The Guided Busway – Early Days for Go-Whippet and Stagecoach

17:51 Wednesday 10th August 2011
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

ANDY BURROWS: We’re hearing that people are ringing up to complain¬† about the Guided Busway because it’s too popular. Bus operators Stagecoach and Whippet Coaches have been running at full capacity for most of the days they’ve been operating so far. The launch was on Sunday, and it officially went fully operational on Monday. Let’s speak to Peter Lee from Go=Whippet. Hello to you Peter.
PETER LEE: Hello. Yes.
ANDY BURROWS: This must be music to your ears, isn’t it?
PETER LEE: Well yes. I’m glad it is popular. I’m glad it’s going well. Obviously we’re in a honeymoon period at the moment, and things seem to be going really well. So I’m quite pleased, yes.
ANDY BURROWS: Has it meant extra services already?
PETER LEE: Well it’s obviously early days yet. And as I say I think a lot of people are trying it out, and seeing how they go. Obviously if it carries on like this I’m sure both of us will be looking to see what we can do in the future. I think it’s a bit early though to start saying we’re going to put extra services on just yet. But we’re very pleased, I think we’re both pleased, with how it’s going, and we’re pleased that it’s being a success at the moment.
ANDY BURROWS: I suppose you don’t really know, do you, until it becomes fully operational as it did on Monday, exactly how the service is going to run. I suppose you can do all the practices you want, but when you’ve got people getting on and off at various points along the busway, then that can really change things I suppose. Has everything run to time?
PETER LEE: Well nothing ever runs the way you expect it to, and we always find problems along the route when we’re going. But we’re getting better at it. The drivers are getting more used to it, and things are obviously improving as we go on. To say we’ve had no teething problems isn’t true. We have had.
ANDY BURROWS: What kind of isues have been raised then?
PETER LEE: Well we’ve had issues with ticket machines, then obviously issues with people not knowing quite what sort of ticket they want to buy, and not knowing exactly what we’re doing. So it all takes time. But people get used to it, and obviously the more we do it, the more they’ll get used to what’s going on. And obviously that will improve the speed of the service. I think a lot of people are being very negative about the timing of it, but I’m sure that as we go on we will improve, and also obviously with the A14, as it always is, peak times, when the schools go back, I’m certain you’ll find that certainly at peak times, the service will be very reliable.
ANDY BURROWS: We had one report, or rather a lady told one of our reporters today, that she’d been turned away from two buses at the St Ives park and ride, because they’d been too full to take her and her two children. She did eventually get into Cambridge for their day out. How do you address that?
PETER LEE: Well I don’t think we’ve had that issue. I should think that’s probably my counterparts at Stagecoach. Obviously I appreciate .. there’s just a lot of people at the moment coming down to have a look. And there’s a lot of people coming from out of area to actually have a ride on it. It’s obviously a draw at the moment. It’s summer holidays. People are taking their children out. I’d ask them to bear with us. I’m not saying we want that to happen. We certainly don’t. I think that’s an extreme case. I’m sure 99.9% of the people are getting on the bus when they turn up, and we’re getting them there, and obviously bringing them back again, I hope. I just hope they carry on using it, and that we are successful.
ANDY BURROWS: Well, we’ll see what happens the other side of, as you call it, the noneymoon period. Thank you very much. Peter Lee that was from Go-Whippet.

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1 thought on “The Guided Busway – Early Days for Go-Whippet and Stagecoach”

  1. My family and I decided to spend the day in Cambridge, after an hours drive we followed the signs to the Longstanton Park & Ride. We bought our tickets – which could be used on the Whippet service only and waited for the bus. It arrived late and was completely full – the driver wouldn’t let any one on at all. He made a phone call and told us that the bus which was currently in Cambridge – at the science park station – would turn around when it got to us and take us in to Cambridge. Well, after a 15 minute wait, the bus arrived and then went straight on past us toward St Ives. Now there were no buses left for us at all, as all the buses on the schedule for the next 80 minutes were all stagecoach buses, which we can’t use with our ticket! We, as well as about 4 other families, just gave up and left – our day spoiled (after standing around the bus stop for an hour).

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