Smarter Cambridge Transport

More use of the southern busway please!

The guided busway between Trumpington Park & Ride and Cambridge station is underused. It’s in a prime location between Trumpington Rd and Hills Rd, the two heavily congested routes into Cambridge from the south. How could we make more use of it?

Trumpington P&R could well serve as the main car park for Cambridge railway station. An airport-like shuttle service makes it quicker and cheaper than parking at the station. The existing peak-time ‘R’ bus service takes just 9 minutes to reach the station, but is hampered by the lack of a bus turn-around at the station. Driverless pods (currently being trialled by the Greater Cambridge Partnership) could provide a Heathrow-like service when demand is too low to run a bus.

Regular Park & Ride services don’t use the busway because low bridges limit access to single-deckers. Stagecoach prefers to run double-deckers because it’s more profitable: when buses are full at peak times, there are more passengers per driver-hour. But the shorter journey time via the busway and Station Rd would improve that ratio for single-deckers. So, what’s stopping this happening?

More stops on the busway would attract more passengers. A stop at Long Rd would serve residents of Rutherford Road and the Great Kneighton (Clay Farm) development, as well as pupils and staff at the sixth form college. Stepped access from Long Rd would cut out a 400m detour to Vicar’s Brook and back – which pupils currently avoid by scrambling up and down the bank.

Another obvious stop location is next to the Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment buildings. This would be more convenient for employees than walking to/from the station. A public right of way through to Shaftesbury Rd would link it to the Accordia development. Add a footbridge over the railway to the end of Purbeck Rd to link with Hills Rd Sixth Form College, Abbey College, Homerton, etc.

The chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cllr Burkitt, is pushing to make many of these ideas a reality, so please write to him if you support them.

This article was first published in the Cambridge Independent on 22 November 2017.

Edward Leigh

Edward Leigh is the leader of Smarter Cambridge Transport, chair and independent co-opted member of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Panel, chair of the South Petersfield Residents Association, business owner, consultant, and occasional blogger about making the world and Cambridge a better place to live.

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