Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Misguided Bus: An Odyssey

If you read the comments to yesterday’s post you may have seen mention of the Guided Bus. This innovative method of public transport has become quite infamous in Cambridgeshire, mostly because of the fact that after years of planning it is still not up and running.

This Wiki article says that plans for this have been going on since 2001 but I first remember talk of the Guided Bus (or the Misguided Bus as the local press have “hilariously” nicknamed it) back in the days when the Brontosaurus roamed the earth, Kurt Cobain was still alive and I was doing my A Levels. I have people working for me who weren’t born then. Eighteen years later and it is still not built.

But what on earth is it? When I first heard of it I had visions of a bus travelling slowly down the middle of the road, guided by a man waving a flag like in the days of the early car. The Guided Bus however is basically a cross between a tram and a bus. It runs on special concrete tracks, allegedly zipping through the traffic most of the time. Then, when it needs to, it can also run on the road. It has two special sets of wheels for this purpose, which is a bit Inspector Gadget. The main point of all this is to connect areas of Cambridgeshire that have had no public transport for many years since our local railways were closed down. Currently many of the buses are just travelling around on the normal bus routes displaying signs that say "I'll be on the Busway soon, will you?". Surely, at this rate their "road wheels" will be worn away before they get on the busway.

The best thing about the Guided Bus is that cycle paths have been built along the sides of the tracks, which means that I can get to work without having to go on the road at all. However, I still don’t have a plan B for getting to work on rainy days, so for my part I hope it’s not much longer before the Guided Bus starts running.

The delays have been so great, and so many deadlines have come and gone that the Council is no longer even bothering to tell us a proposed opening date. Until then I guess I’ll just have to wear my sexy red waterproofs when it rains (which I’ve just noticed it is currently doing!).


CambridgeLady said...

If I wasn't nursing a stinker of a cold I'd be tempted to have a rant about the Guided Bus here and now!!!

We chose to live in St Ives because it's a nice place but also because we thought we'd have this brilliant speedy connection to one of my favourite cities, Cambridge. Where is it?????????

Okay I have ranted a little. Better go and calm down :S

Eco Yogini said...

ohhhhh government stuff moves so SLOW. that sucks that it's taken so very long.

letters of displeasure perhaps? :)

La Gitane said...

"back in the days when the Brontosaurus roamed the earth, Kurt Cobain was still alive"...

Oh, this cracked me up LOL! PREHISTORY!!

I was recently traveling in New Zealand and stopped at the brewery of Moa beer. We asked the young sales assistant what a Moa was, and were informed it was an extinct giant bird (like a 3m tall ostrich). We said, oh, so, a prehistorical animal then? Straight-faced, she replied: "oh yes! the last one died at least 170 years ago!". Which falls just about in between the brontosaurus and Kurt Cobain. ;p