Disclaimer: the contents of articles do not necessarily reflect Transport 2000 policy at either national or branch level. If you know any reason why any opinion expressed on a matter within the branch's remit should not be branch policy, please contact the Secretary/Coordinator -- it is through the exchange of ideas that methods for solving our problems are developed.
Please note that although in this newsletter we concentrate on matters of strategic importance, we would like to hear from any member on any transport related topic, however small. If you have a complaint or suggestion of any kind we will endeavour to pursue it ourselves or to advise you on how to pursue it yourself.
This summer the Cambridge Evening News has been full of complaints about non-operation of Stagecoach Cambus services due to staff shortage, leading to complaints to the Traffic Commissioners. Eventually Cambus announced that it would be ``temporarily'' cutting certain Cambridge city buses from 14 Sept so that the rest of the network could be maintained reliably. (However, complaints about non-operation of services have continued, albeit at a lesser level.)
We believe that all parties have emerged from the situation with little credit. If Cambus had really wanted to put passengers first, its remedy would have been simple: to buy in extra journeys from, or transfer routes to, other operators. We can point to other local examples where these tactics have been employed (albeit not to the benefit of passengers); for example Cambridge City evening service 93 nominally passed from Myalls to Whippet in April but was still being run by Myalls vehicles under contract to Whippet (to a revised timetable which people weren't told about) -- incidentally the service has now passed to Cambus under the old timetable, with the bus stops still showing the new timetable. And Cambridge Coach Services 38 is soon to pass to Biss Bros with loss of the Cambridge-Linton section -- more on this below.
However, we believe that transfer of some routes to other operators could actually enhance the network. Stagecoach United Counties could usefully run the X46 (Cambridge-Mordens) and 118 (Cambridge-Longstowe) as part of a through service to Biggleswade or Bedford, taking over their 173, 178 and 188 from Wrestlingworth and Gamlingay. First Eastern Counties could run the X11 (Cambridge-Bury) as an extension of their 88 group (Bury-Ipswich), with improved coordination with their 200 (Newmarket-Thetford). Other routes which could form part of new through facilities include the 146 to Royston and Bassingbourn, the 113 to Haverhill and Kedington, and the 22/112 to Saffron Walden.
As for the Traffic Commissioners, they granted a special dispensation to Cambus to implement their cuts with less than the usual 42 days notice, and stepped back from calling them to an inquiry. We believe they should have used the threat of an inquiry to insist that Cambus find a solution other than cutting services.
One consequence of the haste is that Cambus did not have leaflets listing the axed buses. What's the point of trying to ensure that all scheduled buses run if people aren't told what the schedules are? However a leaflet has now been produced.
And the County Council has been conspicuous for its lack of action. Could it not have threatened Cambus with the withdrawal of contracted services (except those interworked with their commercial network) -- such as park & ride? Transferring park & ride to another operator would have released quite a few drivers to keep the city network going.
And we hope that the Government will refrain from introducing measures which increase the staff requirements for bus operation until it is certain that this will not lead to service cuts, either from staff shortage or because services have become uneconomic. We are referring here to the White Paper proposal to harmonise local and long distance bus operation by making the former subject to European driving hours regulations, which are more stringent than those that currently apply to local buses. (Our last newsletter reported how this had led to cuts to the Newcastle-Carlisle service.) The ostensible reason for driving hours regulations is safety, but the best way to make the roads safe is to cut the amount (and speed) of car traffic.
One consequence of the situation has been that T2000 branch member Martin Thorne would like to form a Cambridge bus campaign. This is likely to cover Cambridge city and the surrounding ``necklace'' villages, and would be linked with our own group. We welcome this move in the hope that it brings new activism into transport campaigning in Cambridge.
For those of you with short breaks ahead we outline some seasonal services that will be running in October.
Essex Coast till 18 Oct. Not exactly a seasonal service, but as we said previously Cambridge people will no longer have access to route 38 to Haverhill which connects with the 603/601 to Colchester at 09.21 on Sundays. Use a Sunday Rover for a day visit to most parts of Essex. We are urging Cambs CC to support an extension of the 08.20 Linton-London to start back at Cambridge -- your support would be welcome.
Ridgeway Explorer till 25 Oct. 4 journeys from Reading or Swindon to Wantage by a scenic route serving the Ridgeway National Trail. Accessible from Cambridge by Sunday Rover (use 09.05 X5 to Oxford then walk to St Aldates, then 31 to Wantage -- surcharge payable).
Lake District till end October. Some of the seasonal services have already ceased, but others, and the boat trips on the lakes, continue more or less on summer schedules till the end of October.
North York Moors till 25 Oct. The Moorsbus network will be continuing to operate on Sundays till the end of October. Access from York or Hull to the south, Bishop Auckland or Peterlee to the north, a GBP 4 ticket covers all travel for a day.
