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On 12 Nov major changes were made to buses within Cambridge City, with some changes further afield. In this newsletter we describe them and our reaction to them. However, the Cambridge Area Bus Users Campaign (CAMBUC) has produced its own newsletter (which was written earlier). We have therefore decided to send their newsletter [PDF] out to T2000 branch members, which enables us to avoid duplicating their newsletter.
The committee of CAMBUC has decided that in present circumstances the best way forward for CAMBUC lies in becoming an email group. In future there will be no membership fee. This does not affect any CAMBUC members whose email address we have, but others will have the choice of becoming members of Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk (T2000 C&WS) for the current year (in which case they don't have to do anything) or asking us for a full refund of their CAMBUC subscription.
To be specific (and hopefully not too confusing!):
1. Both newsletters are being sent in paper form to all Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk members and National Supporters living in our area; to others who normally get it; and to CAMBUC members for whom we do not have an email address.
2. This newsletter is being emailed to all those who normally get it by email, including all CAMBUC members for whom we have an email address. Such people should already have been notified about the CAMBUC newsletter. Both newsletters can be viewed on our websites, each of which has a link to the other; our website address is shown on Page 1. If you are not a CAMBUC member but wish to be put on their email list, then email one of the CAMBUC committee. Three of the committee are shown on Page 1; the fourth is Alan Glover (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. If you have an email address which is not on our records, then please email it to one of the T2000 C&WS or CAMBUC committee, and we will put you on the T2000 C&WS and CAMBUC email lists. (Let us know if you don't want to be on both, e.g. members living outside the Cambridge area, which extends as far as the surrounding market towns, may not wish to be on the CAMBUC list.)
4. If you are a CAMBUC member with no email address, then if you do nothing you will be given free membership of T2000 C&WS for the 2001-2 membership year (which lasts till May 2002, though we normally continue sending newsletters for the rest of the calendar year). If you are already a T2000 C&WS member, then your CAMBUC subscription will be used as a credit towards your T2000 C&WS subscription for 2002-3. If you are dissatisfied with these arrangements, then write to the Treasurer and we will give you a full refund.
Finally, note that if your CAMBUC subscription cheque was sent after CAMBUC made its decision on its future, then it is being returned herewith, and you will be treated as a non-member. If you wish to join and have an email address then notify us.
We also have to report the departure of our Assistant Coordinator, and CAMBUC coordinator, John Ratcliff, who has moved to take up a transport-related job in Harrow (London), and will no longer be involved actively with either Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk or CAMBUC. Also, Clive Bennett has resigned from being Transport 2000 representative for Essex.
We now return to the bus changes. We endorse the general comments made in the CAMBUC newsletter, but we feel we have to draw attention to the downsides of the change. This isn't the first time that our local bus operator has tried to ``simplify'' the network, with the result that long standing links have been lost.
We believe that such an outcome is inherent in the transport planning process since buses were deregulated: if we are to move towards a fully integrated network then network planning must be vested in local authorities. Furthermore, local authorities must be democratically accountable not only in theory but also in practice, i.e. that if local councils write off local communities then they will suffer in the ballot box.
As stated at the top of Page 2, our AGM has been retimed to begin at 1.30. The date (Sat 15 Dec) and address (1 Fitzroy Lane, Cambridge) are unchanged. To get to Fitzroy Lane from the bus station, go across Christs Pieces, over the pedestrian crossing, and across New Square to Fitzroy Street. Turn left just before the Grafton Centre, then left again, then go through the door marked ``1 to 9'' and up the stairs. The entrance is just opposite the top of the stairs. The Secretary will be providing some refreshments from 1.00.
Among the topics that will be discussed at the AGM are the future directions of campaigning with respect to bus services. CAMBUC members are therefore welcome at the AGM -- and remember, if we have no email address for you, you will be treated as a T2000 C&WS member as described above.
Some members have still not paid their 2000-1 subscription. If you receive a renewal notice with this newsletter then please do so as this will be your last reminder.
We will include a list of new members consequent on the CAMBUC arrangements described above in our next newsletter (probably in January). If you do not wish to be listed in the newsletter, please let us know before then.
In addition to the changes described in the CAMBUC newsletter, the following changes have happened in the Cambridge area:
Citi 1-5: These are generally shown on buses with the prefix ``C'', i.e. Citi route 1 is shown as C1.
