Monday, January 23, 2012

A bit of CGB News

It has been a while since the CGB (Cambridgeshire Guided Busway) legal battles have been mentioned in the press.  Well they have appeared in the Hunts Post – “Cambs Busway: £52m court battle still two years away”. That is a fair bit of money and the article indicates that the Council's budget for legal costs is £5m which is probably a good guess for the amount that the contractors, their parent company and their insurers will also be budgeting. (BAM Nuttal Limited.)

It is a good job that the Busway seems to be carrying plenty of passengers,  that at least means that there is some value for money. I’ve often wondered quite why there seemed to be so much political pressure to pursue the guided busway rather than reinstate the railway line. Mind you as a cyclist I have benefitted from the conversion as it has led to the creation of an excellent cycleway between the north of Cambridge and St Ives.

CGB Cycleway near Swavesey

My guess is that although we think of the railways as being a privately owned and controlled system they aren’t really that free. In fact they seem to combine the worst aspects of capitalism and governmental bureaucracy.  The office of Rail Regulation employs 320 people. According to Wikipedia the UK has the 18th largest railway network and is the fifth busiest. However a study released last year – “McNulty’s ‘Rail value for Money study’” indicated that UK’s rail costs should be 20-30% lower when compared with countries such as France. (Here is the full report – which does have increasing the revenue from car – parking  as one of its Terms of Reference.– Annex A.)

So I have coined the term BureauCaptic – for the situation and I think this was the reason we got the Guided Busway – because it reduces the layers of bureaucracy. Mind you it also serves to reduce the power of the unions.  Which might or might not be deliberate. Although with deals done to pay Tube staff more the bus drivers are also asking for more so perhaps it doesn’t?

It would also appear that the A14 £20million improvements fund might also be used to pay for doubling the St Ives Park and Ride capacity. So the CGB does seem to be flavour of the month.

St Ives CGB Park and Ride

Speed limits have also been in the local press. The A1301 north of Sawston is to become a 50mph stretch with a hoped for a 40mph limit where the cycleway crosses the road.

A1301 – with NCN 11 Cycle route crossing (blue dots)
View Larger Map

Pressure for an A10 speed limit has been scrapped though with the argument that it would be dangerous.  There will be a 50mph limit between the Milton and Waterbeach – which might make crossing from Waterbeach to Landbeach slightly easier though. Some strange logic there – speed limits are dangerous – if that’s the case then why do we have them at all! There is of course no recognition of the quality of life issues associated with noisy roads nor the problem of crossing fast roads.

20mph Speed Limit – Cambridge City

Whilst talking about Fen Roads “Thirty vehicles stopped during multi-agency crackdown on key Fen roads” reports on checking for illegal use of red diesel, heating oil or stolen scrapped metal on roads such as the A10.  I wonder if they knew how dangerous the road was if motor vehicles were slowed down.

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