Yorkshire Dales and Lancs till end October. Route 800 between Leeds and Hawes, extending to Keld (Sats) and Ingleton (Suns) will be continuing. There will also be a Tuesday service between Ilkley and Hawes sandwiched between schooltimes. On Sundays the ``Wharfedale Wanderer'' between Ilkley and Buckden, which finished at the end of August, will be reintroduced for the month. Also, till 18 Oct, the Lancs Dalesrail service will be continuing, with some connecting buses in the Dales. Also in Lancs, there's the Pendle Witch Hopper, a circular route between Burnley and Clitheroe, till 25 Oct.
Peak District till 18 Oct. This is the closing date for the summer Sunday network -- but remember there is an extensive winter Sunday network, with some new RTF financed routes.
France till 31 Oct. The Connex SE bus from Ashford to Calais (GBP 14-50 inclusive from London by rail) ceases then. From Calais buses leave at 12.15 along the scenic coastal route to Boulogne, returning 16.45 -- and one can also get to Boulogne by train, express bus (``Ligne BCD'') or local bus via Marquise. Buses also link Calais with Ardres and Gravelines, the latter forming part of a coastal chain linking with the Belgian coastal tramway (by a short cross-border walk).
Finally, don't forget that with improvements on the cards many areas will have improved accessibility all year -- see below.
We have postponed consideration of our AGM pending the outcome of two meetings on 7 Oct. The first is an internal meeting with Liberal Democrat councillors at the headquarters of the Cambridge Lib Dems in Glisson Rd at 6.00, aimed at trying to get some consultation going on buses within the county. This is not intended for our members generally, but if you feel you have something to contribute you may wish to turn up.
The second meeting, at 7.30 in St Philip's church, Mill Road, Cambridge, is a public meeting organised by the Sustainable City group. Addressing the meeting will be Anne Campbell, our Parliamentary Representative, on the subject of the Transport White Paper. Afterwards there will be a discussion which Martin Thorne is proposing to use as a launchpad for his Cambridge Bus Campaign -- so we'd like to see as many as possible of our Cambridge members there!
We shall therefore be issuing another newsletter prior to our AGM to ensure that all members have a chance to participate. Meanwhile, we remind members of the regular meetings held by Cambridge Friends of the Earth (2nd Monday, 7.30, St Michael's Church, Trinity St) and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign (1st Tuesday, 7.30, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane) both of which are open to non-members.
Several of our members have still to renew their membership for 1998-9, and we enclose renewal slips for them. This is likely to be the last reminder for individual members -- we generally give more leeway for affiliates who may have to get authorisation from their committee.
We welcome new member L. Wragg of Fowlmere.
The year has been dominated by the themes of bus services and the Government White Paper.
It was in Autumn 1997 that we first found out about proposals to dismember an innovative bus service for West Hunts that had been in existence for about 18 years. We worked out an alternative strategy based on developing the existing network to attract visitors to the area and to offer more options for shopping and similar trips. However we were unable to work out our proposals in detail because we were denied detailed knowledge of the running patterns of the existing service, and also we were unable to secure cooperation from local parish councils. Also the County Council refused to let us put our proposals to a consultative meeting (which in the event was cancelled anyway).
The same themes of refusal to consider alternatives also emerged in the next campaign -- to prevent the axing of over 40 services as a result of major cuts in the budget for supported services -- including the West Hunts cuts mentioned above. We pointed out that the cuts were totally contrary to the Council's own environmental strategy document and other policy documents. We suggested that the Council should look for other alternatives such as amalgamating existing tendered services, seeking amendments to commercial services under the ``de minimis'' provisions of the 1985 Transport Act, and even commercial sponsorship. We put forward detailed alternatives for individual routes, some of which would, we believe, have saved significant amounts of money without significant inconvenience to users. We pleaded for a proper consultation period during which alternatives could be considered.
In the event less than 40 services were axed, but not in a way that brings credit on the Council. A few were reprieved, but this was offset by cuts to other services that had not been on the hit list and which had not been subject even to the minimal degree of consultation that had been given to those which were on the hit list. For some services support emerged from East Cambridgeshire District Council -- at the expense of their support for concessionary bus passes. Others the operators were prepared to continue running commercially. In the case of Huntingdon & District this turned out to be pending a review of services, the result of which was to produce improvements, some financed by the Council (more on this below).
However, even as the Council was finalising its cuts proposals, a lifebelt emerged in the shape of the Government's budget which announced a new Rural Transport Fund. The amount of money allocated to Cambridgeshire turned out to be nearly 4 times its savings from the cuts. Unfortunately the Government didn't implement the Fund in such a way as to allow the local authority to maintain continuity, and it seems as if East Cambridgeshire may be penalised as a result of having chipped in to offer temporary support.
In early summer the Government finally announced the details of the implementation of the Rural Transport Fund, and the first improved services appeared in early August. Since then the Council has come up with a list of ideas for service improvements. Those that have already been implemented include the evening service between Cambridge and Huntingdon, the Sunday Fen Traveller (see below), and reinstatement of some of the April cuts (evening buses to Fulbourn, off-peak buses to Manea, route 435 to Huntingdon, and a market day service to Royston). It is noteworthy that the first three of these are all routes which weren't on the original hit list.
