We start with an interpretation of recent events on the world economic scene. Perhaps a professional economist can tell us whether this interpretation is plausible.
In recent years world demand for fuel has grown inexorably. As production capacity has not kept pace (nor could it have been allowed to do so without deleterious effects on our environment), a collision was inevitable.
This collision led to a large increase in fuel prices earlier this year. This sucked a lot of money out of the major fuel consuming economies, especially the USA, which has invested a lot of money in car dependent suburban housing. Suddenly mortgages on such properties lost their attraction.
Thus far the history matches the scenario we highlighted in Newsletter 91 (Nov 2005), except that there we "predicted" the crash would occur in 2007. However thereafter reality did not match our scenario. (In fact, of course, our scenario was not intended as a prediction, rather as a plausible sounding unfolding of events that would lead to our desired outcome -- a green economy for the UK and the world as a whole.)
We had hoped that the world would see the dangers of the US path and move as quickly as it could to a low carbon economy. Maybe it would have done in time, but it wasn't given the time. Instead, "when America sneezes, the world catches a cold". The whole world economy was plunged into depression.
This led to an immediate drop in the demand for fuel which brought it back into balance with supply. As a result world prices plummeted. Therefore the economic imperative for a low carbon economy has disappeared, and even modest measures like current EU carbon trading plans are being re-examined to ensure that they would not hurt our economy.
Effectively, the world has reacted to the oil price shock by throwing millions of people out of work and depriving itself of the fruits of their labour, rather than improve its fuel efficiency so that its overall production was maintained with less fuel use. Isn't that a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
What we needed (and still need), instead, is a large increase in fuel taxation (or an equivalent measure such as a cap on usage), with sufficient long term commitment so that people can plan their lives in the expectation that fuel prices will continue to rise. This should be targeted at the sectors where there is greatest potential for change with minimal hardship. These, we believe, are aviation and motoring. Even rural motorists could transfer a large proportion of their travel to public transport if the latter were properly coordinated. (And even though fuel efficiency may not be very great at present on rural buses, it certainly would be after such a transfer.)
As far as motoring is concerned, the Government had just such a policy in being until 2000 -- the fuel duty escalator -- but it abandoned this policy as a result of a direct action campaign spearheaded by lorry drivers (not motorists) on a completely different issue (the loss of competitivity for UK lorry drivers as compared with continental ones), for which the Government did plan a remedy (a "vignette" licensing scheme for all lorry drivers on UK roads) which it subsequently abandoned.
We start by apologising for the long delay in the distribution of this newsletter, which should have come out in August. This was due to problems with the Coordinator's health.
Our AGM will be on Sat 13 Dec in the usual place, the Secretary's flat at 1 Fitzroy Lane, Cambridge (just behind the Grafton Centre) starting at 10.30. We plan to send out formal agendas later, though only to people on our membership list (i.e. those who were branch members or national supporters in 2007-8 or have joined since). However, to comply with our constitution, here is a list of the items now: Welcome and Introductions; Apologies; Minutes of last year's meeting (circulated by Secretary); Matters arising; Activities Report (circulated by Coordinator); Financial Statement (circulated by Treasurer) and review of subscription rates; Other officers' reports; Future of our group (*); Election of the Executive Committee for 2009; Election of other representatives for 2009; Review of affiliation to other organisations; and Any Other Business. All of these except the starred one are regular items, but we should explain that one here.
Last year we decided to change the name of our group from "Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk" to "Cambs Campaign for Better Transport". We have been going under that name publicly ever since, and we are now using the old name only in our bank account. We had intended to change this over too, but before we got round to so doing the national Campaign for Better Transport made some changes in its relations with local groups (some of which are desribed below) which made us decide to put the change on hold pending a discussion by members at this year's AGM.
We will therefore be deciding whether to confirm or reverse our decision last year to change the name of our group. If we confirm the change, we will update the name on our bank account as soon as possible. If not, we will have to decide what name to use and will proceed accordingly.
It is important to recognise that no decision has yet been taken, and indeed we are not yet in a position even to offer members a recommendation on how to vote. We will be offering members the widest possible choice of voting methods -- in person at the meeting, by proxy, by telephone, by post, by email -- to ensure that everyone has a chance to have their say on this vital issue, but please do not do so till you have received the formal agenda for the meeting.
We will also wish to confirm our decision to require National Supporters to join at our usual rates. This decision has been forced on us by the fact that the Campaign for Better Transport no longer provides us with a list of National Supporters, nor does it pay us the kickback which we have hitherto regarded as being in lieu of their subscription.
Finally, we will need to whether to make alternative arrangements if the factors that led to the delay in the distribution of this newsletter are likely to recur.
As usual, after the "business" meeting we will have a general discussion on local transport issues. Perhaps the most important will be the planning of our campaign against the Highways Agency A14 proposals -- we may invite someone from a local amenity group along to talk to us about this (see the formal notice when we send it out). Any member who would like to help in this campaign, when it gets going, but who can't come to the AGM, please contact the Coordinator.
Subscriptions for 2008-9 were due in May. We have not yet sent out membership forms for two reasons: the newsletter with which they would have been sent has been delayed, and we needed to decide first what name to ask members to make their cheques payable to. However they are now being sent out to everyone on our membership list who has not yet paid, including National Supporters. We intend to send out reminders with the formal AGM notices, but please do not bank on getting any further reminder after that -- and if you can, send us your sub as soon as you can on receiving this newsletter, so we won't have to send a reminder. Only those who are paid up members for 2008-9 will be able to vote in any AGM motion, including our name change, but we will accept subscriptions on the day, and we may be able to accept a promise to pay from those who vote by phone or email on the name change provided that this is honoured later without undue delay.
Subscriptions (payable to "Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk") cost 4 pounds ordinary, 3 pounds concessionary and 5 pounds household or corporate, with the option of paying double these amounts for a 2 year subscription (i.e. 2008-10). There is also a supplement of 8 pounds per year for those wishing to receive "Impact", the newsletter of the national Campaign for Better Transport.
