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In Praise of the Guided Bus Way

meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
edited March 2017 in Commuting chat
I'm living in Chesterton on the outskirts of Cambridge whilst Miss MRS gets better and on Saturday I got the opportunity to ride the cycle/foot/bridle path as far as Swavsey (wanted to go further but ran out of time). What a fabulous thing.

For those that don't know, Cambridge has installed a fair bit of guided bus way - concrete tracks on old rail line that only buses can use. The buses are guided along these tracks at 50mph and can drive as normal buses at either end. I'm pretty impressed by them despite a couple of mishaps. These routes go outside Cambridge and should help alleviate the shocking traffic congestion in the city. They also link to the railways stations (Cambridge will soon have two major stations to London).

Anyhow, alongside the bus way is a wide path for bikes, peds and nags. Like the buses, this connects the outlying villages and some big new developments. It's (almost) perfect for cycle commuting (my only criticism is that it swaps sides of the bus way making for some awkward diagonal crossings where you have to cross the bus way and then the road at lights that are only green for one at a time). It's a great way to get you into the city in a safe and serene environment. It's also very flat.

Great initiative!
ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
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  • I used this the other week when visiting the eldest who lives in the center of Cambridge and yes it's great. Parked the car out of town and zipped straight into the city center.
    They do love their bikes there!
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    Hahaaa. Presumably you weren't at the public consultations in Histon and Impington for the guided busway, MSR?
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Hahaaa. Presumably you weren't at the public consultations in Histon and Impington for the guided busway, MSR?

    Nope - it's a long way from Inverness to Histon :wink:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 470
    I grew up in Willingham and while I haven't ridden along the route it looks to be a great option. I'd imagine it's a bit windy though what with it being a straight line and being in Cambridgeshire...
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    Christ all the Fenlanders are coming out of the woodworks now!

    Willingham - used to have to drop & pick my sister up from her boyfriend's there back in the day.


    Yes the Histon/Impington public consultation is the only one I've witnessed where a) there have been police present and b) they were definitely needed.

    Suffice to say, they weren't altogether happy with it.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    edited March 2017
    It was also horrendously over budget. Even just the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge ... ded_Busway

    "The original cost estimate of £64 million rose to £181 million by December 2010.[7] An independent review of the project was announced on 21 September 2010,[8][9] in which the Cambridge MP Julian Huppert at the time described the busway as a "white elephant".[10] A court case with BAM Nuttall, the main contractor, was settled by Cambridgeshire County Council in August 2013"

    I never really found a use for it to be honest, but then I lived by Girton Corner, and my friends were in Histon, Impington, Milton, Cambridge Centre, and Cottenham.
  • j_mcdj_mcd Posts: 470
    Christ all the Fenlanders are coming out of the woodworks now!

    Hey, technically we're Fen-edge, the Fens start just outside the village...
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    The Willingham accents I heard over there say otherwise ;).
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I think you mean "Willin'am" :wink:

    I can confirm that the guided bus way was the closest thing to a N Holland bike ride I've done in this country: flat, windy, roughly straight and devoid of cars. The only big difference is that other cyclists acknowledge you in this country :wink:

    Why were people so upset, Rick? I thought it just used the old rail line? It would be perfect for those villages to get into Cambridge
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    It was also horrendously over budget. Even just the wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge ... ded_Busway

    "The original cost estimate of £64 million rose to £181 million by December 2010.[7] An independent review of the project was announced on 21 September 2010,[8][9] in which the Cambridge MP Julian Huppert at the time described the busway as a "white elephant".[10] A court case with BAM Nuttall, the main contractor, was settled by Cambridgeshire County Council in August 2013"

    I never really found a use for it to be honest, but then I lived by Girton Corner, and my friends were in Histon, Impington, Milton, Cambridge Centre, and Cottenham.

    Now it's paid for, it's great.

    Ah yes - I think we had this conversation before - I used to live near NIAB/University Farm on the Huntingdon road and cycled to Histon, Impington and Milton lots.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    I think you mean "Willin'am" :wink:

    I can confirm that the guided bus way was the closest thing to a N Holland bike ride I've done in this country: flat, windy, roughly straight and devoid of cars. The only big difference is that other cyclists acknowledge you in this country :wink:

    Why were people so upset, Rick? I thought it just used the old rail line? It would be perfect for those villages to get into Cambridge

    I think they felt it would cut the village in two and the traffic would be *so* busy that it would be problematic.

    It might also be to do with the fact Histoners are just not always the most pleasant people, but I wouldn't want to generalise about a particular village.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I think you mean "Willin'am" :wink:

    I can confirm that the guided bus way was the closest thing to a N Holland bike ride I've done in this country: flat, windy, roughly straight and devoid of cars. The only big difference is that other cyclists acknowledge you in this country :wink:

    Why were people so upset, Rick? I thought it just used the old rail line? It would be perfect for those villages to get into Cambridge

    I think they felt it would cut the village in two and the traffic would be *so* busy that it would be problematic.

    It might also be to do with the fact Histoners are just not always the most pleasant people, but I wouldn't want to generalise about a particular village.

    Too funny
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    If you ever spend much time in Histon you'll notice the locals tend to spend as much time walking in the middle of the road as they do on the pavement.

