They say a week in politics is a long time. Well my first year as Leader flew by and the guided bus ways first birthday is now upon us. And ……. Wait for it ……….. it has been a fantastic success.
We have had millions of users, more buses added to cater for the demand, ahead of the business plan, lots of positive comments from users, routes extended and traffic taken off the A14. Not bad for the first year.
A week before the busway opened all the comments were about how it wouldn’t work, rubbish, misguided busway and more. The week after it opened it was all about more buses required, demands for extended routes and even more regular services. The prophets of doom said it will need looking at in a years time after the initial excitement had died down as it must surely fail. Well, we are looking at it and it still looks like ……… a success. Sigh.
There are some people who dislike success. I see that the more recent comments, particularly from the arm chair experts who only see rail as the answer, are all about how many concessionary fare journeys are made.
As far as I am concerned if our elderly and young are moving around the county, enriching their lives and spending money on outings that is fantastic. It helps their wellbeing and contributes to the economy. I only wish we had more money to do more to help them and I guess when we get over the mess Labour left us in we will.
There is also a forensic examination of the bus numbers. What is a journey? Has the CCC fiddled with the figures? Well, this is all starting to look a little desperate. Try getting on the guided bus at commuter times and see for yourself. It is full. It is efficient. It works.
One of the characteristics of our wonderful nation is the ability to find reasons to be unhappy about everything, even a great success like this.
In the words of my grown up son, when I don’t get everything I want, “get over it dad and enjoy what is there”.
Although yes the busway is a huge step in the right direction, and offers quick transport to the main areas. In the begining the busway was quick and efficient, however I believe that the contractor Stagecoach is now becoming incompitant. It feels like Stagecoach is getting a bit cocky and thinks because it has the majority bus traffic that they can get away with more. When I used to work in Cambridge it used to be a great alternative to the old buses, took half the time and smoother ride and for the distance, the price was good. However since working in St. ives I have had no end of issues, Regular late buses, sometimes not even showing up without explanation. The ticket prices are creeping higher, and there is no flexibility with prices as they discontinued the use of zones. I live in Swavesey and the distance from Swavesey to St ives is a third of the distance and a 1/6 of the time to get to Cambridge. However I have to pay the exact same price. It seem to be that anyone living outside cambridge area you are penalised and expected to work in Cambridge centre to see the rewards of using the Public transport. If the prices were more flexible and the buses St ives direction and area more reliable then I believe that they would champion the busway.