Author Topic: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough  (Read 3183 times)

Offline barryb

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Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« on: November 11, 2011, 08:06:23 PM »
http://www.cambridgefirst.co.uk/news/guided_busway_could_link_cambridge_with_peterborough_1_1116357

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Stagecoach which, along with Whippet, operates The Busway, has put in a bid to the company’s board of directors for eight additional vehicles to extend the service to Peterborough.

It would see the special buses travel directly, by road, from Peterborough to St Ives and then join the track southbound to Cambridge.

Managing director of Stagecoach Cambridgeshire Andy Campbell said: “We think people will commute by bus between Peterborough and Cambridge. We believe there is a market there as the train goes round the houses. Our service will also be cheaper than the trains.”

The intercity trains service between Peterborough and Cambridge has a number of stops including Ely and March.

Mr Campbell said if the Stagecoach board approves the additional buses, the new service between Cambridge and Peterborough could start by the summer.

There are currently no plans to lengthen the busway’s track – the world’s longest covering a total of 16 miles both north and south of Cambridge – although Mr Campbell said developments in the pipeline could result in The Busway’s infrastructure being extended.

He cited plans for a new station at Chesterton – to be named Cambridge Science Park station – and the Government’s new enterprise zone at Alconbury as sites The Busway would need to link with in future.

“The option to extend here is a real possibility but obviously depends when the developments go ahead,” he said.

Stagecoach has also introduced four additional services running directly between Huntingdon and Cambridge.

The company already runs busway services between Cambridge and Huntingdon, but with stops at Huntingdon’s Oxmoor estate and Hill Rise in St Ives.

The four additional services between Huntingdon and Cambridge – two in the morning and two in the evening – were introduced following requests for a direct service from Huntington residents.

Mr Campbell said the four direct services were not as busy as expected and may need to be reviewed.

Around half a million journeys have been made on The Busway to date and Cambridgeshire County Council hopes the number of travellers is still growing as more people try out the long-anticipated transport system.

The council initially planned for 3.5 million journeys to be made on The Busway each year.

Thoughts? 

Peterborough seems like a strange choice of route for me.  I'm not sure it would work, and I'm particularly interested in the comments about the direct services to Huntingdon not being that busy.  Stagecoach has tried express services to different places around Cambridge before, including to Peterborough, and it hasn't worked.

I still can't understand why they aren't looking at using the Southern stretch more, for services to Royston.

Offline David Goddard

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Re: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 10:33:57 PM »
Managing director of Stagecoach Cambridgeshire Andy Campbell said: “We think people will commute by bus between Peterborough and Cambridge. We believe there is a market there as the train goes round the houses. Our service will also be cheaper than the trains.”
The intercity trains service between Peterborough and Cambridge has a number of stops including Ely and March.

Firstly, in defence of the train service, I dont think it is fair to say that it goes round the houses (buses are more well known for this trait), as the PBO-CAM route uses the three straightest sections of railway line in the area, and the standard service pattern between the two cities only has the two station stops mentioned.  It is good to know that Mr Campbell considers a Cl170 Turbostar an Intercity Train though!

Now to the nitty gritty of the comparison.  On first impression, the MD's claims about journey time would appear unsubstantiated, however:

Based on a point to point trip from Peterborough Queensgate to Cambridge Grand Arcade:

Bus:
A direct (non stop?) bus service from Peterborough to St Ives will take at least 45 minutes (via A1(M)) or up to an hour if using the fen roads.
Then, St Ives Park & Ride to Drummer Street (assumed terminus) takes a further 33 minutes.
TOTAL BEST JOURNEY TIME around 80 minutes.

Train:
Walk from Queensgate to Station, buy ticket and wait for train 15 minutes
Most trains from Peterborough to Cambridge throughout the day take 49 minutes.   The slowest (four stops) takes 57.
Wait for bus at Cambridge, then ride into City Centre a further 15 minutes
TOTAL BEST JOURNEY TIME also around 80 minutes.

