Sunday 7 August 2011

Cambridgeshire Guided Busway Opens

The beleaguered Cambridgeshire Guided Busway was finally opened this morning.

Although the opening day had been widely publicised, the actual ribbon cutting ceremony appeared to have been purposely kept low-key. Only the dignitaries and those specially invited to travel on the the first bus, plus a few first ride hopefuls and the usual smattering of press were at the St Ives park and ride facility early this morning, to see this long awaited and controversial transport service formally opened.

Launching two years later than planned, the busway route is over 24 miles long with around 16 miles being guided, making it the longest of its type in the world. It links Huntingdon and St Ives to Cambridge with the hope that commuters will move over to the bus in an attempt to ease the rush-hour congestion on the notorious A14.

On this bright and sunny Sunday morning, the first fully laden; air conditioned; leather-seated; wi-fied; power-socketed; greenfuelled bus set off at 8.37 on the 20 minute drive to the Cambridge outskirts. Perhaps drive is not quite the correct term, as for in part, the bus guides itself. The drivers have had to go through special training over the past few weeks, to teach them go against their instincts and not to hold the steering wheel during these guided sections.

Now it remains to be seen whether it will be the white elephant that the sceptics predicted or whether it can put the past behind it and overcome all the issues, regardless of the on-going court battle between the County Council and the construction company.

Let's also hope it might become something of a tourist attraction, for all the right reasons of course.

Ribbon cut by Cllr Ian Bates
Member for Growth and Planning

The once important ribbon has done the job and been forgotten
- hopefully the busway problems will be forgotten just the same.

BBC News coverage

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