Friday, 28 December 2012

Motorist drove onto busway at Cambridge Railway Station

Another motorist has driven onto the busway, this time at Cambridge Station. Information about is incident is tacked onto a longer story about the pedestrian hit by a bus near Histon a few days ago.

See Cambridge News here.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Accident on busway at Histon

There has been an accident on the busway near St Audrey's Close, Histon. A man was struck by  a passing bus and is badly injured. This is the place where a footpath crosses the busway, and there are poor sight-lines  if approaching from the Histon side of the busway. There is a speed limit of 40mph for eastbound buses here.
See report in Cambridge News here.

More about this accident here.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Flooding - 21 December

The busway cycle track is again flooded between St Ives and Fen Drayton Reserve, so I'd advise people to divert via Fenstanton until further notice. The track is still OK between Fen Drayton Reserve and Swavesey.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Busway cycle track open again

Cyclists will be pleased to know that the water level has now gone down and it is again possible to cycle between St Ives and Swavesey without getting your wheels or feet wet.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Latest update on flooded cycle track

Yesterday (Sunday) there was still a 300-metre stretch of the cycle track under water near Swavesey. This was the last section to fill with water when there recent floods arrives, and it is the last to drain away. From the bus I coudln't see how deep it was.



There was a shorter section still partly under water, passable on horseback, and I'm sure by bike also.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Earith flooding

As users of the busway, and readers of this blog, will be aware, the recent flooding of the main road through Earith caused huge traffic queues in St Ives which affected the punctuality of busway services. This is a regular feature of life in this area unfortunately, and happens once or twice a year whenever the River Ouse is in flood.

Today's Hunts Post ( 5 December, page 7) prints several letters  urging the County Council to build a causeway or bridge at Earith that will ensure the road is never under water.

On page 9 of the Hunts Post (5 December) is an article outlining previous attempts to build a causeway at Earith. It seems they were rejected for reasons such as - the floods were only 2-5 days a year, or  a causeway would impede water flowing out into the Ouse washes.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lights on busway cycle track

Thanks to George Alexander for alerting me to a news item on the Cambridgeshire County Council website here.

It's a proposal to spend £95,000 on providing solar powered lights for the busway cycle track - between Orchard Park and St Ives. Very handy, I'm sure. But how will the lights cope with being under water for 4 weeks a year?

The money is coming from  the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Transport Fund, which  is about 'Getting Cambridgeshire to Work'. The government has awarded £5m to be spent over the next 3 years.

If they are trying to get people to work, then, in  my opinion, it would be better spending the money on raising the level of the track so that it doesn't get flooded every time the River Ouse bursts its banks.

Very brief piece about this in the is weeks Hunts Post (5 December, page 5) where it is hailed as 'fantastic news' by Councillor Ian Bates.

More information on Cambridge News website here.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Accident at Longstanton

This week's Hunts Post has a short report about the accident  on 20 November in which a bus was derailed and the track damaged. See Hunts Post ( 28 November, page 15). Stagecoach are conducting an investigation. There are comments from one of the  passengers in the damaged bus. Passengers had to walk to the longstanton bus stop to board another bus which was then diverted via Ramper Road.

Christmas 2012 bus timetables on busway

Stagecoach Cambridge have announced their special timetable for the Christmas and New Year period. Click here.

Bus services over the Christmas and New Year period are as follows:
Sunday 23 December 2012Sunday service
Christmas EveSaturday service*
Christmas DayNo service
Boxing DayNo service
Thursday 27 DecemberSaturday service
Friday 28 DecemberSaturday service
Saturday 29 DecemberSaturday service
Sunday 30 DecemberSunday service
New Year's EveSaturday service*
New Year's DayNo service
Normal service resumes on Wednesday 2 January 2013
*Last buses on Christmas Eve as follows:
Route A2012 - Trumpington park&ride to Central Cambridge
Route A2038 - Central Cambridge to St Ives Hill Rise
Route B2011 - Huntingdon to Central Cambridge
Route B 2020 - Peterborough to Huntingdon

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Traffic congestion in St Ives

The  road at Earith, closed by flood water, seem to be having a knock-on effect on traffic in St Ives, and buses heading for the busway are being severely held up during the morning rush hour.

This image ( by Brendan Boyle) shows two buses in stationary traffic in Ramsey Road, St Ives, this morning ( 28 November). There were three As, two Bs, a C and a 22 in the traffic jam. The bus due to leave Station Road, St Ives at 0737 for Cambridge did not arrive in Cambridge until about 0900 - for the second day running!


And this one shows huge numbers of passengers waiting at Station Road, St Ives, for the buses that were held up in the traffic. Around 0830.


New busway from Waterbeach proposed

There has been a proposal to build 12,750 new house on the site of a former barracks at Waterbeach. In order to cope with the extra travel needs of this housing development  a new stretch of guided busway has been suggested linking Waterbeach with the existing busway. See article on Cambridge News website here .

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Parkside Bus Stop

The Parkside bus stop in Cambridge, served by route A west bound is closed until 30 November due to road works.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Flooding on busway

The water level in the River Great Ouse has risen since yeaterday.

The previously flooded section of the cycle track is now even deeper under water - the small concrete bridge over the floodwater channel  (immediately east of the Ouse Viaduct) is totally submerged and the nearby brick art installation is under water.

There is now a long flooded section  east of Fen Drayton Lakes, so, as at 26 November, the cycle track is effectively out of commission from St Ives to Swavesey.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Damaged busway track at Longstanton

Following  my earlier posting about the recent accident (a bus failed to enter the guideway correctly and became derailed), I have taken the opportunity of a dry Saturday morning to cycle to the site and take a few photos (from the safety of the cycle track, I hasten to add). Stephen Lawrence and Kevin have both added comments to this blog describing the damage to the busway track.

In this photo you can see where the edges of the guide track have been damaged  and patched with new concrete.


This photo shows some damage to the inner edge of the running track which has not so far been patched

Here one of the cross beams has been swivelled out of position by the accident.

The damage extends along five or six of the concrete track sections. A 10mph speed limit continues in place through the accident site.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Busway cycle track flooded

Today (23 November) the cycle track is flooded for about  200 metres  east of the Ouse Viaduct.

The heavy rainfall of the last few days in the Great Ouse's Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire headwaters is likely to reach St Ives over the weekend, so I'd expect the water level to rise even further.

The busway cycle track seems to me to be susceptible not so much to the amount of local rainfall, but to water coming down the river from its huge catchment area after periods of heavy rain. I think the river authority tries to control the flow of water by using the section between St Ives Lock and Brownshill Lock (Earith) to hold water back, probably in order to minimise closure of the main road at Earith Bridge.  I think we need to campaign for having the cyle track through the floodplain raised by another meter or more.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Guided bus comes off track

A guided bus was 'derailed' today on the busway just west of Longstanton. See Cambridge News for a very brief report. Buses were hugely delayed. There were no injuries.

A fuller version of this report is in the print edition of the Cambridge News ( 21 November, page 3). This refers to the possibility that the driver may have been taken ill.

A BBC report adds some information. The driver apparently misjudged the entrance to the busway and had to be taken to hospital. The bus was left at a 45 degree angle.

The incident is reported also on the Hunts Post website and in this week's Hunts Post ( 21 November, page 11).