Stagecoach X5: Now runs from the coach station, except those trips which run to Bedford as route X30 which continue to use Bay 3 at Drummer St.
Stagecoach X6: Completely withdrawn except for a round trip between Peterborough and Cambridge, and one extra morning journey from Huntingdon.
Stagecoach X9: No longer runs to/from Kings Lynn except for one journey in each direction.
Stagecoach X10-12: Now runs from Drummer St.
Stagecoach 31: The journey that has hitherto run as en extension of route 112 now runs as an extension of its replacement, the 33.
Stagecoach 44: What's left of this service now runs from Drummer St.
Stagecoach 88: This will provide a park & ride service from the new Trumpington site to the City Centre and Grafton Centre.
Myalls 102: The Sunday service between Cambridge and Saffron Walden appears to be unchanged.
Whippet 115: Appears to be unchanged. However the late evening journey operated by Stagecoach and running as an extension of route 5 appears to have been lost.
Whippet 196: It is not clear what has happened to this route or to the peak journeys operated by Stagecoach and running as an extension of route 3, but it has been reported that there is now a reduced level of service operated by Guide Friday.
In addition to the higher frequencies on some routes, here are some of the gains:
(a) New links between Trumpington and Addenbrookes (C5).
(b) New direct services from Addenbrookes to Duxford and Whittlesford (35).
(c) New links into the Science Park (C4). We understand that there is informal pedestrian access to Kings Hedges Road and Cambridge Regional College -- we would like this to be formalised.
(d) More frequent daytime services to the Wilbrahams (17).
And here are some of the losses:
(a) Buses between Cambridge and Fulbourn are much slower. This also applies to villages beyond on route 44; except for Balsham there is the new inconvenience of having to change there -- this also applies to journeys between Fulbourn and Haverhill.
(b) Teversham has lost all its evening and Sunday buses. And the Wilbrahams have lost their evening service.
(c) The cuts to the X6 and X9 have made many journeys harder. While the railway between Cambridge and Kings Lynn provides an alternative for many X9 journeys, which is actually cheaper for those with Network Railcards travelling when these are valid, this doesn't help people living in Southery or Hilgay who now have to go north to go south, whereas before they could (one presumes -- this was never advertised) pick up their bus on the A10).
(d) The 196 has been severely cut -- assuming that our information is correct.
(e) There are now no buses using Airport Way (between Teversham and the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site).
And here are some missed opportunities, some of which we shall be trying to pursue in future:
(a) Route 5A used to provide a link between Addenbrookes and the Newmarket Road Park & Ride, but the opportunity was missed to provide through services to the Newmarket Road housing estates or connections with the X10-12 to/from Newmarket (which didn't and don't stop at the park & ride site).
(b) The link between Addenbrookes and Trumpington was provided solely by route 31. Now that a better service is provided on route C5, there was an opportunity to redesign the 31 to provide better services to the villages.
(c) While Duxford and Whittlesford now have direct links to Addenbrookes, there is still no direct link from Saffron Walden and intermediate villages on route 32. Furthermore, connections are now worse than ever for people travelling between Duxford or Whittlesford and Saffron Walden.
(d) Diversion of route X9 via Southery and Hilgay could have dramatically improved the service to these villages while maintaining a service to some villages on the A10 north of Downham Market. (Now all that's available is the local route which runs via Watlington.)
(e) We believe that the X6 could have carried more passengers if it had served more intermediate stops, including Alconbury, Papworth, Cambourne and Sawston (the last three of which have no direct link to Huntingdon, Peterborough or Stansted).
(f) We would like to see the 196, 9A and 106 integrated to provide a regular service between Cambridge and Ely via Horningsea, Waterbeach station (rail connections), Waterbeach village, Landbeach, Cottenham and Haddenham. Combined with a new route running as above to Cottenham then to Rampton and Willingham, and linkage of the 155 and 157, this would offer the opportunity of hourly buses to Fen Ditton, Horningsea, Earith and Somersham.
(g) Beestons who have long run the Haverhill-Sudbury service have recently taken over from First Eastern Counties between Sudbury and Ipswich, with support from Suffolk County Council. We would like to see a through service between Cambridge and Ipswich, which could use the 44 route via Fulbourn now that Stagecoach has largely abandoned this.
