Can someone help me please?

December 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Village News

Letter to the Editor:

I just read your December issue which is excellent and in particular I appreciated the detailed description of the BBC debate about the Guided Busway. 

Can someone help me? I don’t understand why the bus needs to be a guided bus.  A simple two lane ‘bus only’ road between Cambridge and St Ives would work just as well, wouldn’t it?  Access could be controlled using bollards, or gates, or CCTV cameras to keep cars and lorries off.  A road is far less expensive and more environmentally friendly than a concrete guideway. 

More important, the guided busway has a fundamental flaw:  what happens when a bus breaks down? The guided bus can not tip toe sideways to get out of the way.  It is like a train. One bus stuck along the guided busway stops all the buses behind it.  Everyone is delayed until a guided tow truck backs down the guideway and drags the broken bus forward to the next junction.  On a two lane road a broken bus can be steered around using the other lane with minimal fuss and nobody is late.

Who thought up this scheme? Is someone having a laugh while they stuff their pockets with our tax cash?

How can we promote Cambridge around the world as a high tech centre of learning and excellence when we can’t even build a two lane road to a neighbouring town?

Can someone help me, please?

Donald Keely

Editor’s note: Mr. Keely raises some good questions.  Any answers? Please add your comments below.

A big 'thank you' goes to Hollyoak Veterinary Surgery in Impington for their financial and technical support. Without it this website would not be possible.


2 Responses to “Can someone help me please?”
  1. Denis Payne says:

    There are probably at least two answers to this.

    The first is technical – and its about speed. The old railway bed was of limited width, so if you want to get a cycle/pedestrian area, and a two way road, then that road is going to be narrow, much narrower than a conventional road. So, buses using the route may be limited to the speed at which they could travel, and would certainly be limited to the speed at which they could cross.

    A plus, of course, of the design is that less of the area is covered by concrete or tarmac – there is some grass – and that makes drainage a great deal simpler.

    A second answer might be that the County wouldn’t have got a subsidy it has from the Government for building another road …

    And yes, the guide way adds a whole stack of interesting challenges – but the guide wheel components are relatively cheap for breakdown vehicles, gritters and possibly even emergency vehicles – though they may be able to use the track without them.

  2. wfr.editor says:

    From David Jenkins via email:

    Far be it for me to be an apologist for the guided bus but …
    It can’t be a 2 lane bus only road because there’s insufficient width.

    Everything else Donald says is just about spot on!

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