The main changes to commercial services have been the introduction of Stagecoach Viscount's Fen Traveller from Cambridge via Stretham to Chatteris, March then Peterborough or Wisbech and Kings Lynn. There have also been changes to the Stagecoach United Counties Coachlinks network so that apart from the Oxford route passengers have to change at Bedford, but in general service levels have been maintained with improvements on the routes from Peterborough to Cambridge and Bedford. Also improved are the Sunday services from Peterborough to Kings Lynn and beyond (First Eastern Counties X94).
The county will also benefit from Rural Transport Fund related improvements introduced by its neighbours, starting with a Wisbech to Downham Market service supported by Norfolk CC.
However, we are worried that the improvements will be piecemeal rathar than part of an overall plan, and have submitted such a plan to the Council. It remains to be seen what effect this will have. As we write we are preparing for a meeting with Liberal Democrat county councillors where our main aim will be to explore ways of putting our proposals direct to local communities.
Another issue has surfaced recently: irregular operation of local services by Stagecoach Cambus due to staff shortage. The operator has announced its intention to introduce new timetables in October to make best use of resources -- this sounds like cuts to us.
The summer season started with some cuts to the Sunday network, affecting route 337 in Cambs and several others in neighbouring counties. But by far the worst affected was Bucks where the County Council, hitherto a keen participant in the regional network, has withdrawn not only its ``special'' services but most of the main network.
The year has also seen a new interpretation of driving hours regulations which has hindered the provision of long distance services (over 50km). This seems to be behind the United Counties changes referred to above, also Sunday cuts in Suffolk and minor changes in Essex.
The year has been relatively uneventful. Central Trains have restored the Cambridge to Stansted Airport direct service, with most trains running to/from Birmingham; their package has also included the restoration of a train to Cambridge connecting off the last train from the North to Peterborough. Also WAGN has restored semi-fast trains on the Cambridge to Bishops Stortford lines, and stopping trains between London and Stansted Airport.
Our main campaigns (other than those that relate to infrastructure) are for ticket interavailability between the above two operators between Ely and Stansted, including availability of Network Railcards on Central Trains; and for extra stops at Manea (weekday off-peak) and Whittlesford (Sundays). It is a pity that the Rural Transport Fund is not available for such minor rail improvements.
We have continued to support demands for action to reinstate the St Ives line and to include this in the proposed east-west rail link, on which work by the local authority consortium is continuing, but based on the inferior route via Letchworth and Sandy.
The main news here has been the publication of the Government's Roads Review. This cancels the Stamford Relief Road, which threatened to slice through Burleigh Park (a Cambridgeshire landscape of national importance) and several widening schemes, though others have been set aside for further study. However the widening of the A428 between Cambridge and the planned Cambourne new settlement, which we oppose because it will encourage traffic into Cambridge and enshrine car dependence among Cambourne residents, has been given the go-ahead.
The A1 motorway project between Alconbury and Peterborough, which we opposed on the grounds of over-elaboration (why provide 10 lanes on this section of the A1 when its neighbours have to make do with 4?) and severance, is nearing completion. Of course, because of the DFBO system, the financial cost to the Government will start when the road beings to attract traffic.
Nationally the Government has cut several of the most damaging road schemes, and left others to further review. Unfortunately the M25 widening near Heathrow is in neither category.
On local roads, we have opposed plans by the County Council to change the road layout on the A505 east of the M11 in such a way as to sabotage the effective operation of several bus routes in the area.
Let's start with the good news: contrary to our fears, the closure of Bridge St, Cambridge, implemented experimentally in January 1997, has been made permanent. That's one campaign success for us and other groups! But we have made no progress with our proposals, which we see as complementary, to adapt existing buses on the Huntingdon Rd corridor to fulfil a park & ride role.
Peterborough City Council have opened the first phase of their Millennium project, the Green Wheel, providing a leisure cycle network around the City.
Meanwhile we have been involved, to varying degrees, in several planning proposals: in Cambridge, Sainsbury's Arbury Retail Park, Waitrose Trumpington, and McDonalds Coldham's Lane (all of which we have opposed); in Hunts, the Alconbury Distribution Centre (which we support subject to modifications and strict safeguards for local communities) and the Ramsey Western Development (which we oppose unless the developer is required to contribute towards decent public transport for the town); and in Peterborough the Sugar Factory Site housing development (where our main concern has been the protection of land that may be needed to provide a direct rail link from the East Coast to the Alconbury site referred to above).
We have continued to cooperate with Cambridge, Huntingdon and Wisbech Friends of the Earth and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and have liaised with other groups who belong to the regional umbrella group STEER.
We have rejoined Peterborough Environment City Trust's Transport Special Working Group and attended meetings of Cambridegshire Local Agenda 21, the Cambridgeshire Rural Forum, and the seminars on Fenland Waterways Regeneration.
As stated earlier, we are trying to work with Liberal Democrat county councillors and Cambridgeshire ACRE to establish an effective consultative system for buses in the county.
We have given talks to the construction company Mott McDonald and the US-based International Honors Program; the latter held a seminar in Cambridge in November 1997.
