Author Topic: Busway deteriorating?  (Read 7086 times)

Offline barryb

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Busway deteriorating?
« on: June 02, 2013, 12:57:49 AM »
I used the northern busway today.  Whether to do with bus or guideway (I suspect both, I changed onto the bus behind to see if it was just as bad and it was only a little better), the ride quality is getting really shocking.  The difference from when I was on it a few months ago was noticeable, and it was certainly much much worse than what I remember from opening day.

Additionally, the guideway itself seems to be looking quite ill in places.  There are many places where larger lumps of aggregate have been worn out the concrete and it is pitting, and I don't know what's going on in the bit in the attached photo.

However the really amazing thing is that it really must be accepted as being in practical (if not financial) terms a success.  You don't need passenger counts to see that ridership has increased massively, and I wasn't the only person taking advantage of the new link to Peterborough to travel all the way from Cambridge (which I wouldn't have done before).  On top of that (as I've said many times before) I think it could be an even bigger success if buses to Haverhill and Royston were routed via it.

As for the journey to Peterborough... although 2h seems like quite a long journey time it's actually really not that bad when compared to the train.  For me the bus gives an average weighted total journey of 155m as against 102m by train, but when it's £10.60 cheaper who can argue too much?
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 01:08:45 AM by barryb »

Offline DGH

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 12:04:06 PM »
However the really amazing thing is that it really must be accepted as being in practical (if not financial) terms a success.  You don't need passenger counts to see that ridership has increased massively, and I wasn't the only person taking advantage of the new link to Peterborough to travel all the way from Cambridge (which I wouldn't have done before).  On top of that (as I've said many times before) I think it could be an even bigger success if buses to Haverhill and Royston were routed via it.

I'm sure I read in the PSV press recently that Stagecoach have had a 40% increase in ridership since the start of the busway, which as you say in terms of increasing passenger numbers is good. But from a finacial point (as you say) it has to be questioned, as they are now using 7 (newish) buses an hour instead of 3 which would mean you would need a 133% increase in passenger numbers just to stand still! I appreciate you can probably knock a little bit of that as some of your standing costs will remain the same - but not that much.

Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 12:19:43 PM »
This is worrying, Barry.

Back in October 2011, I started a thread – Rust leaching from the rebar – in the Guided Busway sub-board.

When rust leaches from the rebar this suggests excessive permeability of the concrete has allowed ingress of water, which will, in turn, lead to cracking of the concrete when that water freezes and expands in the winter. This is what appears to have occurred here.

According to the info in the JPEG you took this on a Samsung GT-N7100 Sunday 26 May 16:16:31. (Is that correct?) What I don't know is exactly where.

Was it adjacent to one of the Busway stations?

If you don't mind, I'd like to forward the downloaded photo to a couple of County Councillors with whom I'm in frequent contact. If you have a problem with this, I'll nip out and take some photos of my own. (I might pop out and get some supplementaries, anyway.)

If any Forum members are frequent drivers or passengers on the Busway and would like to say which would be the most worrying sections – and thus worth visiting to photograph, please post.

On an unrelated note, here's the photo the 'right' way up. It downloaded from the site to my iMac with the correct orientation. I'm glad to see that it's not just us iPhone users who have problems getting photos to correctly orientate on the Forum.

Edit: It still uploaded sideways, the first time!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 12:23:18 PM by TCD813 »
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline barryb

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 02:54:07 PM »
I'm sure I read in the PSV press recently that Stagecoach have had a 40% increase in ridership since the start of the busway,

I'm surprised it's only 40%; my instinct would have been to say that it was more than double!  Maybe off peak numbers are much the same.  (And maybe their ticketing policy means that they don't find out if people that always bought tickets are just making more journeys (which of course isn't any use to them), or if people are starting their journeys off the busway.)

The photo was taken from the path along the busway beside Kings Hedges Road last weekend, between Histon Rd and the first stop somewhere in the region of Iceni Way.  And drat, no idea where it was the wrong way up (it looks ok on Google Drive where I uploaded it from); thanks for fixing it!

Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 06:11:45 PM »
The photo was taken from the path along the busway beside Kings Hedges Road last weekend, between Histon Rd and the first stop somewhere in the region of Iceni Way.