If you haven't received a renewal slip with this newsletter, it means that either you have already paid for 2008-9 or you are on our list of "freebies". If the latter, then we would still welcome you if you decided to join us. Just send a cheque for the appropriate amount to the Coordinator.
Members may be interested in going to the Climate Change March in London on Sat 6 Dec.
We now give a list of key events that we and our predecessor organisations have reported. Note that all dates are dates of the respective newsletters, not dates of the events themselves. From Newsletter 51 onwards we give less detail as our newsletters are on our website. Numbers in brackets indicate the number of the newsletter. All items are due to the Coordinator except when otherwise stated.
We hope that the long list of bad news items below doesn't depress you too much -- and if it does, that you recognise the value of having and helping to support an active campaign group. Consider the following:
(a) Political philosophers from Plato to Burke have been quite clear that activism is the only defence against misgovernment. "The price that good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
(b) Eventually we may get a "super campaigner" who is skilled in persuading the powers that be. If so it is helpful for him/her to have a group already in being.
(c) Maybe one day people who actively want to listen to groups like us will achieve real power. But they will only know what we want if we have spent the doldrum years debating what we want.
(d) Even unskilled campaigners do have a marginal effect on decision markers -- though there may be many years between when we propose an idea and when they adopt it.
(e) There is always the thought that but for our campaigning things would be even worse.
Apr 1986 (1): Subsequent to us, as the Cambridge Area Bus Campaign (CABC), being set up at a meeting of Cambridge Friends of the Earth (CFOE), we issue first newsletter. Preliminary registration details for commercial post-deregulation buses. Conference reports: one on general transport issues in Manchester organised by the Socialist Environment & Resources Association, and one on Women & Transport in London organised by FOE and attended by Sallie Freeman.
June 1986 (2): Report on changes to services operated by United Counties (now Stagecoach in Bedford and Northants).
Oct 1986 (3): Review of National Consumer Council report on bus information. Advertising Standards Authority acknowledge our grievance re complaint about United Counties (see above), but take no action. Comments on County Structure Plan.
Nov 1996 (4): We submit comments on Structure Plan, together with CABC report giving strategy for developing public transport in our area, to the County Council. Bus deregulation starts, with both positive and negative effects.
Apr 1987 (5): Comments on policies of political parties for forthcoming general election. Further developments on deregulated buses. Report of meeting of Cambridge Conservative Association by Basil Bonner.
June 1987 (6): More party political comments. Essex CC introduce "Sunday Saver" scheme and Premier Travel link Cambridge with London's airports. Publication of ticket interavailability of Explorers. Disintegration of Lincoln-Manchester and Birmingham-Nottingham bus routes and implications for other long distance services.
Aug 1987 (7): Results of survey of county council bus information in our region which we did on behalf of the National Federation of Bus Users (now Bus Users UK).
Oct 1987 (8): Buses get worse. Cambs CC (under no overall political control 1985-9) starts feasibility study into restoration of rail services between Cambridge and Huntingdon. Unemployed people in Cambridge area get discounts on buses.
Dec 1987 (9): 727 (Luton-Crawley) disintegrates, but new 505 Luton-Oxford. Takeover of United Counties by Stagecoach. Campaign for buses to get people home from late night trains. Report on conference in London organised by Buswatch.
Feb 1988 (10): We campaign against Cambs CC discontinuance of commitment to maintain bus services.
Apr 1988 (11): More bus chaos, with disintegration of links from Peterborough to Cambridge and Nottingham, and cuts to Cambridge-Birmingham express service. Withdrawal of night trains between Kings Cross and Scotland via Peterborough.
June 1988 (12): Improvement of Cambridge-Kings Cross and cross country train services, due to electrification and introduction of Sprinters. Survey of Sunday leisure services, including Beds, Northants, Herts, Essex and the North.
Aug 1988 (13): More bus cuts, including 505 (Luton-Oxford). Cambridge-London Greenlines referred to Office of Fair Trading because of joint operation by Cambus and London Country NE (now Stagecoach and Arriva). Review of "England by Bus and Coach" by Elizabeth Gundrey.
Oct 1988 (14): Cambs CC decides on cash limits to bus subsidies, leading to campaign by us and CFOE. Cambridge City Council introduces Taxicards for disabled people. In submission re Cambs Structure Plan we call for new settlement to be served by rail (it eventually went to Cambourne). Cambs CC rural strategy ignores recreational bus services. Cambridge Evening News deletes reference to lack of media publicity from our letter assigning blame for bus crisis.
Dec 1988 (15): More bus cuts. Initial approach from Transport 2000 which eventually led to our adoption as branch. Revised version of our report on public transport in our area. Buswatch issues report on changes since deregulation which underlines the problems it has caused.
Jan 1989 (16): Clampdown on joint operation by Office of Fair Trading leads to severe cuts to Cambridge-London Greenlines -- thus reducing rather than protecting passenger choice. Government increases spending on roads.
Apr 1989 (17): Questionnaire, jointly with CFOE, sent to all county election candidates in our area. Barry Doe's Bus/Rail guide available to general public.
June 1989 (18): Cambridge Evening News refuses to publish results of our pre-election survey. Free buses to new North Weald Market (now severely cut and no longer free). Survey of Sunday leisure bus schemes, with reference to Notts, Hants, Bucks, Kent, and further afield. Proposals for buses sent to Cambs CC.
Sept 1989 (19): More bus cuts planned.
Nov 1989 (20): County publishes transport strategy for Cambridge.
Dec 1989 (21): We launch petition to save buses and concessionary passes and prepare a report "39 steps to a better bus service".
Jan 1990 (22): Update on bus cuts.
Mar 1990 (23): We relaunch as Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk. Final report on bus cuts by Cambs CC. Most district councils agree to replace Cambs CC's support of concessionary passes. Airport services from Cambridge improve. London to Edinburgh overnight coaches made available to local passengers south of Grantham (including Cambridge). Cambs CC proposes closure of Cambridge city centre to buses and bicycles.
