Feb. 7th, 2010

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Wednesday 3rd February – was a good day until I broke C's glass teapot. The problem was I was putting it down onto the worktop, and inadvertently whacked it into the side of the cooker top. She was on the phone at the time watching, so I couldn't really hide it!

Thursday 4th February – with my BABUS hat on, I was up early for a meeting into Bedford Borough Council's Local Transport Plan 3. A good first step in the compilation of the draft, and BCC were genuinely happy that we had a good turnout of people there. It was also good to put faces to names, even if I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone. So, that went well, except for one thing – my new boots tripped me up several times on the wet outside! My new boots did not have much grip on them, so I ended up slipping several times! (Since then I've got a rather large bruise under the knee, cuts and swelling to hands and fingers, as well as a sore arm and leg!) Travelled by train to Hitchin, Centrebus 80 to Hitchin town centre, Stagecoach in Bedford Mars Service M2 to Bedford (the last time I did the other route, the M1. This is where the “life on mars” quote for Facebook came from!) On the way home, M1 to Hitchin, then as I had plenty time to make my next train, as well as an Intalink Explorer ticket (10p more than a return from Hitchin to Bedford, plus it included the bus between train and bus), I stayed on the 94 through Hitchin Station to Letchworth, where I picked up my train journey to continue back to Royston.

Earlier in the week, I had a request from the editor of one of the local Archant papers, The Wisbech Standard, asking about the forthcoming bus service changes. Apparently they had seen my blog re the forthcoming Fens bus service changes (post 1 and post 2). Initally they wanted to quote from my blog, and I spoke to them on the phone, careful to stick to the facts. (I don't normally approach media in relation to transport, but they approached me!) This main article (not my photos) discusses the changes, with quotes from my posts on the forthcoming Fens service changes. Also interesting was their editorial bit (not my work either) which was highly critical – and I quote from one snippet,
“This newspaper was only alerted to changes by a reader, and our investigations into the affect of the changes proposed by Stagecoach led us on a circuitous route and only thanks to a veteran bus 'blogger' did we finally access the information we needed.” So, if you wonder why I'm popular in Wisbech, now you know! It was interesting to spot even Stagecoach management saying they can see why people would be confused by the website...

Friday 5th February – out to work on Helpline in the morning, but then back home, as I was a bit tired (and sore!) from the previous day!

Saturday 6th February – out to Beefeater at Coreys Mill (Stevenage) for a change. We went to Sainsbury's over the road afterwards, but Caroline was unusually tired. She had a nap for a few hours once we got home. As well as food, C got a new (cheap) white teapot, and I picked up a few new T-shirts, and trousers and jeans - still to try those on!

Sunday 7th February – having a quiet day. Caroline has tried her new teapot that we got in Sainsbury's – just a cheap one, but it pours better than the glass one!


I have uploaded some pictures from Thursday and Friday, and you can see them via the links shown.

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Operators hit out at costly hold-ups to guided busway

BUS operators have spoken of their frustration that Cambridgeshire's guided busway is still not up and running.

Stagecoach and Whippet have both been picked to run services along the concrete track between Cambridge and St Ives.

But despite spending nearly £3.5 million between them on new vehicles to ferry passengers to and fro, the busway remains out of use.

As the News has reported, it is now more than a year behind schedule, and Cambridgeshire County Council is charging contractor BAM Nuttall £14,000 a day in late delivery penalties.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach, said: "We have invested £3 million in specially adapted buses for the route, and the fact that it isn't open is very frustrating from the company point of view, from the public's point of view, and from our staff's point of view.

"We were ready to run services last spring with the high-spec vehicles we bought for the purpose. Instead, we have lost revenue, including the cost of taking on additional staff that we haven't been able to utilise yet.

"We're stuck in the middle, waiting for the issue to be resolved.

"There just doesn't seem to be a good reason for the delay. We are happy with the quality of the track, and would have been happy to begin last November, the last start date that was given."

Peter Lee, boss of Whippet, said the firm had bought three new buses at a cost of £420,000.

He said: "Am I concerned about the fact that the busway isn't open yet? Yes. Am I frustrated? Yes. Am I disappointed? Yes.

"We have bought three new buses at a cost of £140,000 each, with lowfloor wheelchair access and so on, to run along the route.

"We aren't a big company, and these were substantial extra costs for us. Those were extra costs we could ill afford, and had we known there would be such a big delay, we might have saved that money."

He added: "Of course the buses are now getting older, so there is depreciation in value to worry about.

But there is nothing we can do - we are in limbo, and just have to wait."


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September 2010


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