We believe that most of the ideas necessary to place our transport system on a sustainable basis are in the White Paper, but their effectiveness may be jeopardised because the Government is not according the issues sufficient priority. For example, taxation of workplace parking (but not other private non-residential parking) is to be the subject of pilot studies -- but until developers see it as a definite policy developers will continue to design new developments (whether industrial, commercial or residential) around the car as the main mode of transport. Local authorities will have new fund raising mechanisms through parking taxes and road pricing -- but will this come soon enough to provide permanent financing for the Rural Transport Fund bus services, let alone to finance the numerous infrastructure improvements we need, including projects such as the St Ives line?
This concludes the Annual Report and we now turn to corrections to the last newsletter. We said that legislation announced in the Transport White Paper would cover taxation of all private non-residential parking to be taxed, even though only workplace parking would be covered by pilot schemes. This seems to be a misreading -- the legislation will only cover workplace parking. Bad news for all fighting for the survival of our town and city centres as centres of activity, as planning authorities find themselves forced to choose between edge of town shops and no shops at all.
Three other updates: the new Herts CC timetables are not expected to be ready till January (far too long a wait since the last ones appeared in March); we can now confirm that it was Rural Transport Fund money that financed Sunday buses on the Fen Traveller routes X55-6 and evening buses on Huntingdon & District 553-4; and the Soham to Sawston RTF proposal does not purport to provide a half hourly service throughout. (On the RTF more below.)
Some developments since our last newsletter:
McDonalds drive-through (to which we objected): Rejected by the public inquiry.
Waitrose in Anstey Hall, Trumpington: As we write the public inquiry into this is due to start soon. We have submitted written evidence opposing this plan.
Alconbury Airfield: Local opposition to airfreight has prompted the developers to submit a revised planning application excluding this -- though everyone expects the issue to resurface later. We have no intrinsic objection to airfreight, provided the flights are diverted from other airports and not generated, and provided noise levels are strictly controlled (and zero in the small hours); but we do object to plans, such as those at the Spittals interchange, to increase road capacity on the A14 (or A1) to accommodate base activity, since this undermines the credibility of the developers in seeking to transfer traffic from road to rail. (One must remember that many movements which will proceed via the base if the development goes ahead would be using the A14 and/or A1 anyway.)
Ramsey western development: We have objected to this on the grounds that the developers will be paying for road improvements but no public transport improvements. We are calling for the developers to contribute to a new rail station at Abbots Ripton (which would also serve the Alconbury site) with a shuttle bus to Ramsey.
A505: The Council has agreed to press ahead with the plans to cut off access across the A505 at Moorfield Road and also ban right turning movements in the area. We shall continue to oppose this on the grounds that it will enforce detours on bus routes 112 and 102/3. Stagecoach Cambus have said that it believes the diversion can be accommodated within existing schedules (which allow a 5 minute layover at each end), but how high is their credibility now? In any case, is the attractiveness of bus travel enhanced by imposing detours of over a mile while car drivers can go straight up the M11? Or would Cambus be changing the route and deleting some existing stops? The Council says it plans to remove the diversion of northbound 102/3 via Whittlesford Royston Road because of time constraints -- and then goes on to say that the detour will not cause any significant passenger inconvenience. But why was this diversion introduced except to make it more convenient for Whittlesford people to use the service? Unless the Council introduces an exemption for buses, we shall urge the Government not to provide finance for the scheme when the Council include it in their transport plan.
Park & Ride: We have supported the ``Worts Causeway'' option for bus priorities between the Babraham Road Park & Ride and Cambridge City Centre -- and we believe this would also be useful for buses on route 45 via Fulbourn. Unfortunately when we replied to the consultation the Cambus crisis was not yet in the open -- otherwise we would have urged the Council to insist as part of its Quality Partnership agreement that the operator should not provide this service at the expense of others (see headline article). However, we did urge that park & ride be provided as part of existing routes 22, 103, 112 and 113 (which together offer 4 journeys per hour at present) rather than by a ``dedicated'' service; this mode of operation would overcome our objections. Meanwhile the Council is starting to consult on its Trumpington proposals -- and we shall certainly make this point there.
A14 workshop: This has been organised by the Highways Agency as part of the consultation programme heralded by the Government in its Roads Review. Unfortunately we have not been invited (though the T2000 Suffolk branch has) but we will be using the opportunity to circulate our ideas for the corridor. The highlights are reopening of the St Ives line through to Huntingdon; a guided busway between Cambridge, Bar Hill and Cambourne; diverting the A14 by a tunnel under Huntingdon to reclaim part of its existing route for other purposes including the St Ives line and a separate access from the A14 to Huntingdon avoiding Godmanchester; and an express bus between Haverhill and Rugby serving the A14 corridor including stops to serve villages west of Brampton, linked to these villages by safe walking routes.
Not much change in the winter 1998-9 timetable. The 08.12 Ipswich-Saxmundham is retimed to 08.16, thus making an ``official'' connection with the 08.11 arrival from Cambridge. But, those of you who read our feature on Orford in the last newsletter, don't plan your visit yet -- more on this later. In other parts of the country, noteworthy features are the introduction of winter Sunday trains on the Heart of Wales line (just 1 a day, so no day trips possible) and the Settle & Carlisle line (3 trains a day).
