Thursday, 13 May 2021

Transport And Politics (Extra) Cambridge One

fbb is indebted to Northampton correspondent Alan from drawing his attention to exciting things proposed for Cambridge and the surrounding area. In order to counteract possible internet implosion ...
... fbb will be publishing blogs for today (Thursday) and tomorrow in advance.  Content may be someone reduced; but here goes.

Cambridge has been a trail blazer for public transport with the longest guided busway in the UK ...
... and the only such running through rural rather than urban areas.
It has also gained some shiny new double decks from Stagecoach ...
... in a wishy washy green livery that does NOT create desire!

For the uninitiated (or those who have just forgot!!) the busway runs from near St Ives, a route on which large numbers of people were, historically, travelling ...

... to the edge of the centre of that picturesque city.

Sadly for any ancient carrier of kits and cats and their staff, all these were exiting St Ives, but only one was making to journey TO the town - it would, if repeated, make for a very unbalanced service.

The busway re-appears near the station and rumbles south to Addenbrookes Hospital and Trumpington.
Four services use the busway ...
... and the Stagecoach map lists a further selection of routes which offer "connections".
The core services (A & B) provide a bus every 10 minutes from St Ives to the city and beyond ...
... with a bus every 20 starting back from Huntingdon. The busway itself only runs from St Ives Park and Ride ...
... to Cambridge Science Park then starts again after a grind through the centre until it busways again from station to the Park and Ride at Trumpington.
For the record, buses showing route "C" are peak hour peak flow extras.

Route B takes a mini diversion to call at Cambridge North Station ...
... which would offer a nippier connection with trains that using the main non-central Central station.
Also note that route U ...
... links various outlying University sites with city, station and on via just a smidgen of busway to the Biomedical Centre where be Addenbrookes Hospital.
It is operated by Whippet.
Whippet do not provide a conventional "grid" timetable ...
...with the assumption that only egg-heads will be travelling and they will be capable of the advanced mathematics needed to work it out for themselves.
The disadvantage of pouring all bus services into the busway is that there is a danger that communities along the now-unserved main roads lose out.

The Stagecoach Cambridgeshire network map is ludicrously out of date and not worth the screen it is displayed upon BUT it does show the main road to St Ives as unserved beyond Bar Hill, once the terminus of Citi service 5.
Swavesey, for example, has only the occasional bus on service 5 ...
... but a busway bus every ten minutes, accessed by a reasonably lengthy walk (busway "station" top right) ...
... or, maybe, a bike ride.
But there is no doubt that kits, cats, sacks and wives are much advantaged if they wish to travel from St Ives; and even those from the wilds of Huntingdon have a somewhat zippier and congestion-free ride for part of their "commute".

So, would it not be a super spiffing idea to have lots of busways and perhaps a faster way of getting into or through the complicated and often congested centre of Cambridge.
There are stops littered all over the place.
Reading from top to bottom they are:-
Drummer Street bus station
Parker Street
Emmanuel Road
Emmanuel Street
St Andrew Street

But this man has a big idea ...
... as we shall see tomorrow.

Seaside Snippet
We have already met the open top bus from Weymouth to Portland Bill ...
... but joining it from the end of this month is a somewhat revamped X52. This will run from Bridport to Lulworth Cove and Monkey World.
Yet another example of First's determination to capture the tourist and day trip market.

And In Sheffield ...
... another bus in the new City livery, this time with added daisies.
Printed timetables? Leaflets for picturesque routes showing tourist potential?

Don't be silly!

 Next Cambridge blog : Friday 14th May 


  1. The non-Busway service is the Whippet X2/X3 which runs every 30 minutes between Huntingdon and Cambridge; the timetable is on the Whippet website under "country" rather than "busway".

    1. The Whippet X3 is an entirely different service, other than Cambridge & Huntingdon it has no relationship with the St Ives corridor running via Cambourne not Bar Hill. The old 'slow-road' bus was the Whippet 1 (the Stagecoach journeys running fast between St Ives & Cambridge before the Busway whilst the Whippet buses served Bar Hill & Fenstanton though that was probably different if you go back far enough) which was withdrawn several years ago. I believe Dews provide a replacement under contract though probably at a much lower service level than the up to half-hourly (it was a bit random between hourly & half-hourly with a complicated group of routeings beyond St Ives) that it was around the time Whippet was taken over by Tower Transit.

  2. I've always wondered whether everyone in the rhyme was in fact going to St Ives. Surely one travelling alone would easily overtake the monstrous caravan of cats, wives etc if going in the same direction, in which case the answer is 2800 or thereabouts.

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