June 1990 (24): Cambus takes over local bus operations of Premier Travel and Badgerline (now First Group) takes over Eastern National. Cambridge Coach Services, part of the Blazefield group (now Transdev) run PT's long distance services, though 38 (Haverhill-London) is cut. We produce "Summer Days Out" leaflet, which include new services in Suffolk, but fail to find a way of making its existence known to the general public. Inter-City trains to Huntingdon cut. Dullingham and Kennett lose off-peak trains. Cross country Sprinters terminate earlier. BR run 4 special Sunday services on scenic routes. Corby loses experimental rail service. Government and local authorities persist with plans for damaging new roads. We respond to invitation to submit 6 proposals for bus improvements to Cambs CC. Reviews of Harley Sherlock's book "Cities are good for us" published by Transport 2000; a publication by Countryside Commission on recreational buses; and "Netherlands Travelling Clean", produced by the Dutch equivalents of Transport 2000 and Friends of the Earth.
Aug 1990 (25): Report on crisis regarding rail finances. Cambs CC agrees to consider recreational buses and we submit proposals. Plans to convert A1 to motorway. We object to A11 dualling scheme due to effect on Cambridge-Haverhill trackbed.
Oct 1990 (26): Remaining districts in Cambs decide to support concessionary passes. Opening of Lakeside shopping centre leads to new links including via Dartford Crossing. We join the new Cambridge Transport Forum (now Cambridge Sustainable Transport Forum), a coalition of local campaign groups concerned about the county transport plans.
Dec 1990 (27): John Major who represents a Cambs constituency becomes PM and we write to him. Report on public meeting organised by Cambridge Transport Forum. BR plans to reduce Cambridge-Ipswich to just 3 through trains a day. We quote Transport Retort about pseudo by-passes -- such as the Okehampton by-pass which cut across the Dartmoor National Park but failed to solve the town's traffic problems, so the scheme proposed by objectors as an alternative was now being suggested as an extra. Greenline 798 disappears completely.
Feb 1991 (28): Editorial makes indirect reference to Gulf War. Cambs CC produced public transport plan on which we comment. Association of District Councils produce policy document supporting both roads and public transport but do not discuss "crunch" question of choosing between them. Cuts to National Express. Transport 2000 campaigns against company car subsidies.
May 1991 (29): Major improvements to summer Sunday journey opportunities from Cambridge, with Cambs and Suffolk CCs both providing recreational services and joint ticketing with Essex and Norfolk. Buses to Lakeside shopping centre withdrawn. Inter-Rail tickets (European rover tickets) become available to people over 26. We make submissions to Cambridge and Peterborough local plans. We report on Transport 2000 Beds meeting on east-west rail, and Transport 2000 Cymru meeting in Llandrindod Wells on transport policy in Wales, where many problems echo those of our area.
July 1991 (30): Suffolk's Sunday buses plagued by unreliable operation. Cambs CC approves city centre bus and bike ban. Cambridge Transport Forum discusses Southern Relief Road. EU threatens to take Government to court if they persist with three road schemes -- Twyford Down, M11 link road (now A12), and Oxleas Wood road -- without an environmental impact assessment. (Later EU allow first two if Government withdraws third.) National roads campaign group Alarm UK starts up and we report on their inaugural meeting. We also report plea by amenity group in Bury to oppose plan for new road link to brewery. New late night train from Birmingham to Cambridge misses connections at all interchange points. We put forward varied proposals for bus improvements. Various news on Sunday recreational services.
Nov 1991 (31): Major cuts and confusion regarding Sunday trains, with some replaced by council supported buses. We reprint letter on bus ticketing from magazine of National Consumer Council. We report on Cambs CC response to consulation on public transport strategy. National campaign on pavement parking. More on rail cuts. Haverhill-London service cut, also overnight Edinburgh-London coach via Cambridge. Government chooses route for Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
Feb 1992 (32): Party politics in connection with forthcoming general election. We also summarise manifestos of Ramblers Association and Cambridge Pedestrians Association and give sample questions to candidates. We report on Transport 2000 AGM freight conference. We join Transport Special Working Group set up by Peterborough City Council. We review Transport 2000's report "A new future for Britain's Railways", a report by the Association of County Councils "Towards a Sustainable Transport Policy", and the book "The Great Railway Conspiracy" about goings on in the Beeching era. Government rejects East Coast Motorway proposal which we had previously reported in several newsletters, but publish plans for A1 Motorway in Hunts to which we object. We also object to Southern Relief Road for Cambridge. Government turns down proposals for Thameslink upgrade (which we are still waiting for).
Mar 1992 (33): More party politics -- we publish statements by 4 Cambridge candidates, and also draw attention to a Transport 2000 election pack. We review report on road building by Royal Society for Nature Conservation.
June 1992 (34): Aftermath of election, where one of our members wins Cambridge seat but her party remains in opposition. Bus/bike ban in Cambridge city starts. Swan Meadow in Saffron Walden to be concreted over for car park. Last train from Peterborough retimed to connect from the north. BR abandons seats on overnight trains. Martin Thorne reports on opening of Manchester's Metrolink, also on forthcoming opening of Sheffield light rail. Cambridge-London coaches upgraded to hourly. Cambridge Coach Services introduce 75 from Cambridge to Oxford via Stansted. Herts CC introduce new Sunday leisure services. Late night bus from Cambridge to Huntingdon (positioning working of last bus from Bedford) to be introduced. Cambs CC study proposals for guided busway on St Ives line.
Aug 1992 (35): Government publishes White Paper on rail privatisation which Transport 2000 describes as a bureaucratic jungle. Long standing Highlands & Islands timetable discontinued. Kings Lynn line electrified. Fen Drayton branch loses freight trains. Loss of Inter-City trains from London to places like Grimsby, Shrewsbury and Blackpool. We comment on Cambridge and St Edmundsbury local plans. We review the fiction book "Gridlock" by Ben Elton.