We start by listing, with comments, those improvements financed by the Rural Transport Fund that have already been introduced.
X55-6 Cambridge-Peterborough/Kings Lynn: Introduction of Sunday service. This needs to be complemented by improved connections, including new services St Neots-Ely (connecting at Sutton, also with X5 at St Neots Tesco) and Cambridge-Cottenham/Waterbeach (connecting at Waterbeach Slap-up). All stops should be served north of the Slap-up, and some journeys should run via village routes between March and Wisbech replacing former 337.
553-4 Cambridge-Huntingdon: Hourly evening service. Should be retimed to connect with trains at Huntingdon and with an restored Peterborough bus service.
115 Cambridge-Six Mile Bottom: Restoration of evening buses and one extra daytime service. Route is now operated by Myalls. Good news, but we believe that the route should be split with the section east of Fulbourn integrated with Cambus 45 and 160 to provide a through service between Cambridge and Newmarket via Addenbrookes, with the western section running as part of the City network interworked with the 44.
427 St Ives-Ramsey: Introduction of Saturday service. Good news but should be integrated with other services in the Warboys area.
16 Royston-Orwell: New market day service complementing 15 via Abington Piggotts and Shingay, two villages isolated by the April cuts. Good news but existing network is inefficient.
359 Manea-March: Restoration of off-peak service, another victim of the April cuts. However we would prefer the village to be served by trains, which would also provide a service to/from Ely, and which could link with an extension of route 360 from Wisbech which currently terminates at Christchurch. The extension could serve Welney and Manea village itself.
435 Upwood-Huntingdon: Restoration of Thursday service, yet another victim of the April cuts. We'd like to see this and other buses incorporated in a new interchange network based at Sawtry Village College, with buses to St Ives on Mondays and Thursdays (connecting for Huntingdon) and on other days to Ramsey, March and Downham Market connecting for Kings Lynn.
Cambus cuts. The City Rail Link has been cut to run every 25 minutes. Why not 30 minutes, enabling a more regular frequency when combined with the 5 and 10? Route 3A between the City Centre and Fison Road is withdrawn. Why not allow passengers to use the Airport Park & Ride, or are the interests of motorists sacrosanct? On routes 4/6/8 certain journeys have been axed in such a way as to abandon the regular interval operation -- hardly helpful to passengers who need to have the leaflet with them if they are to plan their journeys.
Cambus are planning further changes on 12 Oct. We don't have full details, but routes 160 and 165 are withdrawn, with replacement by Cambs CC tender. We are suggesting that the 160 should be amalgamated with the 115 (see above), while maybe the 165 could be replaced by a diversion of the 225 (see below). On route 45 the first arrival at Haverhill will run through from Cambridge at 08.15, and there will be a westbound return at 17.05.
We also mention the loss of the 84 which provides the only service over Twenty Pence Bridge apart from the weekly 110. Wilburton and north are linked to Cambridge by the more frequent X55-6, but this doesn't help Cottenham people who want to go north. Rampton is served by diversions on route 104/5 at some cost to the latter's regularity.
Huntingdon area: Huntingdon & District now have 4 buses per hour between Cambridge and Huntingdon in the daytime. Now we need a park & ride site at Fenstanton to enable motorists from further afield to avoid driving on the A14... Also minor improvements to the rest of their network. Whippet are cutting services 2 and 3, the latter not affecting the ``village'' journeys which in our opinion should be linked with their route 8 (as should their 9 and 413). Most journeys on route 1 will omit Fenstanton. Also changes to Huntingdon local services.
There will be some benefits from other counties' Rural Transport Fund plans. Wisbech gains a 2 hourly off-peak service to Downham Market, via Outwell and Upwell, with reasonable train connections. We'd like to see this interworked with 360 to provide a joint hourly service to Outwell, with connections there from Christchurch and Upwell to Downham Market -- though this may have to be amended if our Manea plans (see above) come to fruition. In Suffolk villages near Newmarket will benefit from new, more regular, services to Haverhill and Bury. On the Haverhill route is Ashley, more than compensating for the loss of the 167 in the April cuts; we have suggested that the route should divert via Kirtling, the other village affected. However, the Kennett/Kentford area has lost out from a weight restriction which means that the X11 now runs non-stop between Newmarket and Bury, and buses that do serve Kentford have to make extensive detours.
Here is Cambs CC's list of proposals for further use of Rural Transport Fund money, with our comments. (Changes already implemented have been dealt with.)