I caught the 1644 A from New Square - it was already about 15 minutes late leaving Cambridge. Buses were diverted off the busway at Longstanton, via Ramper Road and through Swavesey village to rejoin the route just west of Swavesey Busway Stop. This added a further 10 minutes delay to the journey.

Another passenger waiting at New Square told me he had been waiting  over an hour for a bus to RAF Wyton.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Parkside bus stop closed 19-22 November


The Busway stop at Parkside, Cambridge, is closed from Monday 19 to Thursday 22 November 2012.
Passengers for busway service A are being advised to use New Square or Drummer Street as an alternative.
See Stagecoach service updates. This is due to road works. No temporary stop is provided near Parkside. This evening I travelled home on the 1744 A from Cambridge Railway station, and this bus was diverted via Regent Street and Park Terrace.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tron Legacy

Histon guided busway stop was the venue for the creation of a series of images by Simon Haydn and Laura Aldred . The images, inspired by the 2010 science fiction film Tron:Legacy, are intended to encourage cyclists to use lights. See Cambridge News for full story and a slideshow.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

St Ives Park & Ride

Work starts next week on doubling the size of the car park at St Ives Park & Ride. It will cost £2m and the number of parking spaces will increase from 500 to 1000. Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier ( 8 November, page 13).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cycle track flooded - again

The cycle track that runs alongside the busway was flooded this morning -  from the Ouse Viaduct eastward for about 300 metres to just beyond the concrete bridge over the flood water conduit. For mist of that stretch, the track was only partly covered with water, but near the small bridge there was water right acreoss the track. This seems to be the lowest point on the cycle track and is the first section to flood when the river level rises.

The track was passable - but if the water level riseslater  today, there could be problems for cyclists.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Delays on busway due to accident on A14

A fatal accident in which  two trucks collided on the A14 between junctions 32 and 33, had a knock on effect from busway passengers this evening. Traffic ground to a halt on Milton Road and buses leaving Cambridge on routes A and C were delayed. I was on the 16.53 from New Square, which did not reach the Science Park until 18.40. Arrival into St Ives was at 19.00, 1 hour 35 minutes late. See report in Cambridge News.

Although the busway has effectively bypassed the Fenstanton-Girton section of the A14, Milton Road is still susceptible to delays when there are problems on the A14. There are few options for buses diverting from their normal route to avoid Milton Road ( e.g. Gilbert Road and Arbury Road) but on this occasion my bus was past Arbury Road before the traffic came to a standstill.  I was not aware of any radio communication between the bus driver and the busway control centre at Longstanton.

The lorry driver killed in the accident has  been named as Richard Plumb (52) from Bury St Edmunds. See Cambridge News.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Passenger accident on guided bus

Recently there was an incident which could have happened on any bus, but I mention it on this blog because it happened at St Ives Park & Ride on a guided bus.

As a man and woman were climbing the stair to the upper deck, the bus moved off from the stop. The man slipped on the stairs and fell against the woman, who broke her leg as a result. The incident is being investigated by Stagecoast East and they are looking at CCTV footage to see if anything could be done to prevent a recurrence. See Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (1 November , page 15).

Bus passengers are vulnerable on other ways. For example, local buses are not required to have seat belts. If a bus is full and people are standing, you can be flung around if the bus stops suddenly or changes direction. It used to be recommended by some bus companies that, when alighting, you don't leave your seat until the bus has stopped - this practice, of course, if taken to its extreme would extend stop times, and slow down overall journey times.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Northstowe New Town

Today's Hunts Post ( 31 October, page 21) says that building of the new town at Northstowe begins in 2013. 'Northstowe' will be on the old airfield and barracks adjacent to the guided busway between Oakington and Longstanton.

Concerns are expressed about the transport needs of creating the new town, and there is a 'call for more transport facilities to complement the guided busway'. But no specifics are mentioned except that improvements will be made to the A14/B1050 junction at Bar Hill. Those of us who are local to the Cambridge/Bar Hill/St Ives area know what a nightmare the A14 is, and the prosepect of extra traffic from Northstowe adding to the A14's congestion problems is not a pleasing one.

It seems that the next 12 months will be spent in drawing up plans for the development.

The Cambridge News gives more details. Planning permission has been granted for the 1500 houses. The golf course will be built over. There will be a school, shops, sports facility, and community centre. Good news for cyclists is that there will be a cycle way to Bar Hill.

Two local councillors express concerns about the development. Councillor Alex Riley (Longstanton) talks about the local road network is heading for total meltdown. Councillor David Reeves (Oakington)  predicted that traffic could make Northstowe a "laughing stock nationally and a disaster locally".

Monday, 29 October 2012

Busway facilities for passengers who are blind

The bus companies which run services on the busway have been criticised for not providing audible announcements of stops on the busway for the benefit of passengers who are blind. See article in Cambridge News.

A letter in repsonse to this was published in the Cambridge News ( 6 November, page 12). It is from a swavesey resident whose sight is good, but still has difficulty signs at bus stops, especially at night or when the windows are misted up. His friend from London was astonished that our expensive transport system did not have illuminated signs to indicate the next stop. Regarding audible announcement of stops, the writer says that any small increase in noise due to such announcements would be 'vastly outweighed by their usefulness'.

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, has given his support to the campign to have announcements of bus stops made compulsory. See Cambridge News, 7 November, page 5.

Dispute with BAM Nuttall

Cambridgeshire County Council has been allowed an extension until 31 December to respond to BAM Nuttall's defence and counter claim in the on-going dispute about the guided busway. Read this report in the Cambridge News.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Concrete beams

One of the contributors to this blog has commented recently on research being carried out into the engineering characteristics of the concrete beams, specifically mid beam cracking. This has been evident on the busway from very early on. This picture was taken in 9 October 2011 on the section between St Ives and Fen Drayton, where the track is supported on deep piles.


Delays

In the last week or two, timekeeping of the Stagecoach buses on the busway at peak times has got worse and worse. It's not been helped by the roadworks in Hills Road, Cambridge.

Today I boarded an A at Parkside at about 17.05. This was heading for Marley Road, and although it was running more or less on the schedule of the Chatteris service, it must have been the previous Marley Road service. So it was running a full 30 minutes late.

While waiting for this bus to arrive, I noticed that three As were show as getting close - in 11, 12 and 13 minutes respectively. By the time I whipped my camera out, the display had changed to buses due in 8, 11 and 12 minutes.


Anyone else with tales of late running buses this week?

New busway route map

In the last few days, Stagecoach have introduced some very smart display/advertising panels which run along inside the buses, above the windows. Panels advertise St Ives ( photo of the Town Bridge and Chapel),  and benefits of buying a Smartcard.

Best is a route map somewhat in the style of London Underground trains.


The only problem is that there are three errors.  Look closely at the two pairs of bus stops - Round Church Street/Jesus Lane and St Ives Bus Station/Station Road and you'll see that the directional arrows go the wrong way.

Also the branch going to Somersham seems to imply that the guided bus to Needingworth goes via Ramsey Road and Marley Road, when, in fact, that service goes direct via Needingworth Road.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

National award for busway

The Cambridgeshire guided busway has been recognised in the National Transport Awards for the most innovative transport project. Its use of technological  and environmental innovations were commended.

See Cambridgeshire County Council's website here for more details.

