Author Topic: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?  (Read 3237 times)

Offline barryb

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Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« on: October 05, 2013, 10:02:25 PM »
I moved to close to the start of the guideway recently, away from roughly exactly halfway between Parkside and Drummer St, so it does mean that my life will never be so convenient for public transport ever again!

Normally I cycle to the city centre or railway station, but for the last week or so I've been using the guided bus almost every day either at commuting times or during the day and in the evening, either because of carrying things or not feeling well.

I'm wondering... is it always so bad?  There seems to be a lot of problems, and a lot of them are to do with too many passengers, which is something Stagecoach ought to be willing to fix.

I've no idea what the seats are like because I've never been near one yet.  Most of the journeys I've taken have been at rush hour, but I've had a full bus go past me after the morning rush hour, and found a bus with standing room only at lunchtime.   There is standing room only on Sunday afternoons and on the late evening services.  I accept that peak time crowing is a difficult problem because it may not make financial sense to solve it without charging premium fares.  But to have overcrowding during the day, on Sundays and late at night and not want to do anything about it is unforgiveable.  It says that Stagecoach know that in practical terms they have a monopoly because they know that Whippet lack the financial means or bravery to be an effective competitor.

During rush hour the buses arrive completely at random; I suspect Stagecoach's age old problem of assuming that buses can make the journey at the same speed in rush hour as they can during off peak times has something to do with this.  It's fine if it's just that all the Bs are 15 mins late and you are travelling on the core route.  It's annoying if they're arriving at random times and the first one is full.  It's a problem if the B's are bunched and there's 40 mins between them.  It must be maddening if you're the person that waited 48 mins for a late Chatteris bus that arrives full.

The ticket machines were almost unusable when I tried them when they were first installed.  They now seem to work if you know their quirks, which are all things that they should have ironed out them long before now.  Why do you have to scroll past two pages of destinations that would be served by buses going the opposite direction even if you were able to get to them from that stop?  It's not because they are running the same software at each stop because they have made a useful and necessary effort to stop you buying tickets for journeys you won't be able to make, but implemented it in a cack-handed way that stops you buying tickets for journeys you could make.  No, they shouldn't sell tickets for Whippet services from Orchard Park E to the Station at certain times of the day.  They also shouldn't sell Stagecoach single tickets from Orchard Park East to the station at any time of day.  But they should sell Dayriders to people that want to go from Orchard Park East to the station!  I'd let them off if this was day one.  It's not; they've been getting it wrong for ages and there's no excuse for that.

The real time information displays seem to be effectively useless, on first glance they are just giving random information that's completely wrong, but after a week I'm starting to see what's wrong with the logic they use and how it could be improved.  The software ought to know what bus will be forming a departure out Drummer Street.  If it knows that bus is running over half an hour late on the way in and isn't even in Cambridge yet, then it should know that the bus won't be leaving Drummer St on time and arriving at Cloister Court in 3 mins.  And it shouldn't be starting the countdown for the arrival at Cloister Court if the bus hasn't left either Drummer Street or New Sq (let alone arrived there).  If it knows that the last bus took XX mins to get from A to B and B to C, and the next one has taken the same time to get from A to B, is the next one likely to get from B to C any quicker?  Almost certainly not.  Among these features will be local quirks and things that are local to non-guided and guided sections, but after this length of time there is no excuse for not refining these bugs out.

It's almost criminal to have use of a project that's cost millions and had unparalleled success at attracting people to try public transport and to then chase people away.  The other evening after waiting 45 mins at rush hour in the city centre for a bus home (three full ones passed, all at times bearing no relation at all to the timetable) while the real time information said there wouldn't be another bus for 30 mins (actually it came a lot sooner) I asked the person behind me if it was always this bad.  They said they didn't know as it was the first time they'd tried the park and ride site at St Ives, and that they'd never find out because it would also be the last time.  I'm not surprised.  I'd have been going back to cycling anyway, but I'll certainly only be taking the bus if I really have to.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 10:07:25 PM by barryb »

Offline TCD813

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 04:51:39 PM »
This is quite distressing, Barry.

I'd like to suggest that you keep a diary (electronically if at all possible) of your journeys and of the problems with date, time service NÂș.

I think that Stagecoach and the County Council (who, as highway authority have responsibility for the Busway) should have feedback.

If you'd like to PM me and tell me which street you live in, I can tell you who your county councillor is (perhaps you already know) and his/her e-mail, find out some more contacts to whom you could send feedback, etc.

Best Regards,

Richard.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline barryb

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 11:55:28 PM »
I didn't do that, as you just think every day is just a bad day and etc; it's not until afterwards you start to think "Well that was totally useless!".

And it won't happen again because it'll be a long time before I need to use it again (touch wood!).

And I could just have been really unlucky, which is why I ask!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 11:58:34 PM by barryb »

stagecoach106

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 09:22:26 AM »
Stagecoach busway peak time. Give your self a extra 30 mins and if you get a seat do the lottery. I your on a peak to pebo give your self a extra 40-50 mins.  Or
Use whippet thy have a working timetable and there Cheeper and more frendly. And you get a seat most the time on a newer bus.

Offline barryb

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 01:45:39 AM »
Whippet aren't so much help if you live in Orchard Park :-(

stagecoach106

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 09:14:31 AM »
Whippet aren't so much help if you live in Orchard Park :-(
thats the only down side :(

Offline TCD813

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 06:13:56 PM »
Whippet aren't so much help if you live in Orchard Park :-(

In my opinion the Orchard Park (E) stop should've been sited round the corner so that it could've been served by A and C as well as B.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.

Offline barryb

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Re: Does anyone commute on the Guideway? How do you find it?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 06:43:53 PM »
Shouldn't it just.  I can't imagine what they were thinking of!!!

The other stop that's in massively the wrong place by a few metres is Foster Rd.  People might want to go from there to the city centre & railway station, or possibly Addenbrooke's (but it's so close; why not walk?).  Instead they have sited the stop to prioritise services to Addenbrooke's and Trumpington (why would you want to go to a car park from a housing estate with plenty of parking?), and the free tour of Addenbrooke's for anyone wanting to go to the railway station means you'd probably be better walking.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 06:49:31 PM by barryb »