OK, thanks. So that's near the 'Orchard Park, West' stop, on the section used by route B but not by A and C. Was the defect on the Huntingdon-bound track or the city-bound track?
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Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 06:56:17 PM »
[...] the really amazing thing is that it really must be accepted as being in practical (if not financial) terms a success.  You don't need passenger counts to see that ridership has increased massively, and I wasn't the only person taking advantage of the new link to Peterborough to travel all the way from Cambridge (which I wouldn't have done before).  On top of that (as I've said many times before) I think it could be an even bigger success if buses to Haverhill and Royston were routed via it.
As for the journey to Peterborough... although 2h seems like quite a long journey time it's actually really not that bad when compared to the train.  For me the bus gives an average weighted total journey of 155m as against 102m by train, but when it's £10.60 cheaper who can argue too much?
I'm sure I read in the PSV press recently that Stagecoach have had a 40% increase in ridership since the start of the busway, which as you say in terms of increasing passenger numbers is good. But from a financial point (as you say) it has to be questioned, as they are now using 7 (newish) buses an hour instead of 3 which would mean you would need a 133% increase in passenger numbers just to stand still! I appreciate you can probably knock a little bit of that as some of your standing costs will remain the same - but not that much.
I'm surprised it's only 40%; my instinct would have been to say that it was more than double!  Maybe off peak numbers are much the same.  (And maybe their ticketing policy means that they don't find out if people that always bought tickets are just making more journeys (which of course isn't any use to them), or if people are starting their journeys off the busway.)

I think that there are two aspects to the 'financial point':
  • Capital cost and maintenance of the busway
  • Operators costs

The main theme of this thread is connected with aspect (1) and raises questions of contract specification, supervision and compliance. Much of this is subject to continuing legal action between BAM Nuttall and the Cambridgeshire County Council. For operators Stagecoach, Whippet, this is does not greatly effect their planning.

Operators pay an access charge to use the busway, but otherwise develop services to react to passenger loadings and take a punt on developing increased ridership as with any other commercial service, so their costs are much the same as with any 'traditional' route. (2)

An initial (Stagecoach) frequency of 6/hour (3 As + 3 Bs – ie a 20-min headway on each) on the core of the northern section has nor increased to 8/hour.

Superficially, this looks like a 33% increase in capacity for a 40% increase in ridership with the £p rolling in. However, it's somewhat more complex.

To solve the maths we'd need to know the PVR on the busway's inception compared to the latest timetable. We'd also need to (negatively) factor in the vehicles no longer required for withdrawn routes now covered by busway extensions to (eg Peterborough, RAF Wyton).

Even then, there's the need to consider the importance of operators 'taking a punt' ie developing services pro-actively rather than reactively.

When the Cambridge citi network was first introduced, people were stunned at the step-change: the frequency, capacity and vehicle modernity. (This may well be true in Peterborough, too, but I live in Cambridge and remember people's reactions.) Ridership increased to such an extent, and with such rapidity, that double-deckers had to progressively replace the MANs on most routes in order to provide the requisite increased capacity.

I think what Stagecoach are doing is using the busway as the 'spine' to develop a range of high-quality inter-urban and urban-rural services which might otherwise not be attractive to travellers. In this the busway services may be viewed in a similar way to their intensive citi networks in attracting new users.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline barryb

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2013, 07:32:20 PM »
Yes, the photo was taken somewhere around there.  I can't remember where exactly, but from looking at it I think it might have been taken on the stretch that only has a Huntingdon-bound guideway.

For me the real comparison isn't with the initial busway service, but the week before, when Stagecoach were only running three buses an hour to St Ives and there was no Sunday service.  Against that, it must be working.  They wouldn't be running almost three  times as many buses an hour if it wasn't!

And on top of that, as I said before, I'm sure they could make it work even more.  If a busway from St Ives to the wrong part of Cambridge can increase journeys from Huntingdon to Cambridge, I'm sure a busway from Trumpington / Addenbrookes to the right part of Cambridge can increase journeys from Royston / Haverhill!

However... if it turns into rubble, will it have been working for CCC enough for CCC to want to fix it?  I'm not so sure :-(

Offline mike_brock

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2013, 10:06:29 PM »
Within the last few weeks, several of the joints between Orchard Park and Histon have been marked with numbers/letters sprayed on the adjacent tarmac cycle way. At a few of these there is a visible step of a cm or 2 between the sections.

Further out there is a short section with a 10 mph speed limit, and at Longstanton on Friday St Ives bund buses were diverted into the car park as there were several people working to replace the kerbs at the platform.

So I think they are visibly working to maintain it.  I'm no expert, but it seems to have suffered from the winter much less than the roads, for example the road surface between Histon and Cottenham.

Offline DGH

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 12:25:10 AM »
The 40% increase in ridership is comparing the old 553-5 services with the amount of passengers now using the replacement busway services as I understand it. i.e They ran 3 buses an hour on the Huntingdon-St Ives-Cambridge corridor and now they run 7 (i think).