There is also a report in this week's Hunts Post (17 October, page 2)

 A full list of the awards can be found on the Transport Times website.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Busway items in the Cambridge News

An ambulance crew was unable to reach a cyclist who had collapsed on the busway cycle track near Fen Drayton, because they did not have the security code to remove the bollards. The County Council had sent out the codes to the emergency services but somehow this particular ambulance crew was unaware of the code. First aid was administered by members of Over Running Club who happened to be nearby.    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/Ambulance-blocked-by-guided-busway-bollards-04102012.htm

Rain and the guided bus have apparently reduced the incidence of anti-socail behaviour in Histon. But unhelpfully the short article does not explain why.

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Rain-and-guided-bus-reduce-anti-social-behaviour-09102012.htm

Update on overcrowding

A new solution to overcrowding on the morning commuter buses was revealed today.

I boarded the 0737 A at Station Road, St Ives. The bus already had people standing when it arrived. More boarded at the Park & Ride. The driver announced that  he was allowed to have 30 people standing. He then asked the people sitting in the tip-up seats to stand so that the full 30 standing passengers could be squeezed into that space.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Michaelmas Fair chaos at St Ives

Once again the centre of St Ives is subject to traffic chaos due to the lack of joined up thinking as regards the Monday Market and the Michaelmas Fair.

The main market square is mostly unavailable to the regular market, so the  market stalls are in the bus station.


This means that buses which terminate or start from St Ives Bus Station are displaced to the bus stop in The Quadrant, where there is no space of buses to lay over between trips.



Cambridge-bound guided buses are using their regular stop in Station Road, but  west-bound guided buses are having to divert via Meadow Lane, and loop round the Quadrant one way system twice.

As far as I can see there is no information about these diversions on the Stagecoach  or Whippet websites, nor on the Busway website.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Busway survey report

One reason the busway got funding was because it was hoped it would attract people out of their cars, and specifically people would switch from driving on the A14 to using the bus.

Cambridgeshire County Council has recently published a report which claims that the busway has taken 600,000 car journeys off the A14. See the Cambridge News website for more details of what the report says.

There is a link to the busway survey report here.

Overcrowded buses - this week's Hunts Post

Today's Hunts Post (3 Oct, page 6) has a letter from a Broughton resident complaining about the overcrowded guided buses ever since the college term started.

Andy Campbell of Stagecoach East replies to say that it is often the case that students want to travel at the same time for the first few weeks of the new term in September. This usually subsides after a few weeks when they obtain their timetables with varied starts.' He goes on to add that Stagecoach have increased the bus service for 6 an hour to 8 an hour, that they have added 3 extra journeys on college days to meet the demand, and that they are monitoring the situation.

Not sure how the monitoring process happens - but I'd like to suggest that an extra service A at about 07.35 from St Ives might help. I guess a double decker is out of the question as it couldn't get under the Hills Road bridge near Cambridge railway station.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Traffic congestion in Jesus Lane, Cambridge

Yesterday (Sunday) I travelled into Cambridge on the B route. My return journey was on the 1220 departure from Drummer Street. This bus was late arriving at Cambridge, and so was also late departing. It had to make a diversion via Victoria Avenue and Chesterton Lane because Jesus Lane was nose-to-tail with cars, I guess trying to get into the Park Street Car Park. I've experienced delays to buses due to Park Street traffic before, but  his was the worst I've seen. As a result of the diversion, the bus did not call at Jesus Lane/Cloister Court - which I was quite pleased about, but any passengers waiting at Jesus Lane would not be so happy. It's an example of how busway services can be adversely affected by traffic conditions on the normal roads.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bus passenger survey

Yesterday I was given a 'Bus Passenger Survey' form during my morning jurney to work.

The survey was being oconducted by Passengerfocus - the official, independent consumer organisation that represents bus passengers across England, except London. It also represents rail passengers. I was not sure at whose behest this survey was being carried out on the busway - but the Passengerfocus website indicates that Passengerfocus regularly samples bus passenger opinion in different parts of the country. Click here to see the results of previous surveys, the latest being March 2012.

As luck would have it, the journey about which I filled in the survey form, was running about 12 minutes late, and was grossly overcrowded. So some of my responses leaned towards the 'not very satisfied' end of the spectrum.

This is clearly a different survey from the one Stagecoach were recently conducting as regards the morning peak hour overcrowding.

Has anyone else been offered a Passengerfocus survey form?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012

Lights for cyclists

A proposal has been made to provide solar lighting for cyclists and walkers on the southern section of the guided busway between Cambrdige Station and Trumpington. See Cambridge News website.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Update on Station Road bus stop

The bus stop structure now appears to be complete and a timetable poster has been placed in the notice board at the stop. The lights seem to be working. However, the real time bus display is not functioning yet.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Station Road bus stop, St Ives - work has restarted

Work is again in progress on providing (I guess) a proper shelter at the Station Road bus stop (12 September).



There is a temporary stop, with no timetable information, further along the road.


Next day (13 September). The frame of the bus stop is in place, including a bench. The bus stop lights are working, but as yet no roof or ticket machine.











Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Car trap at St Ives

On 3 September, a motorist, who failed to see the road signs, drove into the car trap  at St Ives. She claims that a double decker bus obscured the signs, though Cambridgeshire County Council says that the signs are 'ample'. The person driving the recovery vehicle says he has about two call-outs a week to the car trap. ( Hunts Post, 12 September, page 15)

New bus stop for Houghton and Wyton

It seems absurd that Stagecoach's route B does not stop at Houghton, a sizeable village of perhaps 2000-3000 people. The Hunts Post ( 12 September, page 15) reaveals that Stagecoach would call at Houghton if a bus stop could be provided on the main road (A1123). Cambridgeshire County Council says a bus stop would cost £50,000 and it seems also there are design problems about where to site the stop. Yet, a mile along the road, buses call at the stop beside the Marina where there is no layby and scarcely even a bit of pavement from people to wait on. I also wonder why there is no bus stop at Huntingdon Garden and Leisure, which must surely be a magnet for passengers.

Station Road bus stop - more letters

This week's Hunts Post (12 September, pages 6 and 7) prints two letters about the problems of the new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives. How absurd it is that old and vulnerable people waiting for buses to hospital have to wait on a busy pavemnt in eth open when there is a waiting room only yards away in the bus station! Buses waiting at the stop are lilkely to impede emergency vehicles, and block sightlines which make crossing roads nearby dangerous  for pedestrians. There is a suggestion that parking should be restricted in Station Road, and the exit from the Waitrose car park into Station Road be closed.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Customer care?

A letter in this week's Hunts Post (5 September, page 6) from a Houghton resident describes an incident at Drummer Street Bus Station when a Stagecoach bus driver watched a passenger run for the bus, and drove off when the  passenger was within about three paces of the bus door. Two other Stagecoach drivers who saw the incident simply shrugged their shoulders.

Overcrowding on morning commuter buses

Since the school term started on Tuesday, the bus I travel to work on has been grossly overcrowded every day. This is the 0720 A from Wyton Camp, which I board at Station Road, St Ives.  Passengers have had to stand from St Ives Park & Ride. On Tuesday and today (Thursday), there were so many people standing in the aisle (well over 20), that no-one could be picked up at Lonstanton, Oakington and Histon. The new timetable may inded be providing extra seating capacity during the middle of the day, but it seems that around 0730 the existing timetable cannot cope with the demand.



Have other journeys been affected by overcrowding?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

More about the Station Road bus stop and a comment on the economic impact of the busway for St Ives

Today's Hunts Post ( 5 September) includes three letters about the Station Road bus stop in St Ives, including one from a Fenstanton resident who has been in correspondence with the County Council about the problems. The letter is well worth reading as it reveals quite a bit about the process that resulted in this very  inadequate response to perceived overcrowding in St Ives Bus Station. This is on page 6.