101 Ely-Sawston via Soham, Burwell, Cambridge and Addenbrookes: This looks as if it would run 2 hourly between Ely and Airport Park & Ride, then half hourly to Sawston. There would also be a Sunday service. We do not believe that the link between the Park & Ride and Addenbrookes would be attractive to motorists as it would run through the city centre -- we'd prefer an extension of the existing park & ride service to Addenbrookes via Fulbourn Tesco (and back to the City via Trumpington, Grantchester and Madingley Road P&R). We welcome the introduction of an additional 2 hourly service between Ely and Cambridge on what is effectively route 122, but this should include a 3-way interchange at Burwell with routes 111 and 116. Between Cambridge and Sawston we call for a yet more frequent service obtained by diverting the 22, 112 and 103 (see comments on Babraham Rd P&R earlier), with Shelford Road served by a replacement service linked with the villages on route 31. On Sundays we believe that Burwell should be served by an extension of route 757 (Colchester-Mildenhall) and Soham by an ``Ely Heritage Bus'' (see below).
113 Cambridge-Haverhill: Upgrade to half hourly daytime, hourly evenings and Sundays. We believe that extra daytime buses should be ``express'' between Cambridge and Haverhill, the only possible detours being via Linton village, and perhaps Horseheath to enable the 113 to be diverted via the Camps. Such a service could run through from Oxford (route X5), or our proposed A14 corridor express to Rugby. We welcome an hourly evening and Sunday service, presumably via Sawston; we'd like to see rail connections at Whittlesford which would be only just off the route.
2 Cambridge-Oakington and 44 Cambridge-Fulbourn: The county leaflet refers to an ``hourly Sunday service'' but this already exists (route 92). We see no strong case for a more frequent service, except that Fulbourn could have twice as many buses if they ran as a loop returning to the City via Newmarket Rd. Any idea what the Council means?
X94 Peterborough-Norwich: Enhance current evening and Sunday service -- ``currently awaiting consideration by other local authorities''. We believe the Sunday service is now reasonably adequate, but more evening buses are definitely needed, as are diversions via Eye (Sundays) and many other villages (evenings) to replace previously lost services such as the 337.
109 Cambridge-Ely: 2 hourly Sunday service. In conjunction with the 101 proposal above, this suggests that Wicken Fen would lose its current access by route 19. Our proposal, as suggested earlier, is a Cottenham/Waterbeach circular to cover the section south of Waterbeach; extra stops on the X55-6 to cover the A10 between there and Stretham; and an Ely Heritage Bus connecting with the X55-6 at Stretham for Ely, Prickwillow, Soham, Downham and Wicken, and possibly Welney too. Ely would also be accessible by changing at Sutton.
159 Cambridge-Huntingdon: 2 hourly evening service via Bar Hill, Willingham, St Ives and the Hemingfords. This presumably replaces the 151 which runs direct between Bar Hill and Fenstanton. Yet another opportunity to provide rail connections at Huntingdon.
125 Ely-Pymore: No acceptable tender was received so the existing service is continuing. This could be incorporated in the proposed Ely dial a ride (see below). The Welney extension must be retained until alternative facilities are provided (e.g. by our Manea rail interchange, see above).
190 Gamlingay/Longstowe/Yelling-St Neots: Mon-Fri except that Yelling would be served Tuesdays and Thursdays only. We'd give higher priority to a Cambridge link from Gamlingay. Yelling should be served by an extension of route 8 (Cambridge-Papworth via Elsworth).
335 Huntingdon-March: 2 hourly service via Warboys and Chatteris. Welcome -- one of the most important missing links. But this needs to be coordinated with the 330/1 and 427 to provide a more efficient network.
420 Sawtry-Huntingdon via the Riptons: This could also form part of our ``Sawtry Village College Interchange''.
116 Fordham-Ely peak rail link: Via Isleham and Soham. Generally welcome provided it's integrated with other buses on this route.
140 Mordens rail link: This was tried several years ago -- we urged that it should be integrated with the (still running) Ashwell rail link, with some journeys direct but others running via Ashwell. As is currently the case at Ashwell, positioning journeys should be added for the benefit of people travelling to the villages. A journey should connect with the 10.18 to London (the first on which Network Railcards are valid) and we'd also like to see a late evening return, perhaps an extension of the last bus from Luton to Baldock connecting with a train (e.g. at Baldock). On seeing this proposal we added it, as modified above, to our own list.
154 Somersham-Huntingdon: Via Earith, St Ives and the Hemingfords. ``Mon-Sat am and pm journeys connecting with Cambridge and London rail service, also provides Somersham-Cambridge bus link''. Any idea what that means?
381 Wisbech-March rail link via Rings End: Why not divert X56 via March station?
250 Cambridge schools service: This is certainly needed. Should be open to the public, e.g. for access to Addenbrookes. As public availability is an RTF condition we welcome this proposal and look forward to further details.
123 Ely dial a ride: ``Villages to be specified.'' Should include Upware, Pymore, Soham Fen, Little Ouse and Blackhorse Drove. And what happened to the county's postbus proposals?
333 Ramsey circular: We'd give higher priority to evening and Sunday links with Huntingson and Peterborough which, like the following proposal, could serve the Peterborough-Cambridge axis (see comment on 553-4 above).
351 Huntingdon-Peterborough Showcase Cinema: Via Stilton. We welcome this given attention to connections at each end.
353 Folksworth-Peterborough peak and off-peak: Should run as part of a longer route.
359 Manea-March peak: The off-peak service has already been introduced -- see above. Our comments on the proposed peak service are similar.