Nov 1992 (36): Transport 2000 joins other organisations to campaign against rail privatisation. Closure of Liverpool St-Watford and Tilbury Riverside rail routes approved. Overnight coach from Scotland restored and absorbs first Cambridge-London coach. Cambridge-Oxford coach makes extra stops on A404 including Chalfont and Latimer tube. We appeared at A1 Motorway inquiry, but our evidence was thrown out for technical reasons we still don't fully understand. (Last year the coordinator was considerably inconvenienced by lack of one of our proposed footpath crossings.)
Feb 1993 (37): More rail gloom. New Suffolk CC bus newsletter. We object to extension of experimental Cambridge City bus/bike ban and Southern Relief Road. We plan Huntingdon Transport Strategy. We report lack of help for passengers when services are disrupted by bomb alerts, mentioning someone who with friends was stranded at Ashwell and Morden where they had gone to a pub to meet one another. Cambs CC proposes to delete plan for new settlement west of Cambridge. Government announces 41 new road schemes as it plans to halve rail budget.
Mar 1993 (38): More problems with rail privatisation, with suggestions that trains from East Anglia will have to terminate at Peterborough. Heathrow Express rail project approved but with prohibitive fares. We respond to Cambs CC Structure Plan Review.
June 1993 (39): Report on county council elections, where we collaborated with other organisations to issue questionnaire to candidates. We campaign against closure of university/college walking routes in Cambridge. Bedford By-pass public inquiry finishes -- we had joined with other organisations to demand protection of the rail route to Sandy, but subsequent developments have led us to wonder whether we should have opposed the scheme outright. Early and late trains on Cambridge-Peterborough route withdrawn, and Cambridge-Stansted reduced to 1 journey each way. Cambridge Coach Services replace these by diverting coaches via Cambridge station, but these arrive just after cross-country connections have left. Sunday morning train to Kings Lynn just misses bus to Hunstanton. National Express withdraw 747 between Oxford, Cambridge and Norwich. Suffolk CC introduce local service between Newmarket and Thetford which covers a section of this route. Overnight bus between Cambridge and Edinburgh cut again. Report on days out from Cambridge -- though again we failed to find a way to publicise this.
Oct 1993 (40): We list proposed amendments to rail privatisation bill. We prepare regional transport strategy. London Transport apply to close the Ongar branch. Cambs CC abandon Southern Relief Road following elections. Extra journeys introduced on 75 Cambridge-Oxford. Ferries reinstated at Burnham on Crouch, Butley and Horning. We reproduce article by J. Dunabin from Omnibus Magazine on attitudes to public transport.
Dec 1993 (41): Government announces plans for fuel duty escalator, but fuel tax rebate for bus operators is frozen leading to fare increases. Some cuts in roads spending. Discussion of tolling motorways to raise funds for road building. Nonstop Cambridge-Kings Cross trains planned. Consultants reject St Ives line reopening. Government require Peterborough to protect route across Burleigh Park for possible Stamford Relief Road. Public inquiry backs those opposing Cambridge bike ban, while the Council agrees to provide free shuttle as concession to those opposing bus ban. S Cambs DC approves plans for Cambourne, thus preempting Cambs CC who want to delete it.
Feb 1994 (42): We express concern at proposals to reorganise local government in Cambs. We announce TV programme in which Transport 2000 criticise transport policy, presented by their president Michael Palin. This turns out to elicit more responses (15-20,000) than any other programme in the "Open Door" series. We comment on county structure plan. Work starts on Wymondham By-pass which cuts through a nature reserve where plots of land had been sold to campaigners to try to hold up construction. This attempt didn't work but at least the campaigners will get compensation. Direct action on A12 tries to hamper construction. We join a campaign against a proposed east-west motorway between Harwich and Oxford, formed by amalgamating lots of smaller schemes. (Some of these schemes are still being pursued.) Review of "Death on the Streets" by Robert Davis.
Mar 1994 (43): County Council expected to decide to buy St Ives line. Cambridge Coach Services start Birmingham route in anticipation of forthcoming opening of A14. Last bus from Leicester to Peterborough curtailed.
June 1994 (44): Channel Tunnel opens. We provide a section on European news, some taken from Transport Retort. We also printed statements from various parties (not Tories or Labour) for the European elections. Report from Transport 2000 Beds conference attended by Nicholas Hammond. National Express intoduce competing service between Cambridge and Birmingham, but withdraw Norwich service. Report on leisure buses.
Aug 1994 (45): Industrial action on the railways, apparently indirectly related to privatisation. Opening of A14 and public transport implications. More on Cambs structure plan. Government supports reopening of St Ives line, but without provision for finance. More on leisure buses.
Nov 1994 (46): Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) reports on transport, recommending doubling of fuel prices throughout Europe, establishment of new Passenger Transport Executives, making developers responsible for environmental costs of generated traffic, and halving roads spending. However Department of Transport publishes proposals to upgrade A1 between Baldock and Alconbury to motorway. We report on the first meeting of the Rail Users Consultative Committee (now Passenger Focus) to be held in public. Cambridge Coach Services replaces its Birmingham service with a new route to Worcester, and improves its Norwich service. There are also various improvements to winter Sunday buses.
Dec 1994 (47): Transport 2000 describes the Government's budget as a "budget for gridlock". We develop strategy for A1 as alternative to motorway upgrade. Essex CC support replacement minibus for Littlebury during roadworks which led to diversion of Cambridge-Saffron Walden service. (The latter never resumed serving the village, and the minibus has long since disappeared.)