Pressure on St Ives Bus Station is evidently reducing, as instanced by an article elsewhere in the paper (page 11). This covers withdrawal of an early morning bus  (service 21) that was used by young people from Needingworth travelling to St Ivo School. Stagecoach lost the school transport contract for Pidley, Somersham, Colne, Bluntisham and Earith to Whippet and Dew's, which has rendered that particular journey uneconomic. Needingworth pupils live less than 3 miles from the Ivo and are therefore not entitled to free travel to school. Whippet and Dew's buses currently have only 13 places available, at a cost of £150 per term, for pupils from Needingworth to use.

On page 7 are two letters grouped together under the heading of  'The sorry tale of two market towns' i.e. Huntingdon and St Ives. There is clearly a perception that St Ives has better shopping facilities than Huntingdon, but  the owners of an independent St Ives shop refer to their declining  trade. Although it has  been suggested that the busway has brought trade into St Ives, these shop owners would dispute that.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Congestion in Station Road, St Ives

This week's Hunts Post (29 August) didn't drop through my letter box until Friday, and although I had looked at the online version earlier in the week, I  missed a short letter from a St Ives resident that was on page 7. It was about the chaos in Station Road, St Ives, on market day ( Monday 20 August) due to a bus picking up passengers at the new bus stop, with cars queued behind it, and a bus coming the other way, from the Cambridge direction. The letter writer thinks that whoever decided on the site of the new bus stop hadn't 'given the idea much thought'.

I wasn't in St Ives the following Monday (26 August) for the Bank Holiday market. Did any readers of this blog  see how the new bus stop performed, whether the bus station was taken over by market stalls, and whether buses had to be diverted?


Friday, 31 August 2012

Timetable changes from 3 September

There appear to be some timetable changes to the Stagecoach route A starting from Monday 3 September. You can see the changes here , though the format makes it a bit difficult to read.

Some early morning services from north of St Ives will serve the new bus stop in Station Road instead of St Ives Bus Station Bay 3. These are  (Monday-Friday) the 0605 and 0705 from Somersham, the 0625 and 0725 from Ramsey and the 0645 from Chatteris. On Saturdays only the 0705 from Somersham is affected.

'Schoolday only' services are starting as from Tuesday 4 September. Dates of operation will be 4 September - 26 October, 5 November - 21 December and 8-9 January. That last pair of dates perhaps suggest another timetable revision might be planned for 10  January.

The following schoolday journeys will run:

0740 Burrel Road to Long Road
0750 Ansley Way to Cambridge Rail Station
0805 Anslet Way to Cambridge Rail Station

and in the afternoon:

1614 Cambridge Rail Station to Ansley Way
1625 Long Road to St Ives Bus Station where it will connect into
1717 St Ives Bus Station to Somersham via Bluntisham

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Station Road bus stop - work continues

In the last couple of days, after a gap of several weeks, work appears to have resumed on the Station Road bus stop in St Ives, which is the new departure pointg for busway service towards Cambridge in central St Ives. 'Men at work' signs and barriers have appeared, and a small metal cabinet has been set in place. I wonder if they are about to instal a ticket machine. Or perhaps the box is intended to control the lights in a yet-to-be-built shelter.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

St Ives Station Road Bus Stop

The new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives, has now been in operation for  several weeks. as expected, it has caused traffic congestion. The Hunts Post ( 22 August, page 15) shows two photos of Station Road. There is a van parked on the double yellow opposite the bus stop preventing west bound traffic from passing. Colin Saunderson, a former St Ives Town councillor, who had campaigned for the stop to be at a better location, blames the Cambridgeshire County Council for siting the stop in the wrong position.The County Council claims they have had no complaints.  If you have observed any congestion problems in Station Road, you can write to editor@huntspost.co.uk . It would also be a good idea to write to your county councillor.

Poor bus service between St Ives and Huntingdon

This week's Hunts Post (22 August, page 6) carries a letter from a St Ives resident who was trying to catch the bus to Huntingdon en route for the Olympics. She noticed six buses going towards Cambridge while she waited for 40 minutes for a bus heading towards Huntingdon.  Unfortunately she was waiting in Ramsey Road, and as readers of this blog will know, the Huntingdon-bound buses no longer travel the top end of Ramsey Road. The writer mentions difficulties getting information about the bus services, and also unhelpful or non-existent responses from Philip Norwell of Stagecoach in response to questions about the timetable.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Busway's first birthday - report in News & Crier

Today's  Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (9 August, page 19) includes a full page devoted to the busway's first birthday. Chris Havergal asks whether the celebrations are justified. Although the number of journeys ( 2.5 million) in the first year is above target, it includes journeys made in guided buses off the busway, and bus operators do not expect fully to recoup their investments until Northstowe new town is built. Has the busway been 'value for money'? What evidence is there that the busway has reduced traffic on the A14? Finally there is the court case between Cambridgeshire County Council and BAM Nuttall still to be resolved - the case will not start until January 2014.

A similar article can be viewed on the Cambridge News website here.

There are two letters in the News & Crier ( 9 August, page 6) about the Station Road bus stop in St Ives.  Note that this bus stop is still unfinished : the top layer of tar hasn't been added, and there is no shelter.

Comments from readers of this blog welcome. What have been your experiences of the busway?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Harrison Way congestion and bus connections to Huntingdon Railway Station

This week's Hunts Post (8 August) has two items about the busway.

First,  a piece entitled 'Ring road peak flow now smoother' (page 2). Engineers have changed the timings of the traffic lights at the Harrison Way/Busway crossing to reduce the number of times cars have to stop when both pedestrians and buses are at the junction.  It is worth noting that traffic is light at the moment because of the school holidays, and it remains to be seen how the new lights sequence will perform when traffic increases at the start of the school term.

Second, a letter from a Bluntisham resident about connectiosn between the busway and trains at Huntingdon Railway Station. It is a response to Philip Newell's comment last week on behalf of Stagecoach. The letter gives a couple of example of how the service B does not connect with trains.

Monday, 6 August 2012

New Stagecoach route B service

There don't seem to be any timetable booklets available yet for the new timetable which started today. But you can find a link to it here . On my homeward bus journey this evening they were still giving out the  22 July timetable, which, of course, now gives erroneous information about journeys north and west of Huntingdon.

If you go to the County Council's bus pages  you can find the version of the timetabel that shows every bus stop. Click here. There is a note at the top of the timetable saying ' The information on this timetable is expected to be valid until at least 29th August 2012'. This suggest to me that Stagecoach may be planning yet more changes, perhaps to coincide with the start of the school term.



Saturday, 4 August 2012

A trip to Peterborough on the guided bus

Today was the last day of the unrevised  Stagecoach service B, so I decided to take a trip to Peterborough. I caught the 1321  B from St Ives. This was in the interest of 'research' but I did visit Peterborough Cathedral.

The13.21 bus left St Ives 5 minutes late, and reached Peterborough 9 minutes late. So we dropped 4 minutes against the schedule.   2 minutes were lost between St Ives and Hartford, which it is not possible to cover in the 10 minutes allowed by the timetable. So Stagecoach are right to ease the time on this section of the route.