(h) Tendered services in the area between Haverhill and Newmarket have been developed on a largely ad hoc basis as Stagecoach/Cambus has pulled out. There is an opportunity to link with Suffolk CC to provide a more frequent service between Haverhill (also Linton) and Newmarket connecting with the new 16, or with the Cambridge-Ipswich service mentioned above, at Balsham. This could replace most of existing routes 44-47 and 115.
(i) There is still a hiatus between the close of the evening service and the start of the late night journeys at weekends. In particular, there is nothing from the railway station to the City Centre between 23.15 and 23.30 when several cross-country trains get in.
There have been considerable changes to rural routes in Peterborough, with several new routes in the Newborough and Peakirk areas. Just to the south, Cambs CC has introduced a new network of routes in the Ramsey and Warboys areas. Numbered 330-4 and operated by Cavalier as part of the Cambs CC ``Key Routes'' network, these provide an overall hourly service between Huntingdon, Warboys and Ramsey, with 2 hourly extensions to St Ives, Peterborough and Chatteris. The former occasional services between Ramsey, Chatteris, March and Manea (route 333) are included within this network. Also around Peterborough, the 48 to Sawtry via Folksworth has been increased to hourly, effectively replacing the X6 as part of the hourly network between Sawtry and Peterborough (which now includes Stilton too), and there have been minor changes to route X4 to Northampton, with a later last journey from Peterborough.
It was thought at one time that Arriva route 747 between Peterborough and Leicester was to be axed, but Leicestershire and Rutland County Councils have reprieved this route till next spring. After that it is expected that there will be a more frequent service between Leicester and Stamford. We are pressing for advertised connections and through ticketing to/from Peterborough (also with Barton's Stamford-Nottingham route). We have urged Peterborough City Council to use this as an opportunity to provide a more regular service via Uffington, Ufford and Marholm, which would also serve the hospital in Stamford and the two in Peterborough.
Some time ago right turns out of Wittering village towards the A1 were banned, with buses diverted via the A47, but, for the main operator in this area (Kime) this has never been shown on Cambs CC or Peterborough bus maps. This is likely to be corrected in future. At present, even if this turn was permitted, buses would have to use the A47 because due to roadworks (which will be providing roundabouts on the A1/A47 intersection) there is currently no access between the southbound carriageway on the A1 and Wansford village.
There is still no proper service to Flag Fen, whose new Visitor Centre has opened. Our recommendation is to access it via the Green Wheel, walking from Kings Dyke, Stanground or Peterborough itself (unless you can conveniently cycle).
The service between Wisbech and Downham Market has disappeared except for the one journey a week via Welney. In its place are more buses from Wisbech to Three Holes. The trouble is, Wisbech isn't on the rail network, while Downham Market is. (So is Manea, and we would like to see this used as a railhead for the area, but this would require more trains to stop.)
At the other end of the county, there have been significant changes to route 200 between Newmarket and Thetford. This now runs between Newmarket and Kennett via Tesco and the A14/A11, not serving Kennett End and Station, though some journeys are interworked with the 201 which does serve Kennett End (and Kentford).
Finally, we welcome the decision by Anglia Railways to extend the validity of their Anglia Plus ticket to include the lines from Bury to Cambridge and Ely. We hope the line from Thetford to Ely and Cambridge will follow next year when they introduce their new service between Norwich and Cambridge (for which they have Rail Passenger Partnership funding). Anglia Plus tickets are available after 08.45 on Mondays to Fridays and all day at weekends and cover the whole of their network within Norfolk and Suffolk plus Norwich to Thetford.
The Cambridge-Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study (CHUMMS) has gone through the Regional Planning Panel and now awaits a decision from the Minister. But even assuming the report gets ministerial approval, there is still likely to be a vigorous campaign (which we shall support) to get rail rather than guided bus on the St Ives line corridor. At the most recent meeting of STEER, the regional campaign group to which we are affiliated, it was agreed that the quickest results could be obtained by improving conventional buses rather than going for any form of tracked system -- guided bus, light or heavy rail. And such a policy would also have the advantage of leaving the way open to reopen the St Ives line to heavy (and possibly light) rail at a later stage. We believe that both bus and rail are needed to complement each other and provide a fully integrated network.