Mar 1995 (48): Fears of rail cuts following privatisation. We announce our AGM with 3 speakers. Cambridge Cycling Campaign launched. Cambs CC plan to remove traffic from Magdalene St, Silver St and Parker St in Cambridge (all now achieved) and oppose A1 upgrade. We publicise our Huntingdon Transport Strategy in the Hunts Post. We reply to Government consultation on a Rural White Paper, calling for implementation of the RCEP proposals, and send objections to upgrades for A1 and A14 (west of A1). We mention opening of A14 as cause of local pressure to upgrade section between Girton and Godmanchester -- a perfect example showing how road building creates as many problems as it solves! Sustrans publishes plans for National Cycle Network.
June 1995 (49): We hold meeting outside Cambridge (in Godmanchester) to discuss east-west links, on anniversary of the A14 opening. Confusion about fare changes linked with privatisation. More rail strikes threatened. We prepare transport strategies for Huntingdon and South Cambridge, and also comment on revised county structure plan. Local authorities set up East-West Consortium to study proposals for and press for a rail link. We report on Cambridge public transport strategy. Various changes to Sunday buses in East Anglia, with cuts in Beds but new services in Bucks and south of London. Great Britain Bus Timetable starts. We print article by Nigel Brigham of Sustrans on the National Cycle Network in Cambs.
Oct 1995 (50): We oppose proposals for Peterborough Unitary Authority, and ask Government to use money saved by (welcome) rumoured cuts in road building to improve public transport. Semi-fast trains on Cambridge-Liverpool St line withdrawn off-peak. National Express cuts Cambridge-Birmingham direct service. Stagecoach introduce X5 Cambridge-Oxford (leading to fare cuts on Cambridge Coach Services 75!), and an Oxford-Nottingham service. Cuts in Suffolk, who no longer produce monthly bus update leaflet. We also report on improvements further afield. Government approves Newbury By-pass ahead of schedule. We also attacked Cambs CC's draft public transport strategy as inadequate, objecting in particular to a statement that they have no coherent bus user group to consult with. Felixstowe to Zeebrugge ferry withdrawn except for freight.
Dec 1995 (51): This is the first of our newsletters to appear on our website. Here we reproduced an article from the CFOE newsletter written by David Earl, together with a report by C. J. Piggott on behalf of them and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign on a meeting in Leicester on road safety. Cambridge MP Anne Campbell, a branch member, released a report into modal shift by parents of pupils at a private school in Newnham. Other reports on this topic came from Transport 2000 and the RAC. Cambs CC signs up to a Climate Resolution calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Stagecoach acquires Cambus.
Mar 1996 (52): Consultants propose Letchworth/Sandy option for east-west rail link -- we prefer St Ives/Huntingdon option. The Coordinator reports from Aachen where he is spending much of the year.
Apr 1996 (53): Launch of Real World coalition which includes Transport 2000.
Aug 1996 (54): Transport 2000 Director gets OBE. Consultants recommend guided busway for St Ives line. Sunday Rover scheme covering most counties in our region officially launched, though this coincides with cuts in some counties including Cambs.
Oct 1996 (55): Publication of National Routeing Guide for rail tickets. We comment on report by the Standing Conference of East Anglian Local Authorities.
Jan 1997 (56): Campaign for Road Traffic Reduction Bill. Many road schemes withdrawn. Regional transport campaign group STEER set up. Report by Nicholas Hammond on Channel Tunnel fire. Our website starts up.
Mar 1997 (57): Party politics in anticipation of general election. More bus cuts -- 20 in the last year. We write draft for Traffic Reduction Plan for Cambs.
Apr 1997 (58): More party politics. Traffic Reduction Bill becomes law but in much weakened form. We refer to reports by the Round Table on Sustainable Development, including one on adverse effects of relocation to edge of town sites. More cuts to buses in Sunday Rover scheme.
Aug 1997 (59): Axing of Travel Times (which we had distributed to members as a base for our comments on bus changes). Abandonment of plans for regional Eurostar trains.
Nov 1997 (60): We reply to the new Government's white paper consultation. We are excluded from a Cambs CC consultation meeting on the West Hunts bus network. Final withdrawal of Greenline 797 from Cambridge.
Jan 1998 (61): We campaign against Cambs CC bus cuts.
May 1998 (62): Introduction of Rural Bus Grant. Transport 2000 proposes tax on private non-residential parking. Cambridge-Stansted Airport trains return.
Aug 1998 (63): First impact of EU driving hours regulations. We comment on Government white paper.
Sept 1998 (64): Major problems with reliability on Stagecoach's Cambridge services. Bus improvements using Rural Bus Grant funding.
Nov 1998 (65): We report on workshop on A14. Cambridge Coach Services plans to withdraw 71 which uses this route. A1 motorway opens.
Apr 1999 (66): We report on death of our long time Chair, Graham Hill. We respond to Government papers on bus strategy and road user charging. Lincs axe 97 bus routes, most of them introduced using Rural Bus Grant but not given enough time to prove themselves.
May 1999 (67): Local campaign group issues report on Cambridge-Sudbury rail reopening. Marholm and Ufford lose most of their buses because Delaine start a route on the same corridor missing out these villages.
Aug 1999 (68): Report by Martin Thorne on inquiry into Stagecoach running in Cambridge. Transport 2000 issues list of low cost initiatives. We reproduce article from Cambridge Cycling Campaign newsletter about plans to allow motorcycles on bus lanes (a proposal which has just been approved in London). John Ratcliff reports on a walk we organised on the Fen Rivers Way to mark Green Transport Week.
Nov 1999 (69): Final collapse of Sunday bus network. We print article on rural transport integration in Sachsen Anhalt written by Colin Speakman for Countrygoer News. We produce bus strategy document. Phase 2 of Peterborough Green Wheel opens.
Jan 2000 (70): We print a fairy tale. We plan to object to A428 widening proposals.
June 2000 (71): U turn on transport policy following fuel tax protests, stripping away most of the limited gains we had enjoyed or were hoping to enjoy following the 1997 general election. We reprint an article by Simon Fairlie from "Town & Country Planning" on housing development, with the title "The people -- what will they wear?".
