Friday, 9 March 2018

Busway diversions - weekends in March

Details have now been posted of this month's weekend diversions on the Busway.

In summary:

9-10 March: Between Longstanton and Oakington. But no changes to the stops served.
17-18 March: Between Histon and Milton Road, and with changes to pick up and set down locations
24-25 March: Between Histon and Milton Road, and with changes to pick up and set down locations

The maintenance track remains open at all times.

All services are affected. It's reasonable to assume that these diversions will involve extended journey times around the blockages, but as there's no mention of them on either the Stagecoach or Whippet websites, there's no further information about these. Unlike engineering works on the railways, the bus companies never issue revised timetables, so if you need to be somewhere at a specific time (a railway station, for example!), you're left to do the calculations yourself.

Further details are now available (at rather short notice) on the County Council website.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Autonomous vehicles - £3.2m awarded for trial

This follows up my 17 October 2017 posting, and again uses information from Business Weekly (not, I admit, my go-to publication for Cambridge news...).

The government has recently announced awards totalling £22.4m to 22 connected and autonomous vehicle (CAVs) R&D projects, of which £3.2m is coming to Cambridge. This money will be used to build and trial six 10-15-seater self-driving shuttles to operate on the southern (Trumpington) section of the existing guided busway, initially for an out-of-hours service, when ordinary buses aren’t running.

The details are a little vague - at least in the published reports. Although one of the strengths of this section of the busway is - for the purposes of a trial - that it is segregated from general traffic, the trial is supposed to serve the Biomedical Campus, where busway vehicles share road space with hoi polloi. And emergency vehicles.

Prototypes are due to be tested in late summer 2019, with the first paying passengers boarding a year later. It's unclear if the first few months of public service are part of the trial (in which case funding is already guaranteed) or are to be part of the County Council's "transport" portfolio.

The vehicles will be developed by Aurrigo, part of the RDM Group. This follows the same company's involvement in the earlier trial using a 4-seater autonomous "pod".

Free parking to be reinstated next month

Ever since it was introduced in May 2015 - no, let's be honest, it was an issue from the moment it was first announced - the parking charge at the Busway Park & Ride sites has proved controversial. There are many who felt it was counter-productive, hostile to the idea that the County Council should be encouraging people out of their cars and onto public transport.

At last - but in no small measure due to the existence of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, perhaps (it has money!) - the charge is to be removed, and free parking reinstated. This is due to happen on 1 April, and is presumably no April Fool.

The Cambridge Network has more details. Apparently,  according to one prominent councillor: "the removal of the £1 parking fee [is] a positive move to continue to make the Park & Ride the first transport choice for people coming into the city." Some might ask why this argument wasn't more energetically made at the time of the charge's introduction.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Cambridge Half Marathon - Sunday 4th March

Stagecoach has published an update on itsCambridge bus routes, many of which will be diverted on Sunday 4th March, due to road closures for the Cambridge Half Marathon.

 Bus B will be unable to serve Shire Hall, Jesus Lane/Round Church Street and New Square befor 1pm.
Towards St. Ives buses will serve the first stop on Histon Road (The Grapes). Customers in Central Cambridge should use Drummer Street bay 12. Towards Cambridge buses will serve the first stop on Victoria Road instead of Shire Hall

Whippet bus route C will also be diverted. See