I had imagined that the B ran as an express between Huntingdon and Peterborough, but this is not the case. The bus stops on request  at all bus stops en route, so on this trip we picked up of set down passengers at Stukeley Meadows, RAF Alconbury, two different stops in Sawtry, Norman Cross ( possibly someone heading for Stilton which has been bypassed by the new timetable) and Serpentine Green. At no point were there more than 11 passengers on board, and only 8 alighted at the end of the journey.

The return journey was at 1615 from Peterborough with 21 passengers on board.  Passengers boarded or alighted at Serpentine Green, 4 different stops in Sawtry,  and Great Stukeley. We were 6 minutes late reaching Huntingdon, but made up the time between Huntingdon and St Ives, arriving at St Ives on time.

The extra 10 minutes allowed in the new timetable due to start from Monday 6 August should give enough  flexibility to allow for passenger stops and traffic conditions.

It is a puzzle why Stagecoach have cut the large village of Stilton out of the route. And I do not see how they imagine that tacking what is really a 'stopping' service onto the end of the busway route is going to attract people to use the bus for Peterborough-Cambridge journeys.

Has anyone else travelled the Huntingdon-Peterborough section?


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

More changes to service B timetable

Stagecoach are having to make changes to the service B timetable in order to improve punctuality. In an email today, they say these amendments will be introduced from Monday 5th August, but I assume that should read Monday 6th August. Here are the changes they are making:
  • Buses from Peterborough, Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Huntingdon rail station are retimed to leave up to 15 minutes later.
  • Buses from St Ives towards Huntingdon will arrive at Hartford and all stops to Hinchingbrooke Hospital up to 3 minutes later.
  • Buses are retimed between Huntingdon and Peterborough to give extra time for the journey. All leave and arrive slightly later.
  • Evening buses from Huntingdon to Cambridge after 1900 hours and return buses from Cambridge after 2000 hours run 10 minutes later throughout.
  • There are no changes to bus times on The Busway track during the daytime.
  • There are no changes to route A.
Attached to the email is a pdf of the amended timetable , but it does not yet appear on the Stagecoach website.

Despite what the email says, the revised departures from Peterborough seem generally to be 5 minutes after the current timetable. Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Huntingdon Rail Station departures are 15 minutes later than now. the Peterborough to Huntingdon running time is slowed from 48 to 58 minutes ( 44 to 49 minutes northbound), and Peterborough to Cambridge Drummer Street is now 2 hours 2 minutes ( 1 hour 59 minutes going north).

Evening buses on service B from Drummer Street will leave at 1953 (as now), then 2103, 2133, 2233 and 2333. There are As from New Square (but not Drummer Street) plugging the long gap between the 1953 and 2103  B departures.

I guess they will now have to reprint their recently published timetable booklet!

Hunts Post - 1 August

Four items of busway interest in this week's Hunts Post ( 1 August).

First ( page 6) , a letter from a resident of St Ives who has been using the bus to/from Huntingdon Rail Station for his daily commute. The new timetable has reduced the service to the station. he alos comments thta the buses don't comnnect well with the trains.  Stagecoach reply pointing out that the new evening frequency is the same as before, and that the Hinchingbrooke buses call at the stop on Brampton Road adjacent to the station. This isn't made clear by the published timetable though.

On page 14 are three articles about the busway.

Cambridgeshire County Council says that usage of the busway has been more than expected, reaching 2.5 million in the first year. They are expecting 3 million in year 2.

Whippet say their first year on the busway has been better than expected. Stagecoach.

Stagecoach refer to their heavy investment in vehicales and staff training. Their big question is - when will they get the return on their investment? In fact, they don't see that happening until the Northstowe development gets going.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Busway extension to Peterborough 'an experiment'

According to the Cambridge News, the extension of Stagecoach's busway service B to Peterborough is an experiment. The article also covers the worrying fact that some of the advertised services to Peterborough  terminated at Huntingdon last week. This is being blamed on driver confusion or coming to the end of his/her shift. It would be charitable to think these problems are just teething troubles, but  poor organisation and inadequate driver training seem more likely culprits. Stagecoach really have no excuse - after all they have been in the business of providing bus services for years.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Improvements to Station Road bus stop in St Ives



The new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives, which was built to allow guided buses heading to Cambridge to skip the loop through St Ives bus station, opened on Sunday even though it was incomplete. In the past 48 hours a proper bus stop sign has appeared, and below it a small version of the timetable.


However, the sign says that the buses from this stop go to St Ives and Central Cambridge, which is bizarre since most of St Ives is in the opposite direction. I guess
by 'St Ives' they mean 'St ives Park & Ride'. 

 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Busway in this week's Hunts Post

Nothing as far as I can see about the new bus timetable and the extensions of services to Peterborough, Hinchingbrooke, Wyton Camp and Burley Road. But there is a letter from  Needingworth resident about the chaos at St Ives Bus station on Monday morning. The writer comments that there were no new timetables on dispaly, and only one Stagecoach employee on hand to redirect passengers to the new stop in Station road. In Station Road, traffic congestion built up on two occasions due to a lorry unloading at Petzone and  an ambulance parked opposite the bus stop. Also noted is that lack of a waiting shelter, and a concern that large numbers of waiting passengers could block the pavement . Hunts Post (25 July, page 6)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

New timetable - Tuesday

Sometime yesterday (Monday) a poster was put up in St Ives Bus station advising passengers to go to the new bus stop in Station Road if they wanted to travel towards Cambridge. This should have been in place before start of service on Sunday, and it would have been even more helpful if advance notice had been given.

My bus home last night (the Trumpington to Chatteris service) appeared on time at Parkside showing the destination 'St Ives'. The driver seemed unaware that the bus was going beyond St Ives, which did not give passengers any confidence that they'd get home. A change of drivers  happened at St Ives Park & Ride, and the new driver was able to confirm that passengers for Ramsey Road and Fenton Road, Warboys, would get to their destinations.  Another passenger mentined to me that about 11am a whole string of buses turned up at Station Road, indicating that the new timetable had got very out of sync.

This morning I caught the 07.22 A which arrived in New Square about a minute late.  A close look at the new timetable shows that the A now takes 2 minutes less than the B between Central Cambridge and Histon. In the old timetable, the A was regularly early getting into Cambridge, and could often catch up a few minutes on the way out of Cambridge.

Please keep writing comments on the blog about the teething troubles of the new timetable.

Monday, 23 July 2012

New timetable - Monday

My intention was to catch the 0737 service A from St Ives to Cambridge this morning. The 0730 B left the new Station Road bus stop on time, but the 0737 did not show. I boarded the 0745 B, which left more or less on time and reached Cambridge 7 minutes late. Live bus times were not showing for the A at the intermediate stops, so I have no idea whether the bus was cancelled or just running late.  Under the previous timetable, the service A towards Cambridge could usually be relied on for keeping good time. It remains to be seen whether the new timetable will offer this level of reliability. Still no sign of new timetable information at St Ives bus station.

New timetable, new bus stop

The new bus timetable  for Stagecoach service B began officially yesterday monring (Sunday 22nd), although the only change was that Cambridge-bound services were departing from the new stop  in Station Road rather than St Ives Bus Station. Well, that was the theory. In practice,  no new timetable information had been posted in the bus station, and there was nothing to direct passengers to the new stop. the 0840 bus called at Station Road, then looped round the bus station to pick up passengers there. I travelled to Cambridge on the 09.40, which also picked up atStation Road and the Bus Station.
Passengers boarding the first bus from the new, unfinished, Station Road bus stop (0840 Sunday 22 July).