Sept 2000 (72): Government publishes 10 year transport plan. We join campaign against closure of an A428 crossing at Cambourne.
Nov 2000 (73): Hatfield rail accident paralyses rail network -- and when we are starting to recover major floods have their effect.
Dec 2000 (74): Cambridge-Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study (CHUMMS) options launched. We give evidence in public inquiry on Duxford motorway service station.
May 2001 (75): Foot and Mouth crisis has disastrous effects on sustainable rural tourism. Comments on forthcoming general and county elections. Review of "In Our Back Yard" by Peter Dawe and Alan Martin, written by Susan Jourdain. A-Z of bus cuts (26 cuts since the beginning of 1998). Reprint of "Regionalisation is the answer", one of a series of papers published by Transport 2000 on the future of the rail industry, written by John Whitelegg. Our involvement in London-South Midlands Multi-Modal Study and A1 Route Management Strategy.
July 2001 (76): CHUMMS summary report issued. Bury-Stansted Airport service starts.
Sept 2001 (77): We reprint leaflet produced by STEER on responding to the CHUMMS report. Strategic Rail Authority refuses funding for first stage of East-West Rail Link. Public inquiry into Alconbury Distribution Centre, at which we are to give evidence, starts.
Nov 2001 (78): Major bus changes in Cambridge. Anglia Plus tickets now valid on rail routes to Cambridge and Ely. M11 and A120 widening work starts.
Mar 2002 (79): Minimum fare imposed on tickets bought with Network Railcard except weekends. "Planning Disaster" website launched to campaign against Government proposals for expediting major infrastructure developments. We oppose dual carriageway by-pass for Great Barford.
June 2002 (80): More consultations on multi-modal studies and route management strategies. We express concern at the future of Post Office and at expansion of Stansted Airport. Bus service between Leicester and Peterborough disappears. We object to Government guidelines restricting installation of speed cameras.
Nov 2002 (81): Government issues aviation white paper. Susan Jourdain reports on meeting about elected regional assemblies, and reviews book "Transport Lessons from the Fuel Tax Protests of 2000" edited by Glenn Lyons and Kiron Chatterjee. We also reviewed the editor's anniversary edition of Thomas Cook's European Timetable. Cambridge-Norwich direct train service starts. Cambs CC abandons area bus timetables.
Mar 2003 (82): LSMMMS issues final report recommending new rail links between Cambridge, St Neots, Bedford, and Northampton, following the road corridor east of Bedford. Unfortunately this happened too late for us to use in the public inquiry into the Great Barford By-pass, which is part of this road corridor, as the public inquiry closed just as we were digesting the report. Our attempts to reopen the inquiry failed. We did, however, object to the A428 widening and one of our objections was on the same grounds.
July 2003 (83): Government publishes A14 proposals -- whose costs have gone up from 192m pounds to 490m pounds. Did the Highways Agency, who were on the CHUMMS steering group, deliberately allow an unrealistic estimate to proceed, or were they just incompetent?
Sept 2003 (84): We suggest that the A428 scheme may result in the terminal decline of Cambridge as a regional centre. Article by Tim Phillips on the launch of CAST.IRON.
Nov 2003 (85): Unsatisfactory conduct of A428 public inquiry. Highways Agency withdraw proposals for grade separation on A14 west of A1. Ironically this was one scheme we supported in principle, though we got some flak for objecting on points of detail.
Mar 2004 (86): Decision letter on A428 public inquiry adds insult to injury. We print article purporting to come from a newspaper of 2038 describing how delay to the east-west rail link put back the development of our region by a decade. Plans for Cambs Guided Busway published.
June 2004 (87): Report of trip on which connection between train services was deliberately broken, together with retimetabling which broke (and continues to break) a different connection. Attempt to launch "SOS Cambridge" campaign. Cycle bridge over A14 at Milton opens. We review "Air Madness" by former member Cedric Pulford.
Nov 2004 (88): "Progress" report on Cambs Guided Busway public inquiry, where we gave evidence. Reproduction of article from Railfuture's "Railwatch" with the title "A Swiss view of Britain", together with an article on Personal Rapid Transit by then member Larry Curley (but without editorial endorsement).
Apr 2005 (89): More party politics in preparation for general and county elections. Review of Mark Lynas's book "High Tide" on climate change. Highways Agency exhibits plans for A14 and then cancels them without notice because of a general election that everyone was expecting. Final report on guided busway inquiry by Susan Jourdain. Article on cycle lanes by Jim Chisholm reproduced from Cambridge Cycling Campaign newsletter.
Aug 2005 (90): Work starts on A428. Cambs CC consults us on a strategy paper on public transport corridors. National Express consults us on Cambs CC plans to remove coaches from Drummer St in Cambridge.
Nov 2005 (91): We discuss a CPRE report on the future of the countryside and print a vision which was inspired by this report.
Jan 2006 (92): Another "Save our Buses" petition.
Apr 2006 (93): We print a vision for 2016 showing how transport in Cambridge is likely to get worse. Meeting in Bedford to discuss the formation of an umbrella group about east-west rail links, which results in the "BEACON" e-group. New concessionary passes give free local travel.
July 2006 (94): Beds CC, though members of the East-West Consortium, approve Willington Rowing Lake which cuts across the most plausible route for the east-west rail link. New restrictions on use of evening peak trains from Kings Cross. Review of "Car Sick" by former Transport 2000 assistant director Lynn Sloman.
Nov 2006 (95): We comment on development proposals for NW Cambridge, saying that they give us what may be the last chance to save the city. Report by Coordinator on Transport 2000 study group visit to Denmark and Sweden during which cycle facilities were sampled, and by Elizabeth Pascoe, another participant in this tour, on problems in her neck of the woods (Liverpool). Seat belts become compulsory for coach passengers.
Mar 2007 (96): We report on road pricing debate. Continuing cuts in bus services. We also report on proposal by branch member Alan Storkey for high frequency coach services on motorways such as the M25. The Addenbrookes Access Road, the "grandson of the Southern Relief Road", gains final approval. Major bus cuts in Beds.