There is considerable controversy at the moment on the siting of a planned new town around Cambridge. We (and STEER) take the view that if the town is to be more than a satellite of Cambridge it will need to be on the main line network. Of the proposed sites, this could apply to Waterbeach, Oakington (if the St Ives line is reopened), and Abington (if the Haverhill line is reopened). (Note that it has been reported that Haverhill would be glad to accept some of the Cambridge overspill population in return for restoration of its rail link.)
One of the prospective developers of the Oakington site, Gallagher, is promoting this as a means of financing the guided bus link on the St Ives line corridor. This will almost certainly prevent such a town from getting a proper rail link, so we would strongly oppose this proposal even if we didn't already believe that a rail link between Cambridge and Huntingdon was essential to the strategic needs of the area.
Work has started on the M11 Stansted Link and the widening of the A120 to Braintree. The former has led to long tailbacks on the M11 at peak times, and we believe there were better ways of achieving the aims of this project. We also believe that reopening the railway to Braintree should have had priority for funding over widening the road. (Of course, there is the perennial problem -- not properly tackled by the proliferation of multi-modal studies -- that road and rail projects are funded in different ways, more favourable to the former.)
The go-ahead has also been given to the dualling of a stretch of the A11 through Elveden in Suffolk, with a by-pass for this village. We believe that any work in this area must take into account the need to provide a bus service for Elveden village and the nearby Centre Parcs holiday centre. At present National Express Airlinks routes 727, 728 and 787 provide an approximately hourly service -- but the buses don't stop. (The same is true of Six Mile Bottom in Cambridgeshire, served by the 727 and 728.)
Returning to the topic of Multi-Modal Studies, the London-South Midlands MMS has been consulting its Wider Reference Group (on which we are represented) on the appropriate mix of three broad approaches: to increase capacity on all modes, to prioritise public transport, and to go for a policy of general restraint. Our preference would be for a mix of the last two, but we don't think the consultants have pursued them far enough: the second strategy only provides one new east-west rail link (and as this goes via Letchworth this means that there will be none that is at all direct), and comes to the conclusion that other east-west infrastructure projects will have to concentrate on roads. As for the third, there are proposals for road user charges in lots of urban areas, but nothing outside -- with the result, as the consultants have acknowledged, of increased pressures for development on greenfield sites which would be likely to attract yet more car traffic.
The consultation period for the A1 Route Management Strategy between London and Peterborough continues till 15 Dec. Details can be obtained at major public libraries and local authority offices in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Consultation will soon be launched for the Peterborough to Blyth section. In both cases our policy is to push for schemes that will make the road less of a barrier to walkers, cyclists and local buses. We are generally fairly supportive of grade separation, and provision of local service roads, when these help to achieve these aims, but oppose widening. One specific point is to ensure that any service road schemes are provided with new footbridges. The Tempsford and Langford grade separation schemes are now complete, but the former lacks an important bridge (at Tempsford Church End) which would provide adequate access to the bus service we are looking for (between St Neots and Bedford via Little Barford, Tempsford, Blunham, Moggerhanger and Willington).
In Norfolk there have recently been prolonged roadworks on the A10 just south of Kings Lynn. These have led to changes to the local bus network, and it appears that these changes have been used as a cloak for cuts. To be specific, there is the loss of the X9 as described earlier, which may be due to a transfer of a school contract away from Stagecoach. Also, the villages of Fair Green and Blackborough End were formerly served three times a day by route 38 which seems to have disappeared (and which didn't serve either village during the roadworks). Apart from a bus a few days a week that has always served Blackborough End, the only other service was route 28 which was shown on the timetable as being diverted during the duration of the works -- but which never did so, and has now resumed its former route ``officially''. Another cut which we have already mentioned is route 60 between Downham Market and Wisbech.
On the positive side, route 39 now offers an hourly service between Kings Lynn and Marham, and, more important to visitors, Coasthopper route 36 offers a 2 hourly service between Hunstanton and Sheringham 6 days a week. The last journey in the summer timetable doesn't run, but it is good to have decent access to this stretch of coast all year round.
Also in Norfolk, the new out of town Norfolk & Norwich Hospital has opened in Colney. It has a fairly good bus service -- indeed there are some all night journeys -- but the move from the city centre site will inevitably encourage people to drive rather than use public transport.
Our previous newsletter reported the loss of National Express Airlinks 767 between Cambridge and Oxford via Luton Airport. Unfortunately National Express didn't notify the change to their rail operating division, with the result that it is still advertised as part of the rail link between Luton Airport and Hitchin, connecting with trains run by WAGN (a National Express Group franchise).
