Cambridgeshire Council Tax Payers

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by Mutant Lemming, 27 Nov 2011.

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  1. Mutant Lemming

    Mutant Lemming Established Member

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    ..you have been well and truly been robbed !

    I travelled on the bus from Huntingdon to St.Ives and then Histon and onto Cambridge today. I found the buses pleasant enough (although the missus felt sick on them) but the service is abysmal after 7pm and there is a total lack of information both on the buses and at the stops. It is pitch black along the busway and the buses do not have any on board info detailing the stops or announcments of what the next stop is (pretty standard with most buses today) and information at stops is patchy and maps non existent. For someone unfamiliar with Histon & Impington it would be very easy to get lost after you get off at the busway stop. For what has been spent on this 'system' the council tax payers of Cambridgeshire seem to have got very little value for the money spent.
     
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  3. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I think we are all aware of the millions wasted on this loony misGuided Busway. Not just the people of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire but the huge sums it has hoovered up from central Government. Steam trains in the mid-19th century were doing the journey faster than the Bonkers Busway.

    http://www.noguidedbus.com/

    Yet despite this local authorities all over England are pushing on with these crackpot schemes:
    http://travelplus.org.uk/rapid-transit---ashton-vale-to-temple-meads
    http://www.luton.gov.uk/busway
     
  4. trentside

    trentside Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Other bits that annoy:

    That they didn't invest in the engineering (admittedly fairly major) to allow double deckers on the south busway

    The way the (afterthought) cycle/footway switches sides (on the north busway) at almost every road junction
     
  6. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Do people on here have a total objection to BRT systems as a whole? For example, do people think the Zuidtangent busway south of Amsterdam is a good idea? That was far more expensive than the Cambridgeshire busway, involving building a brand new road just for buses including viaducts and tunnels.
     
  7. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    Well I do but AFAIC the Netherlands can do as they damn well please!
     
  8. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    There is a difference in culture regarding society's general attitude to buses in Britain. It is shown by looking at case studies and statistics that Bus Rapid Transit in most cases offers an inferior product to a tram. The operating costs above certain passenger levels are also higher!
     
  9. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Surely the difference in culture stems from the lower specification of service offered by bus compared to tram in Britain? In Britain, tram stops are typically further apart than bus stops and boarding times are significantly quicker due to conductor or pay before you board systems. Outside Britain, there is not so much distinction in the difference in service between trams and buses.

    I think the Zuidtangent service shows that if you provide a bus service that is as high a quality as possible, with a comparable level of infrastructure to a tram service, you can get a very high level of satisfaction at lower cost. Incidentally, the Zuidtangent has been designed for easy conversion to tram in future should passenger flows justify it. The thinking is that a tram is a way of getting a high passenger capacity, rather than simply a method of attracting motorists because of image. The fast, frequent and reliable Zuidtangent service does that already.

    Don't quite see why a scheme should be dismissed just because it is the Netherlands. For someone living in the south of England, arguably it is more relevant as, say, something in Edinburgh given that Amsterdam is so much nearer.
     
  10. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    I wasn't dismissing it outright. The Netherlands can do as they wish, transport is very different over there than it is over here, I just do not think that it is a good mode of transport in Britain.
     
  11. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I think there is still a big difference. Even where millions have been invested in Bus Rapid Transit and other bus service improvement schemes, there is still a cap on the long-term modal shift of about 6% (source: Pteg) compared to trams of around 20%.
     
  12. LE Greys

    LE Greys Established Member

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    Well, it is ridiculous. I might back something like this for trolleybuses, since the dedicated route would be perfect for electrification. However, plain old diesel buses are simply not up to it.

    Bedfordshire, you're next, unless you want to use Luton as a trolleybus testbed (which might just work, actually).
     
  13. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    The reason I loathe these schemes so much is that they always seem to take up a viable trackbed that in a sensible world would have been good candidates for re-opening. St Ives and Dunstable are both examples of this, being largely intact for freight for many years.

    If these busways were such a wonderful idea, why aren't they being opened between places that don't have a disused railway line ? Except where they're built in urban areas where they might have some value, they are nothing more than a cheap and nasty alternative to railway reopenings.
     
  14. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Thanksfully, Bedfordshire no longer has a county council, so it's just the people of Luton paying for the busway.