June 2007 (97): A428 opens. We discuss the Government's Planning Bill and Local Transport Bill (both still working their way through Parliament).
Nov 2007 (98): Transport 2000 changes its name to the Campaign for Better Transport and we follow suit in our newsletter heading. We report major shake ups on the railways. Cambs CC consults on congestion charging. Highways Agency announces preferred option for A14.
Apr 2008 (99): We report on deleterious effects of European driving hours regulations for buses, using analogy from "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy". We also report on how to get to many parts of the world without flying. We review latest edition of Cedric Pulford's "Air Madness". National free travel for concessionary passholders in England starts. We discuss eco-towns with reference to Northstowe, which isn't one officially but is being monitored by groups concerned with them. We respond to Cambs CC consultation on bus strategy.
In September Cambs CC issued a list of tendered bus services proposed for withdrawal, and it has since followed this up with a list of planned retenderings in 2009. We have commented on the former and are planning to comment on the latter. If you have anything to say about the ideas below, please contact the Coordinator well before the closing date for the Council's second consultation, which is 8 Dec.
Here is the list of threatened withdrawals: Whippet 2 (Cambridge-Highfields), X14 (Huntingdon to Cambridge Science Park), 115-7 (Ely market services), 196 (Cambridge-Waterbeach via Horningsea), and 213 (Ely-Bury); plus some peak time journeys on 436 (now 35, Somersham-St Ives for Huntingdon), 46-7 (Newmarket villages), WHF (Wisbech-Holbeach Drove), and evening and Sunday buses between Cambridge and Burwell.
And here is the list of retenders: Citi 7 (Sawston to Duxford or Saffron Walden section), 9 (Cambridge-Littleport, evening journeys), 12 (St Ives town), 16/16A/17/19 (Cambridge/Haverhill village services), 39 (Wisbech-Tydd St Giles), 106 (Cottenham-Ely), 114/B (Cambridge to Addenbrookes via Coldham's Lane), 125 (Ely-Pymore), 152 (St Neots-Bedford via Kimbolton), and 203 (Isleham-Newmarket). There are options to cut the frequency of the Duxford loop and to amalgamate the 106 and 125 (we support the latter as this brings Wardy Hill and Coveney back into the network); while the Council is seeking ideas for replacing the 152.
We strongly oppose the withdrawal of buses needed by people travelling to work (X14, 436/35, WHF, 46-7 and 196) and have made specific suggestions for replacing the threatened routes other than the first three above:
1. New hourly service from Cambridge to Horningsea, Waterbeach station (connects trains) and Cottenham, with most buses continuing to Ely via either Haddenham or Willingham/Earith to Witcham, then direct or via Wardy Hill. Also, divert some Cambridge-Littleport buses (Stagecoach 9) via Little Downham, and extend evening buses to/from Cambridge station. Covers 116, 196, 9 and 106, and also provides new links around Earith and replaces Stagecoach 8.
2. New network of village buses from Ely serving Wicken Fen and Prickwillow (Thur, Sat and some Mon); Pymore/Blackhorse Drove circular (Tue, Thur and Fri, also taking in Three Holes on Thur); March via Pymore and Three Holes (Wed); and Bury via Littleport (Wed). Connections to markets in Wisbech, Downham Market and Kings Lynn, and regular visitor facilities for Wicken Fen, Welney Wildfowl Trust and Prickwillow Museum. Covers 115, 117 and 213 with many improvements.
3. Stagecoach 10-12 route changes in Bottisham/Lode area, and extension of 10 to do loop from Burwell to Fordham (connects 12), Mildenhall, Kennett (connects trains), Newmarket and back to Burwell, evenings and Sundays included. This would replace 400/1 between Newmarket and Mildenhall. Covers threatened journeys on 10, while 203 would be replaced by diversions of 10 to Isleham and Chippenham, and 12 to Snailwell. The connections at Fordham and Kennett would open up numerous journey opportunities.
4. Hourly links between Cambridge, Haverhill and Newmarket via varied routes serving villages between A14 and A1307. Covers 46/7, 16, 16A, 17 and 19, also 341 and 901-4.
5. We propose to extend guided buses beyond Addenbrookes by old 32 route to Sawston then Saffron Walden (some journeys via Littlebury) or Duxford loop, with faster journeys to/from Cambridge compensating for lower frequencies on Duxford loop. We are also asking for connections for passengers between Duxford loop and Saffron Walden, and extra services when there are major events at the Imperial War Museum.
6. We have two options for the Kimbolton area, both involving demand responsive diversions off a core route which could be St Neots-Kimbolton-Wilden-St Neots or St Neots-Kimbolton-Spaldwick-Huntingdon. Diversions would include Perry and Littlehey Prison, plus (under the latter option) Grafham and Brampton Wood. In either case we want connections from Kimbolton to Bedfordshire, also serving Tilbrook and, possibly demand responsively, Covington and Hargrave.
7. New loop route from Cambridge to Coton, Madingley, Hardwick, Highfields, Kingston, the Eversdens, Harlton, Haslingfield, Harston, Hauxton, Trumpington including Foster Road, and back to Cambridge. This replaces Whippet 2 and would involve adjustments to 31 and 75.
A: Major rail changes are planned for the West Coast and Midland Main Lines in December. The downside is fewer fast northbound trains for Watford, Milton Keynes (to some extent), Rugby, Nuneaton, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough and Kettering; the upside is more trains west of Northampton and serving local stations north of Rugby (except those that have been "closed by stealth"). The planned reopening of Corby station has been postponed.
B: National Express East Anglia, who cover the route from Liverpool St to Cambridge, has tightened restrictions on day returns on evening peak trains out of London.
C: Shippea Hill now "enjoys" a train service in just one direction on most days.
