Cambridgeshire county councillors got to ride the guided bus today as special journeys were laid on during the testing of the new buses to run them from Cambridge Regional College to Park Lane in Histon and back again. We rode on a double decker which was pretty much like any other new double decker with the added comfort of leather seats and the promised availability of WiFi.
It was certainly a smoother ride than you normally get on a double decker but that would be largely down to the smoothness of the guideway. On the normal road the bus ride is a bumpy as usual. And because it was a double decker there was still quite a bit of lateral movement even on the guideway.
It’s difficult to think positively about the guided bus when you think of the opportunities to develop a really 21st century integrated transport network network which are denied to us because the County Council opted for the guided bus. There’s no doubt that it’s an excellent piece of engineering, the problem is that it’s the wrong piece of engineering.
Cllr David Jenkins who rode the bus today said: ‘this will serve a purpose and we’ve got to hope that people do use it otherwise it will be a £100 million plus white elephant. And that’s the other unknown. We know that the busway is costing more than originally estimated and that the County Council and its contractor BAM Nuttall are at stand-off with respect to who pays what. This story is going to go on and on!’