    Personally, my biggest problem with the schemes is the relatively long journey times compared to rail. This seems to be frequently glossed over. A commute from St Ives to Cambridge takes nearly 50 minutes, and from Huntingdon it's an hour and a quarter (it takes less time to get to London!)

    The Addenbrookes busway is much more valuable, as the traffic on Trumpington Road is awful. But because it's single-decker only, the P&R services (which really need a double-decker) don't even use it!
     
  15. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Oh dear :roll: That's a very short sighted statement indeed! If there were any imminent plans - by which I mean actual intentions, not pipe dreams led by those with little grasp of reality - to actually reopen any of these routes as heavy rail alignments any time soon, then the busways wouldn't be built. As there aren't any such plans, a busway being laid over the existing trackbed is a very good way of preserving the route should any such plans ever be considered in the future. Would you prefer that housing estates and supermarkets were built on it instead, permanently destroying any future prospects?!

    There's nothing at all wrong with the concept of guided busways, provided that they are sufficiently equipped with decent quality vehicles, infrastructure and information systems. When done properly, they can offer the same product as a tramway, at a fraction of the cost. The cock-ups and extortionate costs that we all bemoan are more a result of bad planning and the inevitable hapless local authorities, who never seem to have the faintest idea how to actually manage major construction schemes such as these. I'm afraid that those who disagree with them on principle simply because they are not railway lines are completely missing the point. The cost of opening or reopening many of these routes either as heavy rail or tramway alignments would be totally prohibitive. A railway costs an obscene amount of money to construct, requires extremely expensive vehicles to operate over it, and must be staffed by personnel who are highly trained and command a high rate of pay. A bus-based system requires simple infrastructure and can be operated with off-the-peg vehicles needing only very basic modifications, staffed by drivers who cost substantially less to employ. They can be the saving grace of corridors which would otherwise have been lost forever.
     
  16. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I disagree. Many railway reopening schemes have very good business cases and local support is high. These busway schemes are wholly politically motivated. And the political motivation isn't for high quality public transport!

    That may have been the case shortly after Beeching, but there is very little chance of that today. national planning guidance states that disused transport corridors should be preserved for future development, and that is something incorporated into the policies of pretty much every planning authority in the country.

    Even where permission is granted, there will always be some compensation, for example provision for future reopening along a diverted route, or reserved land. For example the Waitrose in Portishead built on the old station site was built in mind with a railway station being built.

    People aren't stupid, as seen by the 'ftr' in York. Bus Rapid Transit and 'Showcase' bus schemes always have a low cap on the level of long-term modal shift they create, in comparison to railways.
     
  17. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I have to disagree profoundly. Network SouthEast were certainly considering re-opening Dunstable, just as they did the Bicester branch. Destroying the trackbed was short-sighted.

    In spite of the best efforts of politicians, the national railway network is just that. It is a gateway to the wider world. Towns that get left off of it end up relegated to backwater status compared to similar rail connected settlements. They and their citizens end up with fewer economic and leisure opportunities.This is why people campaign for rail re-openings, not slightly faster buses. No amount of fancy guided busway will change that.
     
  18. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Are we talking like for like comparison though? Are the BRT systems being compared built to the same very high standards in that are standard with new LRT systems? For example, like Zuidtangent?

    I think it is too easy to get lost arguing about the various technologies when what is most important is how integrated and reliable the whole transport system is. If you have LRT/BRT lines that don't integrate well with other services (e.g. bus routes) then the scope for modal shift across the whole region will be limited. You will only get modal shift on the particular corridors served by that line. In theory, Manchester could have a world class transport network once the Metrolink network is finished. But will integration with buses be fixed by them? That means no fare penalty for changing onto buses and convenient, reliable interchange throughout the network.
     
  19. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    The whole point of BRT is that it's cheap, if you build it to the insanely high standards associated with heavy rail you loose that advantage.

    Also there is the matter that Bus Transport is entirely unregulated and thus the service in off peak times is extremely poor.
     
  20. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    According to Wikipedia, Zuidtangent cost about €230 million. You can't build a 25 km rail line for that! They built it out of concrete so that tram lines could be inserted easily at a later date. So money could have been saved by not building the road out of concrete.