When I monitured the loadings on the services last year I found that (as expected) the peak services were very well used, especially by students going to CRC, hence the need to run double deckers on some service A's, meanwhile the services during the day were often very lightly loaded. Obviously there has also been some combining of services (the old Stagecoach service 46) which would need to be factored in, but it would certainly be interesting to 'see the books'.

Offline barryb

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 01:22:20 AM »
The 40% increase in ridership is comparing the old 553-5 services with the amount of passengers now using the replacement busway services as I understand it.

Oh dear.  That's clearly not enough :-(

Edit: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7CEF7FC4-6E0C-4F51-A7E5-8D6D3714190D/0/BuswayusersurveySpring2012.pdf suggests the number might be higher than 40%.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 01:33:11 AM by barryb »

Offline lawrence18uk

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 10:01:19 PM »
Picture looks like it's from the place where the bus "deroaded" (nr. Longstowe) and smashed into the concrete transoms. Still, the busway is generally showing considerable signs of wear - and subsidence, too. But a 7mm 'dip' on all beams causes poor vertical ride quality, particularly on double-deckers, which you presumably also noticed. Glad I'm not the only person who think's the ride quality is 'shocking'.

Offline barryb

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2014, 11:32:29 PM »
The picture was taken in Orchard Park.  Maybe it was hit by a trespassing lorry - that would explain the level of the damage.

I'm still in strange awe of the guideway.  I can't argue that it hasn't "worked" (ie worked if it was built by someone else).  In terms of passengers voting with their feet they seem to like it.  In fact it's worked so well I'm starting to think there should be guideways (built by someone else) to Ely, Newmarket, Haverhill, Cambourne, ... 

But it shouldn't have "worked".  The fact that it has defies all logic!

marlow1992

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 02:42:00 PM »


When the Cambridge citi network was first introduced, people were stunned at the step-change: the frequency, capacity and vehicle modernity. (This may well be true in Peterborough, too, but I live in Cambridge and remember people's reactions.) Ridership increased to such an extent, and with such rapidity, that double-deckers had to progressively replace the MANs on most routes in order to provide the requisite increased capacity.



Peterborough has seen an increase in passenger numbers as well since Citi launched in 2004, but they do nothing about increasing vehicle size. instead they take an attitude of oh well the bus is full, another 1 will b along in 10 mins

Offline Palatine One

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2014, 05:09:05 PM »
Peterborough has seen an increase in passenger numbers as well since Citi launched in 2004, but they do nothing about increasing vehicle size.

As did Cambridge when the Citi network was launched there in 2001 - and look how long it took to upgrade the routes to 'deckers. Even that had some compromise when one route was split into two and both reduced to every 20 mins.....and this is a city less car-centric/car-friendly than Peterborough (and as a result has what I presume is a larger passenger base).

I suppose they could always increase the frequency of those routes....except they tried just that with the Citi1 in Cambridge several years ago, all that resulted was chaos and no real increase in capacity as the buses repeatedly bunched up!!

marlow1992

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2014, 06:06:01 PM »
As did Cambridge when the Citi network was launched there in 2001 - and look how long it took to upgrade the routes to 'deckers. Even that had some compromise when one route was split into two and both reduced to every 20 mins.....and this is a city less car-centric/car-friendly than Peterborough (and as a result has what I presume is a larger passenger base).

I suppose they could always increase the frequency of those routes....except they tried just that with the Citi1 in Cambridge several years ago, all that resulted was chaos and no real increase in capacity as the buses repeatedly bunched up!!

admittedly it took a while for Cambridge to get deckers, but we still don't have full size singles yet, we are still on midi-buses, with 2 E200s due to come soon. And with the network being cut down more and more as the years go on(previously had 8 citi routes, now down to 6), makes you wonder why more passengers are using the buses in Peterborough. anyway ,enough on Peterborough as this isn't the correct place for it.

Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2014, 10:33:22 PM »
Yeah. Off-topic alert!

(For quite a few posts now.)
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline lawrence18uk

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2014, 02:50:02 PM »
Details of £31m refit requiring rolling closure of entire busway over 3 years - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-29523111

for tech info see this CambsCounty page: http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CommitteeMinutes/Committees/AgendaItem.aspx?agendaItemID=10393

Buses will be able to divert, but cyclists will also need to cycle round the works, in places at least...

Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2014, 03:43:59 PM »
Brilliant: an on-topic post.

Many thanks,

Richard.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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Offline barryb

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2014, 08:29:59 PM »
Ouch.  All this is going to end up happening at the same time as people in Northstowe ought to be getting persuaded to think of the busway as a special wonderful reliable thing...

Offline TCD813

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Re: Busway deteriorating?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2014, 10:35:37 PM »
Um, yes. Exactly.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
There's all 'manor' of stuff on my Twitter A/c.