167 Kirtling-Newmarket: Should be provided as a diversion of the forthcoming Suffolk CC service between Newmarket and Haverhill (see above).
There are several important omissions -- notably West Hunts and south-west of Cambridge.
We start with Norfolk which introduced an extensive new network on 1 Sept in the West Norfolk area, with three attractive timetable booklets that will, we hope, eventually form part of a set covering the whole county. The new routes are as follows: 143-5 Thetford-Kings Lynn (about 2 hourly); 432/4 Dereham/Beetley-Kings Lynn (6 journeys, 3 serving Dereham); 37 Watton-Wymondham (evenings); 78/9 Holt/Cley-Fakenham (7-8 journeys, 3 serving Holt); 156 Fakenham-Dereham (1-2 journeys); 165/965 Dereham-Swaffham (2-3 journeys); 177/8 Kings Lynn-Attleborough (irregular, some extensions to Diss); 506 Kings Lynn-Terrington; 419 Kings Lynn-Docking (about 2 hourly); 441 Kings Lynn-Gt Ryburgh (peak); 446/7 Fakenham-Swaffham (1-2 journeys); 530/1 Thetford-Wymondham/Watton (connects for Kings Lynn and Norwich); X98 Kings Lynn-Cromer (2 hourly, 4 journeys on Sundays); 365 Wisbech-Downham Market (2 hourly); and 425 Fakenham-Hunstanton (Fri, Sat evenings). There are also extra journeys on many other services.
Most likely to be useful to Cambs people are the 365, X98 (which provides a fast link between Cromer and the Fen Line), and the Coastliner (not included, but now with an all-year service), but any route from Downham Market or Kings Lynn will offer useful links to/from Ely and Cambridge because of the good Fen Line train service. A disappointment is the failure to improve the Kings Lynn-Spalding service which has no evening or Sunday service east of Sutton Bridge; also we'd have liked a Saturday (market day) service from Downham Market to Swaffham serving the National Trust's Oxborough Hall during its opening hours.
Now we turn to Suffolk where the following are among the many changes on 26 Oct.
110-3 linking Sudbury, Stowmarket and Ipswich via Bildeston -- irregular.
160 Orford-Ipswich, 2 journeys Mon-Sat. In principle a big improvement on the formerly Thursday only service, but positioning journeys should be added to bring visitors to the various attractions at Orford.
304 Bury-Diss. Hourly service between Bury and Stanton extending alternately to Diss and Walsham le Willows, the latter having an alternative route from Bury (which serves Garboldisham).
355 Mildenhall-Bury. Hourly service alternately via Icklingham and Risby, running as circulars from Bury -- but we'd like to see a 2 hourly extension to Ely station/Tesco's via RAF Mildenhall and Prickwillow.
457 Stowmarket-Diss. Augments 456, formerly part of a commercial service to Norwich. When this was cut back there was a cliff-hanging problem about funding for a replacement. Now there are more buses than before!
117 Ipswich-Framlingham/Harleston. 2 hourly via Otley.
225 Haverhill-Newmarket. 6 journeys, 2 via Ashley. We want some to run via Kirtling.
80-4 and 99: From Ipswich and Woodbridge, hourly each way to Aldeburgh/Saxmundham circular, 2 hourly to Diss via Framlingham, hourly to Bawdsey, 2 hourly to Lowestoft.
173 Woodbridge-Felixstowe Ferry: 2 hourly.
146 Clare-Bury: 3-4 journeys.
Other Bury area improvements include more buses to Newmarket, Haverhill and intermediately (too complicated to detail); also to Sudbury via Hartest, Gt Barton, Risby, Thurston and Hadleigh.
We now turn to Herts where the list so far is a lot shorter. 331 (Hertford-Royston) is diverted via Barley. There are improvements west of Bishops Stortford to Buntingford and Perry Green, including a new through service (386) to Hitchin.
Finally, in Essex, some changes unrelated to the RTF. The Braintree Countrycar is withdrawn and replaced by changes to conventional buses; some of these are improvements, some not. Lots of changes in Epping Forest district including restored 213 hourly on the scenic route between Waltham Cross and Epping.
Further afield. Wilts and Glos have improved buses on the corridor between Swindon and Cirencester, including evening and Sunday services. Glos has also introduced evening and Sunday buses to Tewkesbury, and a new Sunday service from Gloucester to the noted beauty spot of Symonds Yat via Lydney and Coleford. Somerset has introduced 13 new Sunday routes -- evening improvements are expected shortly. Nearby Avon has improvements in the attractive Chew Valley, including a Sunday service between Bristol and Blagdon. A Sunday service is planned between Bristol and Severn Beach. Up north, there is a long list of improvements in Derbyshire including Sunday services between Burton and Uttoxeter, daily buses between Chesterfield and Manchester, a new network in the Amber Valley, daily buses between Ashbourne and Matlock or Buxton, and many other improvements throughout the county. At long last a 2 hourly service (X73) has been reintroduced between Birmingham and Nottingham -- we have no details of the route. And there's now an hourly express service between Leicester, Derby and Bakewell, though for some journeys one has to change at Derby into the long standing Trans-Peak (Nottingham-Manchester).