    Obviously bus transport doesn't HAVE to be unregulated. Hardly anywhere runs a BRT system in an unregulated environment. Although if you count Fastway in Crawley as a BRT system (not sure if I would given the cheapness of it) you can't accuse them of poor running in off-peak. They run 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes overnight!
     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2011
  21. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    The 'ftr' schemes, whether in York or anywhere else, are complete cock-ups as one would expect from a poor quality bus operator like First. They are a good example of how not to operate such a system.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    And how long has it been since Network SouthEast ceased to exist?! Clearly the privatised railway had little current intention of following up any such consideration. How has the trackbed been 'destroyed'? As I said before, would you prefer that Network Rail sold it off for development of a very different kind? And I wonder if the people of Luton & Dunstable, or wherever else, would agree that waiting decade after decade for the mythical rail reopening is really preferable to having a busway built to provide some form of direct transport link in this lifetime?

    Don't be fooled by any belief that just because an old trackbed exists it will be safeguarded forever, just in case one day somebody suggests reopening it. The real world suggests that land has a value, and money is in short supply.
     
  22. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Even the privatised railway managed to re-open - Chandlers Ford.

    And no, I wouldn't rather another type of development were built there instead. I'd rather the railway were re-opened.

    BTW, lots of countries, including the Republic of Ireland safeguard their trackbeds. The only reason we don't is the shortsightedness of our public policy.

    At the end of the day, Dunstable has buses like it's always had buses (albeit a bit faster). It still won't have a link to the National Railway network,
     
  23. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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  24. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    I think you're too used to London buses. Sadly, on board information about the next stop on buses is rare, not standard. Obviously providing this information would be great but it's really not cheap. And I do dispair at the (lack of/quality of) information at many bus stops.
     
  25. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    I don't think this is too much to ask. iBus in London seems revolutionary to people who have only travelled by bus in Britain, but in reality this facility has been available on buses in mainland Europe for at least 10-15 years. And, of course, this information is still virtually non-existent in most of Britain, despite it being the norm on the continent. Metrobus and Brighton & Hove have 'next stop' information on most buses but even this does not have the audio.

    So, while London has just got the system and most of the rest of the country has not and is unlikely to receive it any time soon, certain places in Europe have taken it to the next level. Much of the Netherlands, Zurich and Oslo (just three places I have visited in the last couple of years, there are undoubtedly other examples) have monitors showing not only the next stop and the arrival time there, but also the arrival time at the next few stops and the arrival time at the destination.

    Zurich's system (which seems to cover every S-Bahn, bus and tram in the whole canton, covering a wide suburban and rural area outside the city) even tells you what bus, tram or train services you can transfer to as you approach an interchange point. Not only service numbers and destination points but also departure times and there is even a box (usually empty) to give notice of any kind of disruption which may apply to that service.
     
  26. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    Yes, in countries that spend money on public transport
     
  27. ajax103

    ajax103 Established Member

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    Agreed, I very much doubt any bus company except one or two outside London would have such a system.

    Mind you, outside London there is a much better way of knowing when to get off which is just ask the driver to tell you when you reach your stop so much more cheaper then any system!
     
  28. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    Each bus stop in Leeds has its own identification number so it would be a lot easier for those coming to somewhere unfamiliar if they just had a painted sign with the number which was big enough to spot before the bus stopped.
     
  29. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    That's fine.

    So long as he doesn't forget.

    The system in London (which does other things as well) costs about 15 million a year. Small change when your networks costs billions, but a lot of money for small organisations. If only there was some sort of National Bus company :p
     
  30. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    Yes, clearly you would, and in an ideal world many people would like to see the same. But clearly, for the time being it won't be. So, in the real world, it's a choice of some other form of public transport usage - which in this case happens to conserve the railway alignment should it ever be required again by the national network - or building stuff over it and losing the whole lot forever. Sometimes we have to accept the reality which stares us in the face, rather than objecting to anything which isn't in line with our ideals.
     
  31. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    In the real world, there would have been nothing to stop the local councils safeguarding the route anyway. In Leeds we have a section of the Wetherby line that's been safeguarded ever since the line closed in 64, and frankly the proposed St Ives reopening has always had a lot more public support and likelihood of ever going ahead than the stump in East Leeds.

    Basically the Local Authorities involved have bottled it. In St Ives they've gone against a backdrop of public support which has been there for re-opening ever since the line closed, and rushed to get something in "on the cheap" (quotation marks because it wasn't all that cheap afterall). They should have waited.
     
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