Friday, 20 July 2012

Station Road bus stop not ready for new bus timetable

The new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives,  appears not to be ready for the start of the new bus timetable on Sunday. Although 'Bus Stop' has been painted on the roadway, the final tar surface of the bus stop has not been laid, there is no shelter for waiting passengers, and the 'bus stop' sign is a temporary one. The  new Stagecoach timetable is due to start on Sunday, with the 08.40 departure from St Ives to Cambridge as the first departure.



New timetables  for Cambridge - Peterborough can be viewed  here.
New timetables for Ramsey, Chatteris and Somersham to Cambridge can be viewed here.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Busway flooding - latest update

There is now only one very short section of the cycle track under water - close to the small concrete bridge a short distance east of the Ouse Viaduct. From the bus this morning I could not see how deep the water was, but the floodd was shorter, and therefore must be shallower than it had been on Sunday evening when I managed to cycle through this flooded section.

Friday 20th  - morning - cycle track looks passable though a small amount of water is still lying  near the small concrete bridge.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Busway flooding - update

Flood water levels have gone down today. The dip west of the Ouse Viaduct is now dry.  However, east of the Ouse Viaduct there is still a section under water.

Bus services to villages between Huntingdon and Peterborough

As noted in earlier posts, extension of the busway service B to Peterborough means that Stagecoach is withdrawing its service 46 between Huntingdon and Stilton, and leaving several villages with no bus service. The Hunts Post ( 18 July, page 21) reports that Nene & Ouse Valley Community Transport will provide a bus service linking Huntingdon with Alconbury Weston, Sawtry, Glatton, Norman Cross and Stilton. There will be about 6 daily journeys.

Safety concerns about new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives

A bus driver has expressed his concerns about safety aspects of the new bus stop for Cambridge-bound busway buses, which is due to come into service on Sunday 22nd July. See Hunts Post (July 18, page 9). The new bus stop projects 6 feet into the road, and  when a bus is stopped there, three-quarters of he roadway will be occupied. THis has implications for other traffic trying to pass the buses, given that sight lines are poor.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Floods affecting busway cycle track

Today's Cambridge News (17 July, page 3) includes a photo of the flooded cycle track, and a comment from Cambridgeshire County Council.

Bicycle thefts on busway

Police are trying to crack down on bicycle thefts which have been happening at cycle parks on the guided busway. According to the Cambridge News , police officers will be visiting busway stations between 7.30am and 9am (Tuesday 17th July), between 7.30am and 9am and from 4pm to 6pm on Wednesday 18th July , between 4pm and 6pm on Thursday 19th July,  and on Friday  20th July between 7am and 8.30am and from 4pm to 6pm.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cycle track flooded again

The busway cycle track is under water for about 400 metres just to the east of the Ouse Viaduct.  At about 6pm Sunday, the water was 25 cm deep and rising.



Wednesday, 11 July 2012

New busway timetable published

Stagecoach has published its new timetable for routes A and B due to start from 23 July. Timetable posted here.

Early morning journey from Somersham and Chatteris continue to be available, and a couple of new early morning services run from Ramsey and Warboys to Cambridge. There are similar return journeys to these places in the evening.

There are two buses an hour to Hinchingbrooke Hospital and one an hour to Peterborough.

Huntingdon Railway Station is served by only one bus an hour, but, of course, the Hinchingbrooke services stop on Brampton Road just outside the Station.

Pedestrian shortcut from busway to Cambridge Station

The Cambridge News reports that a steps are to be built linking the Hills Road Bridge with the guided busway path below. This will provide a pedestrian shortcut to/from Cambridge Rail Station. Due to the constricted site, a cycle path cannot be provided, but there will be a channel beside the steps allowing cyclists to wheel their bikes. Cambridgeshire County Council has voted £500,000 for the project.

Nature and the busway

As a regular traveller between St Ives and Cambridge, I have been amazed and inspired by the magnificent display of wild flowers on the busway verges - ox eye daisies, poppies, mullein, mallow, Queen Anne's Lace to name a few of the more prominent species. Now many of the flowers have reached the seeding stage, and in the last few days the verges adjacent to the tracks have been trimmed. But the untrimmed areas further from the bus tracks are still looking glorious.


Evidently some residents of Orchard Park feel that these colourful verges are simply 'weeds'. See report  by Chris Havergal in the Cambridge News. The comments posted on the newspaper's website about this are interesting. There seems to be a split between those who think the 'weeds' are a blot on the landscape, and those who welcome these lush verges as a haven for wildlife.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

New bus stop in Station Road, St Ives

Work has begun on creating  a new bus stop in Station Road, St Ives. This is intended to ease congestion in St Ives Bus Station and means that Cambridge-bound buses on Routes A and B won't have to loop around the bus station. The stop will project out into Station Road at the front of Coral betting shop and the Hyperion auction house. The site of the bus stop has now been marked on the roadway.





Progress at end of Day 1 of works (9 July) - a conduit has been installed across the road, possibly for electric supply to the new bus stop.


End of Day 2 (10 July) - bus stop kerb has been partly built -  temporary traffic lights were in operation, causing traffic congestion and delays to buses to and from the Bus Station.


Day 3 (11 July) - congestion during construction work



End of Day 3 (11 July) - kerb round new bus stop is almost complete.


End of Day 4 (12 July) - no visible progress today, as far as I can see.

End of Day 5 (13 July) - nothing seems to have happened today either, which is worrying as the new bus service is due to start in just over a week.

End of Day 6 (16 July) - the new bus stop now has its base layer of tar. A sign saying 'Temporary Bus Stop' has appeared, which perhaps suggest that the buses will start calling there before work has been completed.



End of Day 7 (17 July) - two bollards and a post which will perhaps carry the bus stop sign have been erected.

End of Day 8 (18 July) - no visible progress on the bus stop today.

End of Day 9 (19 July) - no further work
 today.

End of Day 10 (20 July) - the bus stop has now been marked out on the road in yellow, but the final tar surface of the bus stop has not been laid, and there is still a temporary sign in place. There is no shelter for waiting passengers.

For more information about the bus stop, see blog post dated 20th July. Click here.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Busway shortlisted for award

The busway has been shortlisted for the most innovative transport project in this year's National Transport Awards. See item in Cambridge News.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Busway services to Peterborough

The timetable for the busway service B extension from Huntingdon to Peterborough is now available on the Cambridgeshire County Council website here. Or here.

Departures from Huntingdon are at 05.50 then hourly until 16.50 then 17.20, 18.20, 19.20. From Peterborough they are at 06.45, 07.45, 09.15 then hourly until 20.15. The service operates Monday to Saturday. Journey time is 44 or 45 minutes.

Intermediate calling points are described as follows: Little Stukeley opposite RAF Alconbury Main Gate (northbound), Alconbury near RAF Main Gate (southbound), Sawtry opposite Tinkers Lane, Hampton Serpentine Green.

Bizarrely, the Huntingdon to Peterborough journeys are shown in the same table as Huntingdon to Cambridge journeys, and vice versa - so  there is no indication of whether they are through journeys between Peterborough and Cambridge.

Link to Studley's tidied up version of the Peterborough-Cambridge timetable here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Roadworks affecting route A at Addenbrooke's

Stagecoach East have issued a bulletin about roadworks taking place at Addenbrooke's:

Buses on route A will be unable to serve Robinson Way Cambridge (Addenbrooke's Hospital) from 1900 on 5th July 2012 until 0700 on 11th July 2012 due to roadworks.