Nearby, the Rural Bus Challenge Countryside Link project is expected to start in January. This (which is likely to have a different name when the time comes to promote it) will provide a regular service to villages in the Biggleswade/Sandy area. We would like to see the Gamlingay area included, as well as connections to Cambridge using a hybrid of Stagecoach's 188 and 118.
To the south, Hertfordshire County Council has introduced its Explorer ticket. The publicity is not quite clear, but we believe it is available on all Arriva Shires & Essex buses, all buses (except special school journeys) provided under Herts CC contract, and journeys within and just outside the county provided by other major operators (but not Stagecoach or routes under Transport for London contract). However, the interavailability agreement for Explorers between Stagecoach in Northants/Bedford (formerly United Counties) and Arriva Shires & Essex does seem to remain in existence. Stagecoach's Explorer tickets are now available on all Stagecoach routes throughout the country (except London routes and some express services), and on Arriva Shires & Essex, Arriva Fox (who currently run the 747 mentioned earlier), and Huntingdon & District.
In London, Travelcards now offer a discount on river trips run by many operators. These include the summer services from Gravesend which run to Greenwich on Wednesdays and Saturdays (in 2001). See next section for other Travelcard options.
We have already mentioned the all-year facilities offered by the Coasthopper in Norfolk, on the river Thames in London, and the new 1 day tickets in Hertfordshire and on Anglia Railways. Here are some other leisure trip opportunities worth putting on record:
London Travelcards are valid to Caterham on routes 404, 407 and 466 (from Purley, Coulsdon or Smitham), though not the 409; to Tatsfield on route 464 (from New Addington, linked by tram to Croydon); to Hawley's Corner near Westerham on route 246 (from Bormley or Hayes); and to Knockholt Pound on routes R5 and 402 (from Orpington or Bromley). This means that the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is within easy and economical access by Travelcard. A little known attraction not far from Tatsfield is the Roman remains displays at Clacket Lane service station on the M25. (There are displays on both sides of the motorway, and a tourist information centre on the north side. Pedestrian access is from Clacket Lane itself.)
Travelcards can also be used to visit Bluewater shopping centre using routes 96, 428 or 492 from Crayford station. Non-shoppers may also wish to visit the area which has some worthwhile walks. Unfortunately Travelcards are not valid on route 324 which uses the Dartford crossing (over the bridge on southbound journeys), but some good news on this route is that it has now returned to Romford (use 510 Stansted Airport to Harlow then 500 or 502). Arriva Shires & Essex Explorers (and probably Herts Explorers, see above) are valid.
To promote the Robin Hood line between Nottingham and Worksop, timetables for the route include a voucher which can be used to purchase a GBP 10 period return ticket to Cambridge, Norwich, Market Rasen, Manchester or Liverpool. This means, for example, that one can make two period return trips within a month from Cambridge to Liverpool for just GBP 40 plus the cost of getting to Mansfield (for which buy a day return to Lincoln, alight at Newark, and get a bus). Tickets are not available on Fridays or Sundays (the Robin Hood line has no Sunday trains), are only available from stations between Nottingham (exclusive) and Worksop (inclusive), and have to be bought at ticket offices at staffed stations (Mansfield and Worksop) when these are open.
Sunday buses are running through the winter to Devils Dyke from Brighton (hourly). A discount is given to rail ticket holders -- this presumably includes the Thameslink Daysave ticket which gives unlimited travel for a day on Thameslink trains, but which can only be bought at selected outlets (including Bedford Tourist Office, open from 09.30 but not on Sundays). Tickets can be bought in advance but must be dated when purchased.
Winter Sunday services are also running in Dartmoor. Routes from Exeter include a bus via Okehampton and Tavistock to Gunnislake with rail connection to/from Plymouth; and the Transmoor link between the two cities via Moretonhampstead. Both of these, as well as many other routes including the 39 between the two cities, are covered by the Dartmoor Sunday Rover.
Further west, the Eden Project near St Austell is open all year round and a winter visit will shorten the queues. There are regular buses from St Austell, and also a daily link from Newquay which uses a different approach to the site.
Finally, there are now all year weekend buses to the Yorkshire Dales as well as to other National Parks which have long had them, such as the Peak District and Snowdonia.
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