information requests that I introduced in my 23 July posting.

This one was submitted by Martin Lucas-Smith, who's well-known in Cambridge cycling circles (although there's no reason to assume that this connection is relevant to his FoI request).

He asked Cambridgeshire Constabulary for:  
1) The total number of arrests made as a result of an unauthorised motor vehicle being driven on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway tracks. 
2) The total number of prosecutions for the same
3) A summary of what law/crime any such arrests/prosecutions were made under.
These all to cover the period since the Busway opened.

The responses: (1) 0; (2) 0; (3) n/a.

(I'm personally unclear whether the request, and/or the reponse, covers the possibility that fixed penalty notices might, or might not, have been issued. If anyone has a clearer understanding of the law in this regard, please post a comment!)

Here's a link to the full FoI request:


Friday 4 August 2017

Busway speed monitoring - FoI request

Information of the second of the four recent Freedom of Information requests that I introduced in my 23 July posting.

This one was submitted by Zoe O'Connell, one of Trumpington ward's City Councillors. In essence, Cllr O'Connell asked the County Council:
Please can you provide policies for and records of any monitoring of the speed of buses using the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway carried out by or on behalf of the council.

There are two aspects to the County Council's response. The lengthier part extracts all of the speed-related clauses in the Bus Operations Handbook for Drivers. Most of this information has been in the public domain at some point in the past. The first part of the Council's response is, I suspect, less well-known. Here it is in full:
Cambridgeshire County Council carries out speed checks along the Guided Busway and this information is passed onto the bus operators. The current devices we use do not have the ability to record the data, it has been primarily a monitoring exercise. We are looking into expanding our monitoring capability which will lean more towards enforcement and the different types of speed recording devices, which will log data, in future.

Here's a link to the FoI request, including the County Council's response:

The Cambridge News has this morning published a story based on this FoI request. Here's the link to that Cambridge News item:

Two further FoI requests await responses - both are due in the next few days. 

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Changes to Whippet bus routes from 2 September

Whippet have announced the withdrawal of a number of their bus services and you can read the full details here:

However, service C, which operates on the Guided Busway will be strengthened to half hourly between St Ives and Drummer Street, with some earlier and later journeys that at present.

Buses will continue to operate every hour on Sundays, but the gap at midday will be removed so the service is regular throughout the day.

Some service C journeys will start or finish at Fenstanton.

From 2 September, Service C will not serve Cambridge Railway Station , Somersham or Hill Rise/Ramsey Road in St Ives.