The bus wins on price, as the Anytime rail fare is presently £16.40 return (plus another £2 or so for bus), compared to £5.40 DayRider Plus.

As an aside, I think the old X51 and X6 express buses used to take around 90 minutes, and they called at Huntingdon as well.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 10:40:13 PM by David Goddard »

Offline Steves

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Re: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 10:42:31 PM »
I would be surprised if there was much commuter demand from Cambridge to Peterborough or vice versa.  There is more demand from Ely and March to Peterborough and March to Cambridge.The train service is not particularly slow but it is expensive.  A bus service if it were quick enough and reliable would have the advantage of serving different areas of the city from the train.  On David's figures, the bus would be quicker to north Cambridge - Science Park etc - and the train anywhere in the southern part of the city.

Like Barryb, I don't see why they don't use the southern section more to provide the P&R service for a start.

Offline barryb

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Re: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 11:58:56 PM »
Yes, if they want to take business off the trains they should maybe be looking at Ely.  It can't be right that people are willing to pay to be jammed into such overcrowded services; surely the buses should be able to take some of those passengers even if the journey would be slower?

Also, people in St Neots reading this must be feeling a little sick.  Why aren't they expanding capacity in St Neots to meet the demand that's already there and that the overcrowded X5 services are feeling to provide for?

Offline David Goddard

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Re: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2011, 07:50:10 AM »
Agreed.  An express bus between Cambridge and Ely with headline journey of around 35-40 minutes would be real competition for the train.

Havent we had one before?  Yes we did, the various combinations of X7/8/9s, but they were hardly promoted heavily.  This is the biggest task to acomplish.  The uneducated would continue (as they have always done) to compare the Centre to Centre bus with the Station - Station train, forgetting that the stations are one mile and half a mile from the respective City Centres.

This would remain true for Peterborough to Cambridge, with the similar point to point timings.
Another point to bear in mind is that there tends to be a time threshold (normally at about the one hour point) where the train wins again on comfort and potential to get caught stuck in traffic. (Unless of course they want to convert the A1(M)'s hard shoulder to a bus lane.....)

Adam Dowling

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Re: Guided Busway could link Cambridge with Peterborough
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 05:37:53 PM »
Doubt they're going to run a Peterborough-Chatteris-St Ives route, but they could extend the existing C from Somersham? Will be interesting to see how this develops considering Chatteris currently has a every 2 hour service to Cambridge and only one bus to and from Peterborough each day....


http://www.cambstimes.co.uk/news/chatteris_could_be_fenland_s_link_to_cambridge_guided_busway_says_councillor_1_1142844

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A TOWN councillor has called for Chatteris to be included in a new bus service which could provide Fenland with a vital link to the Cambridge Guided Busway.

Cllr James Carney wrote to NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay to suggest that Chatteris could be included on Stagecoach’s proposed new service between Peterborough and St Ives.

Mr Barclay has supported the idea, writing to Andy Campbell, Managing Director for Stagecoach East, to insist that it would “encourage greater use of the guided busway by Fenland residents”.

Mr Barclay wrote: “I see the guided busway as an important transport link for Fenland residents wishing to travel to Cambridge and I believe it has potential to be extended to Chatteris and then onto March and Wisbech, opening up Fenland.

“This is an area which suffers from poor rural transport links. I have had preliminary discussions with the leaders of Fenland District and Cambridgeshire County Councils on this subject.”

Cllr Carney has highlighted the issue on community website ShapeYourPlace and called for residents of the town to rally in support of the scheme.

He said: “Let’s be quite clear - it is only a proposal at the moment and if Stagecoach decide to put on such a service, then the nitty-gritty about service details can be discussed later on.

“Here’s hoping we can all show that we would support such a scheme, not least by reducing the need to endure traffic jams and the like every time we want to go into Peterborough or Cambridge.”