    Anyway, glad you enjoy the busway. They clogged up the roads building it during my teenage years and I sodded off by the time it was built.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,945
    My uncle lives in Huntingdon and I believe was involved in the project. A few Christmases ago the post-prandial family stroll was rerouted to take in the new terminus. Will have to pile the bikes into the car the next time we visit.
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  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,764 Lives Here
    We've got a customer/competitor/supplier right by the guided bus in Swavesey. I must say I was impressed with it and they seemed to like it.
    Why would a guided bus route cut a village in two any more than a railway would? Rather quieter than trains too. Some people just don't like change.
  • gabriel959gabriel959 Posts: 4,227
    I really like the design apart from when it floods around the Fen Drayton area, which is not often granted. Only real issue with its users is cyclists going too fast for the conditions and sometimes horse riders using it and leaving the horse poo on the surface.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 49,973 Lives Here
    veronese68 wrote:
    We've got a customer/competitor/supplier right by the guided bus in Swavesey. I must say I was impressed with it and they seemed to like it.
    Why would a guided bus route cut a village in two any more than a railway would? Rather quieter than trains too. Some people just don't like change.

    Histoners, when they're not busy inbreeding or fending off ASBOs for their children are not interested in any improved transport links.

    But the option was either nothing or a guided bus.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,553
    I designed the gauge-widening standard detail for the Cambridge Guided Bus Way.

    Not involved with the Public Consultation though, before anyone from the Fens gives me a bunch of sixes.
    Ben

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  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 11,225
    Just read a news article about cars driving down there by mistake.

    Best comment - they should have known it wasn't a road because it wasn't jammed with stationary traffic.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    veronese68 wrote:
    We've got a customer/competitor/supplier right by the guided bus in Swavesey. I must say I was impressed with it and they seemed to like it.
    Why would a guided bus route cut a village in two any more than a railway would? Rather quieter than trains too. Some people just don't like change.

    MGOC Workshop? I rode past there. What's really good about the busway is that you don't need to go on that truly dreadful (and dangerous) section of the A14

    I thought places like Histon would have been upset if the busway avoided them. Even if you don't cycle, an eBike would be a brilliant commuter vehicle for Cambridge. The roads around the Science Park are utterly stuffed during rush hour.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,764 Lives Here
    MGOC Workshop? I rode past there.
    Indeed. Lovely big place they have there, grown a lot since the first time I saw it, and there was no busway, just the disused railway and them in the former station yard.
    I'd have thought the busway a godsend for some of the villages.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    veronese68 wrote:
    MGOC Workshop? I rode past there.
    Indeed. Lovely big place they have there, grown a lot since the first time I saw it, and there was no busway, just the disused railway and them in the former station yard.
    I'd have thought the busway a godsend for some of the villages.

    Last time I was there was over 22 years ago when Mrs MRS had a RWA Midget.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,553
    veronese68 wrote:
    MGOC Workshop? I rode past there.
    Indeed. Lovely big place they have there, grown a lot since the first time I saw it, and there was no busway, just the disused railway and them in the former station yard.
    I'd have thought the busway a godsend for some of the villages.

    Last time I was there was over 22 years ago when Mrs MRS had a RWA Midget.

    You don't want to buy her another, by any chance?
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Ben6899 wrote:
    veronese68 wrote:
    MGOC Workshop? I rode past there.
    Indeed. Lovely big place they have there, grown a lot since the first time I saw it, and there was no busway, just the disused railway and them in the former station yard.
    I'd have thought the busway a godsend for some of the villages.

    Last time I was there was over 22 years ago when Mrs MRS had a RWA Midget.

    You don't want to buy her another, by any chance?

    We did talk about getting another though we need to buy a house darn sarf in the summer. PM me the deatails if you fancy a long shot...
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,764 Lives Here
    We did talk about getting another though we need to buy a house darn sarf in the summer. PM me the deatails if you fancy a long shot...
    I know where you can get some bits for one of them. :wink:
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Amen

    I cycle down parts of the busway cycle-route every day, albeit at the short (south-western) end. Glad to say I've held one of the KoM's on there (heading out of town) since July 2013. Must have been a hefty tail-wind! It's a great piece of infrastructure and heavily used where i am as it's one route out toward Addenbrookes from the town centre and station.

    The cycle infrastructure in Cambridge is just getting better every day. Where i leave the car in Melbourn, they're in the process of building a brand new cycle way that will mean you can travel on cycle routes all the way into central Cambridge. 13-14 miles!

    Other happy news is that this morning was an (unusual) headwind, which means after today's board meetings i can put the hammer down on the way home.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    veronese68 wrote:
    We did talk about getting another though we need to buy a house darn sarf in the summer. PM me the deatails if you fancy a long shot...
    I know where you can get some heavily discounted bits for one of them. :wink:

    This is what I read :wink:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    corriebee1 wrote:
    Amen.

    The cycle infrastructure in Cambridge is just getting better every day. Where i leave the car in Melbourn, they're in the process of building a brand new cycle way that will mean you can travel on cycle routes all the way into central Cambridge. 13-14 miles!

    Cambridge desperately needs this type of infrastructure - its way too small to support all of the businesses that are based there. Being as flat as it is, it's perfectly suited to bike commuting. I used to commute broadly the same route as the SW bus route takes except, back then, my brother an I were on MTBs and riding farm tracks. Fortunately, because we worked for ourselves, it didn't matter that we arrived covered in mud.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 22,764 Lives Here
    veronese68 wrote:
    We did talk about getting another though we need to buy a house darn sarf in the summer. PM me the deatails if you fancy a long shot...
    I know where you can get some slightly discounted bits, if bribed with cake or beer, for one of them. :wink:

    This is what I read :wink:
    This is what you should have read. :mrgreen:
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    veronese68 wrote:
    veronese68 wrote:
    We did talk about getting another though we need to buy a house darn sarf in the summer. PM me the deatails if you fancy a long shot...
    I know where you can get some slightly discounted bits, if bribed with cake or beer, for one of them. :wink:

    This is what I read :wink:
    This is what you should have read. :mrgreen:

    :mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
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