In addition to this buses will be unable to serve the bus stop at the out-patients centre between 0700 and 1400 on Saturday 7th July 2012.

Customers are advised to use the stops in Keith Day Road as an alternative for both closures.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Busway route B extension to Peterborough

Following the proposal by Stagecoach to extend busway service B from Huntingdon to Peterborough calling at Sawtry only, and to withdraw its service 46 between Huntingdon and Stilton, thereby leaving the Alconburys without a bus service, there has been a protest meeting attended by 250-300 people. See Hunts Post ( 27 June, page 3). The Hunts Post says that Cllr Maguire has suggested Stagecoach increases fares rather than cut the service, and that Cambridgeshire county council's Transport Manager, Paul Nelson, is investigating a 'community transport solution' for the Alconburys.

On page 7 of the same issue are 3 letters about the bus changes. One asks where in Sawtry the route B will stop, and suggests the need for an alternative bus route , presumably to link the string of villages, between which it will soon be impossible to travel by bus. A resident of St Ives calls for an enforceable public transport policy. Councillors Kadic and Brown write to say they are determined to ensure that the Alconburys have a bus service that meets local needs.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Race for Life - alteration to bus route B

On Sunday 1 July Stagecoach route B will be unable to call at bus stops in Jesus Lane and Round Church Street until 2pm. This is due to the Race for Life which is taking place in Cambridge that day. Click here for details of alterations.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

A closer look at the new route A timetable


Stagecoach has been saying for a while that the busway route A would be extended to serve St Ives Bus Station and the northern part of St Ives. I got the impression that the bus route would form a loop turning left at the Seven Wives, then right into Hill Rise and right again to return towards Cambridge down the top section of Ramsey Road. 
However, the new timetable, as revealed on Cambridgeshire County Council’s transport pages (click here), seems to indicate that the buses won’t perform this loop, but will run either to St Ives Burrel Road or to Wyton Camp via Ansley way, which I think is bus-speak for one of the stops in Hill Rise. 
When I looked in detail at the timetable, it struck me that route A doesn’t provide a consistent service frequency throughout the working day to the northern end of St Ives. 

So what will the service be like? 
Monday-Friday departures from Wyton Camp will be at 06.20 then 07.20, then every half hour until 17.20, then 17.58, 18.28 and 18.58. There is an extra early morning journey starting from Ansley Way ( i.e. Hill Rise) at 05.57. But no 06.50 departure, which you'd think would be a peak travel to work journey. During this early morning period, several route A journeys towards Cambridge start from St Ives Bus Station.
From Burrel Road ( Mopnday-Friday) buses will leave at 07.40 (school days only), then 08.10 and every half hour until 17.10. So, as with the Wyton Camp service, a bit thin on the ground during the morning peak for passengers heading towards Cambridge. 

Heading out from Cambridge, the first A  of the day arrives at Wyton Camp at 08.11 then half hourly until 17.41 (which is the 16.27 from Trumpington and16.53 from Cambridge New Square). Then follows an inexplicable one-and-a half-hour gap when service A runs no further than St Ives Bus Station, forcing passengers from Trumpington, Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge Railway Station, Parkside,The Science Park and CRC, to have to change onto a B, which, of course, won’t take them further up Ramsey Road than the Seven Wives.  Later arrivals at Wyton Camp are at 19.11, 19.26, 19.56, 20.26, with two further journeys terminating at Ansley Way at 20.49 and 21.19. 

Arrivals at Burrel Road are at 08.51 then half hourly until 1721, which is the 16.38 departure from Cambridge New Square, and a bit early for most people finishing work. Curiously the Saturday service to both Wyton Camp and Burrel Road is steadier throughout the day, and there is no evening gap in service to Wyton Camp.
During the late evening, route B serves the top of Ramsey Road and Hill Rise as at present, with four trips in each direction Monday-Saturday. There is no change to the Sunday bus service.


I hope I have understood the new timetable correctly. As I mentioned in another posting, the old and new times are mingled together in a single timetable, which makes reading it difficult.

Swan killed by guided bus

The Cambridge News has revealed that a swan was killed on the busway recently when it flew in the wrong direction and was hit by a passing guided bus.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bus petition

The Hunts Post ( 20 June, page 25) reports that about 300 people have signed a petition against bus service changes affecting the northern end of St Ives. Route B will run fast from St Ives to Huntingdon by skipping the top end of Ramsey Road and Hill Rise.  Route A will serve those parts of St Ives, but will not link to Huntingdon. Andy Campbell, of Stagecoach, is, in effect, saying that not enough people travel from Ramsey Road / Hill Rise to Huntingdon to justify the detour, and that providing faster service between Cambridge, St Ives and Huntingdon has priority.

Busway feeder routes

A Bluntisham resident complain that changes to the service 21 will result in her husband being unable to catch his bus connection to Huntingdon Station for his commute to work ( Hunts Post, 20 June, page 15). Stagecoach says this service is run 'on the back of the St Ivo School transport contract' which contract their manager, Andy Campbell, is confident of retaining. If he does retain the contract, reinstatement of the current level of service would be one of the likely options, but there are clearly no guarantees. Although no information about changes to Stagecoach's service 21 are yet to be found on the County Council's bus service web pages, the route A services that leave Somersham and service Bluntisham at 06.10, 06.30 and 06.50 are shown as ending on 20 July.  The 06.45 route A connection from Chatteris and Pidley is being withdrawn. Click here to see timetable.

Serving the villages north of St Ives with viable buses linking to busway services going in both directions is fraught with problems, and judging by the success of St Ives Park & Ride, many people from these places are simply driving to the busway. The poor frequency of the village buses, and the often roundabout routes they take in order to serve a loop of villages, is not working for them.

Busway extension to Peterborough

The intention of Stagecoach to extend its busway service to run between Huntingdon and Peterborough has taken a step forward, with Andy Campbell of Stagecoach stating that he has applied to the local authority to change existing service 46 and to register a new route B between those two places. The B will run through to/from the busway and link Peterborough with Cambridge (Hunts Post, 20 June, page 7). This information is provided in an editor's  note and responds to letters from residents of Stilton and Alconbury Weston, villages that are affected by these changes. The 46 will be withdrawn south of Stilton, and the new service B will serve Sawtry, thus depriving Stilton of a serve to Sawtry and Huntingdon. The villages of Alconbury, Alconbury Weston and Upton (total population about 2700) will be left without a bus service, it seems. The decision is being made, says Mr Campbell, on commercial grounds, and he thinks the new timetables will 'replace most of the current passenger journeys to and from Huntingdon'.  Options for intermediate journeys, it seems, are of no interest to Stagecoach, and neither is the concept of providing a regular ( until now hourly) service linking the string of sizeable villages on the route with the towns at either end. On of the letter writers wonders why Cambridgeshire County Council made the investment in the busway only for bus companies to withdraw feeder services. Elsewhere in the same issue of Hunts Post ( 20 June, page 15) are two articles on the same topic. Andy Campbell is said to blame the County Council for cutting its subsidies to bus services, combined with a cut in the bus service operators' grant for Stagecoach's decision.