This is a summary of changes to bus services following from a reshuffle by Stagecoach Cambus with the aim of reducing staffing requirements. It is based on information provided by Cambs County Council and will be sent to all members who at the time of writing have not yet been sent their September 1998 newsletter. Our comments are given in bold.
1 (Cambridge rail link): withdrawn, see 3, which restores a passable service.
2 (Oakington-Cambridge): amalgamates with 10 (Cambridge-Addenbrookes via station) but not serving Grafton Centre. First from Oakington 07.47, last back leaves Emmanuel St 18.24.
3 (Cowley Rd-Fison Rd): runs Fison Rd-Stn every 10 minutes. Cowley Rd section served by 7 (also every 10 minutes). Runs (from where?) every 10 mins 07.50 to 18.20 then 18.40 and 19.00, from Emmanuel St 10 mins earlier. Extra journeys St Andrews St to Cowley Rd 18.17 and 18.37.
6 (Buchan St-Teversham): 08.00 ex Teversham and 17.48 ex Emmanuel St (17.27 ex CRC) extend to/from Newmarket replacing 114.
8 (Fen Estate-Addenbrookes): Timing changes.
9 (Cambridge-Addenbrookes-Trumpington): withdrawn, see 31. We believe the latter does not offer an adequate replacement, and also unduly extends journey time from the villages on the 31 route, but have no ``quick fix'' solutions. However our proposals to split the 31 into two sections each running as an extension of a Shelford Rd service, and to run a circular park & ride route serving Addenbrookes via Trumpington, would solve both problems.
X11 (Bury-Cambridge): 15.00 ex Bury terminates Newmarket on schooldays.
X13 (Cambridge-Haverhill): withdrawn, 17.40 ex Cambridge (136) extended to Chalkstone Way.
22/103 (Cambridge-Granta Valley): 08.05 ex Cambridge and 15.50 ex Sawston VC withdrawn. 07.51 ex Duxford starts Hinxton, 07.45 ex Hinxton starts Whittlesford.
31 (Cambridge-Fowlmere/Barley): Takes over full length of route 9. Departures from Cambridge are 08.35 (32 to Fowlmere), 11.05 and 15.00 (to Trumpington), 12.35 and 14.20 (to Fowlmere), 16.00 to Chishill via Leys School, 17.45 to Barley. Return 07.02 from Barley, 08.55, 11.23 and 16.06 from Trumpington, 09.25 and 13.25 from Fowlmere.
44/5 (Cambridge-Fulbourn/Haverhill): 15.10 Cambridge-Fulbourn and 16.02 return extend to/from Balsham; 15.40 Cambridge-West Wickham and 17.02 ex Fulbourn extend to/from Withersfield; 17.32 ex Fulbourn starts Haverhill but runs M-F only; 09.40 Cambridge-Fulbourn and 10.02 and 15.32 return, 15.05 Cambridge-Haverhill and 15.40 Cambridge-Fulbourn withdrawn; 17.10 Cambridge-Fulbourn/Haverhill amalgamated; 07.42 Fulbourn-Cambridge replaced by extension of 07.55 ex Cherry Hinton (route 4); 07.05 Haverhill-Cambridge amalgamated with 08.05 ex Fulbourn.
111/116/122 (Cambridge/Ely/Newmarket via Burwell): 08.00 Cambridge-Bottisham and 16.00 return run to/from Soham as 122 also replacing 15.06 Soham-Burwell (116), 08.45 Cambridge-Newmarket 10 mins earlier, 16.45 Cambridge-Newmarket 30 mins earlier and runs 6 days a week, 09.15 Burwell-Cambridge starts Soham as 122, new journey 16.50 Newmarket-Ely, 17.45 Ely-Burwell extends to Newmarket, 16.45 Cambridge-Soham diverts via Bottisham, 17.20 extends to Ely, 07.10 Soham-Cambridge starts Isleham, 09.45 Cambridge-Ely withdrawn.
141: morning journey 25 mins earlier, afternoon jny 10 mins earlier.
160/5/8: withdrawn except Friday journeys operated by Burton. Cambs CC is seeking replacements for those journeys and villages not covered by routes 46, Burtons 165, 200 and 202. These would run from Six Mile Bottom (except on Tuesdays -- market day -- why?) also from Upend Tues and Sats, the latter at last provising a part replacement for former 167.
170: withdrawn, replacement to be investigated.
171: withdrawn between Earith and St Ives, connections available on 157. 3 journeys per day Earith-Ely, first and last each way connecting to/from St Ives. Buses leave Earith 07.42, 10.37 and 13.59, Ely 10.00, 13.15 and 16.15. Are the connections to/from that allow travel from Cottenham and intermediate points to Ely recognised? Aldreth journeys retimed.
177: withdrawn, 155 provides alternative.
196: 07.46 ex Waterbeach runs 6 mins earlier, 18.00 ex Cambridge replaced by extension of 3 (q.v.) starting station at 17.50.