Revised timetables for Stagecoach busway services starting 23 July

The new busway timetable for Stagecoach's services A and B can now be viewed on Cambridgeshire County Council's bus timetable pages. Click here for details in 'print format'. Unfortunately the format does not make viewing easy as the current times and the new times are not separated out into two independent tables. However, there is a useful list of SMS codes for stops served by the A and B.  Wyton Camp gains a half hourly service  (route A)to/from St Ives and Cambridge for most of the day Monday-Saturday.  The other two route A service each hour terminate at Burrel Road in St Ives. Hinchingbrooke Hospital gets two service B per hour, and Huntingdon rail Station one an hour. Of course, the Hinchingbrooke buses wil stop on Brampton Road just outside ths railway station.For details of what those services are, click here. The revised times are not yet available on the Stagecoach website.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Busway botany

Anyone travelling the busway during the last week or two cannot fail to have noticed the stunning display of wildflowers, and especially the millions of Ox Eye Daisies. My friend Andrew Brown took this picture and has kindly allowed me to use it here.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Chesterton railway station

Plans for the new railway station at Chesterton, which will be linked by an extension to the guided busway, have been revealed by Cambridgeshire County Council, according to the Cambridge News (12 June). Government approval for the station, which will open in 2015, has now been granted. The Cambridge News article has an annotated aerial view of the new station site and its surroundings.

Continuing saga of Station Road bus stop and congestion at Harrison Way

There is a cracking letter in this week's Hunts Post (13 June, page 6) about several of the on-going issues to do with the busway in St Ives. First, the proposed bus stop in Station Road, close to what the writer describes as a 'dangerous junction'. He recommends viewing the junction on the Fink Creative webcam. The webcam only refreshes every minute, so you may have to wait a while to see a bus coming round the corner. It is a sharper-than-90-degrees corner, and buses have to swing right out to make the turning. He is certain that extending the service A into the town centre will reduce congestion on Harrison Way, but questions why the County Council thinks it must provide a bus stop near St Ives Bus Station when at Cambridge the A does not stop at Drummer Street Bus Station. The existing bus stops at East Road and The Quadrant are being ovelooked as alternatives to Station Road. The letter also discusses the lack of a car park at Swavesey, concern about the extra £2m of government money to ecnourage traffic off the A14, the extra traffic on the A1096 due to motorists coming off the A14 to St Ives Park & Ride, and proposes peak-hour traffic lights at the Meadow Lane roundabout linked to measures to prevent rat-running through central St Ives.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Compensation for loss of gardens at Trumpington

One little known side effect of building the busway is that some land had to be bought from 34 householders in Trumpington, who lost a strip off their gardens. Apparently these people have not yet been paid their compensation money. The affected streets are Lantree Crescent and Cranleigh Close, Trumpington. The County Council says there has been no undue delay on its part, since it deliberately waited to value the land until after the busway was built - this was meant to ensure that not more land than was needed was acquired. (Cambridge News website.)

Extension of busway across Stourbridge Common

The Cambridge News reveals that environmental campaigners are concerned that the guided busway might be extended to run across Stourbridge Common, and ancient meadow on the north-east fringe of Cambridge city. In fact, the proposal is merely to ensure that a strip of land adjacent to the railway line is safeguarded for possible future use, though no specific plans have been made for a busway extension at this time. A County Council spokesman has said that the plans to open a new station at Chesterton will reduce the need to extend the busway across the Common. However, plans are going ahead to create a cycle route (the Chisholm Trail) alongside the railway.

St Ives Park & Ride

The park & ride site at St Ives is to be doubled in size thanks to a Department for Transport grant of £2m. The site will expand from 500 to 1000 car spaces and will hopefully attract even more car users off the A14. (Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier, Jun7, page 33 and Cambridge News website)

Monday, 4 June 2012

St Ives bank holiday market

Once again, St Ives Bus Station is full of market stalls, so buses are having to run from The Quadrant. Fortunately only a Sunday bus service is running today, so congestion at The Quadrant shouldn't be too much of an issue. As with the early May Bank Holiday, Station Road there are no stalls in Station Road.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Jubilee Bank Holiday service on busway

Stagecoach will be running a Sunday timetable on the busway on 4th and 5th June. Details at this web page http://www.stagecoachbus.co.uk/tis-service-update-details.aspx?id=59 . A Sunday timetable will also be opperated by Whippet on the two days of the Jubilee Bank Holiday. See http://www.go-whippet.co.uk/ .

Thursday, 31 May 2012

More about Ramsey Road timetable changes

This week's Hunts Post (30 May, page 6) includes a very long letter from a Sawtry resident, mainly about changes to buses in the Sawtry area, but goes on to compare Stagecoach with Ryanair. The writer thinks that Stagecoach has used spurious arguments to justify re-routong the service B away Hill Rise, and claims that time saving will be marginal. He suggests that time gained will be lost during slow crew changeovers at St Ives Park & Ride. There is also a criticism of Whippet for unofficial variations of their bus routes, and finally bewails that fact the bus passengers have no official channel for pursuing complaints.

More guided busways for Cambridge?

Cambridgeshire County Council is considering creating a new stretch of guided busway ( or possibly dedicated bus-only lanes) in Newmarket Road, Cambridge. See report in The Cambridge News http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Guided-busway-could-be-extended-into-central-Cambridge-24052012.htm and also in the Huntingdon & St Ives News & Crier (31 May (page 17). This is an attempt to deal with existing traffic congestion plus extra traffic that will arise if a new development of 25,000 houses materialises.

Friday, 25 May 2012

New bus stop in Station Road, St Ives

This week's Hunts Post (23 May, page 6) includes only one item about the busway - a letter from a St Ives resident who doesn't think anything is to be gained by creating a new bus stop in Station Road outside Hyperion. He can't believe that passengers are willing to walk from St Ives Town centre to the Park & Ride to catch a bus to cambridge. He thinks the problem of congestion at the Harrison Way crossing is about people parking (free) at the Park & Ride and walking into St Ives. He thinks they are misusing the Park & Ride. There may indeed be some people parking in this way, but I do know that many people walk to/from the Park & Ride because they want to use the Service A which starts and terminates there, which is often more reliable than the B, serves places that the B doesn't go to, and is generally a few minutes quicker than the B. I often arrive back in St Ives on the A which is due in at 1733, though it's usually about 5-10 minutes late. It is rarely worth waiting for the B to take me into central St Ives. What do readers of the blog think about this issue?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Flooding

The cycle track is now passable. There is still some water lying on it, but there is a dry strip along the side of the track nearest the buses.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Busway news in this week's Hunts Post

There are four items in the Hunts Post (16 May) about the busway. On page 2 is a report about the proposed bus stop in Station road, St Ives, outside the Hyperion auction house. It is likely to be completed by the end of June. The County County held trials which confirmed that there is room for a bus standing at the bus stop to be overtaken by another bus. However, local councillor, Debbie Townsend, reiterates concern about congestion. Next is a charming story about a bus driver rescuing a family of goslings who had walked onto the guided busway (page4). The letters page features a comment about the fact that the Bank Holiday market once again occupied St Ives Bus Station and questions why the market should be allowed to take precedence over the guided buses. In an earlier post, I noted that Station Road had no market stalls this time, yet the buses were diverted via Meadow Lane. Lastly (page 35) is a report about various changes to bus routes around Cambridgeshire. There may be changes to the bus service between Huntingdon and Peterborough - this would happen if guided buses from Cambridge were to be extended to Peterborough. The current hourly local service to Alconbury and Alconbury Weston will be affected.