D: Saver Tickets, now called Off Peak Returns (though to make things confusing the above is also used for other ticket types such as Cheap Day Returns), are likely to be available for break of outward as well as return journey (but check, before trying this on).
E: Three stations have opened or reopened to serve the new shopping development at Shepherds Bush, to which several bus routes have been extended. However our impression is that interchange passengers may well have substantial walks.
(a) The Government has given the go ahead to maximum use of Stansted Airport's runway, and remains committed to an extra runway there and at Heathrow, despite the incompatibility of aviation expansion with climate change limitation.
(b) The cost of the A14 scheme has gone up yet again and when last heard of rested at 1.2 bn pounds, or more than 6 times the figure in the CHUMMS report (which was endorsed by the Highways Agency as a member of the steering group).
(c) A new website has been set up to plan walking routes in Cambridge.
The major news is that in August Stagecoach in Cambridge and Peterborough introduced major changes to their services, mostly aimed at integrating the services they acquired from Cavalier (including Huntingdon & District). The new network is as follows -- please note that we have not provided a list of all the services that have been superseded.
X9 now runs extends to run hourly from Cambridge to Wisbech via Ely, Chatteris and March, with some journeys extended to/from Long Sutton. North of March it runs via Coldham, the route also used by Emblings.
15 now runs hourly from Cambridge to St Ives via Bar Hill, Longstanton, Willingham, Over, Swavesey, Fen Drayton and Fenstanton. This restores a regular service to Fen Drayton but means there are now no buses between Willingham and Earith.
30/31 are increased to run hourly from Huntingdon to Peterborough, changing at Ramsey. As before there are two routes between Ramsey and Pondersbridge.
32 is the number given to two routes, each 2 hourly: Ramsey-March and Peterborough-Chatteris, both via Benwick and Doddington. Together with 31 and 33, which links Peterborough with March, the latter provides a 15 minute service between Peterborough and Whittlesey.
34/35 link St Ives and March 2 hourly via Earith, Somersham, Warboys (connects 30), Chatteris and Manea. There are extra buses between St Ives and Somersham to make up an hourly service. The Chatteris to Manea and Somersham to Warboys links are new but the direct St Ives to Warboys link is lost.
36 offers more buses between Peterborough and Wisbech, but they don't make up a regular service. However all sections of this route are covered by other services.
45/55 link Cambridge and Huntingdon. The former runs hourly via Bar Hill, Fenstanton, St Ives, Houghton village and RAF Wyton, while the latter provides the direct service (not serving any villages though it still serves St Ives and Huntingdon estates) every 20 minutes (hourly evenings). Unfortunately even on the 55 journey times are longer than with the old 553-5, and the evening buses finish earlier.
65/66 run every 20 minutes between Huntingdon Tesco and Brampton. From there 2 journeys per hour run to Buckden and St Neots, either via Little or Great Paxton. The latter sees a significantly improved service. Southoe continues to be only served on northbound journeys, with a wasteful and inadequate 465 providing buses to St Neots (but not from Huntingdon), thanks to misdirection of past investment on the A1.
There have also been changes to some Peterborough city services, while several rural routes have been renumbered (12-15 are now 22-25 and 16 is now 46). In addition, Stagecoach have ceded Cavalier's share of the Kings Lynn-Spalding route, plus the minibus connections at Long Sutton and Holbeach, to Norfolk Green. This includes the entire Sunday service which has been upgraded to hourly. Finally, Stagecoach in Cambridge introduced an off peak service between Cambridge and Waterbeach via Horningsea (route 8), but they are planning to take it off in January, thus exacerbating the effects of the County Council's threatened withdrawal of Whippet 196 (which also covers this corridor).
Stagecoach in Peterborough will be running later buses on Mondays to Fridays between 1-23 Dec (only). We have been told of journeys from Peterborough to Whittlesey and Sawtry at 21.20 and 21.15 respectively, but suspect that other destinations will also be covered.
On another subject, some Stagecoach subsidiaries have renamed their network tickets: in the Stagecoach in Bedford area the Explorer, for example, is now the Dayrider Gold, at least officially, though some drivers still call them Explorers. There were rumours that the interavailability throughout southern Britain was to cease, but if this was planned Stagecoach seemed to have bowed to pressure to reconsider. However, it seems that weekly and 4 weekly tickets (the last only purchasable online) are no longer available throughout southern Britain (except the 4 week UK wide ticket which costs a lot more).
And one effect of all the traffic management schemes in Cambridge seems to be that changing between buses is liable to involve ever longer walks. For example if one's coming in from Madingley Road by a C4 and wishes to catch a National Express coach, then there's no stop between the Grand Arcade and Emmanuel Rd, even though the bus goes along Park Terrace, just across Parker's Piece from the coach terminal. If one has heavy luggage, hard luck. This is far from an isolated case.
Movements by bus in Cambridge are further hindered by roadworks, many linked with the guided busway such as the long term works at Hills Road which have led to the ban on right turn movements at its junction with Brooklands Avenue, which in turn mean that it is impossible to run a bus service to Brooklands Avenue from the city centre.
Finally, when we mentioned the 152 (St Neots-Bedford via Kimbolton) last time, we failed to note that the diversion via Perry (for Grafham Water and Littlehey Prison) no longer operates. As can be seen above, we have called for it to be reinstated on a demand responsive basis.
We conclude with miscellaneous bus news from round the country.
Essex: Arriva withdrew routes 373 and 500 (except the Harlow-Ongar section of the latter) on the day that London's Low Emission Zone came into force for buses. Transport for London, who created the Low Emission Zone, provided no replacement for the 373 and only a partial replacement for the 500 (with no buses at all beyond Passingford Bridge to Ongar or Epping). The 373 route served Damyns Hall airfield, where a few days later the London Zeppelin Company started sightseeing airship flights. This shows that, however good London is at providing an integrated network within its own boundaries, it has consistently failed to link with its neighbours.
Better news is the introduction of the Essex Saver, which gives unlimited travel for the day on most buses serving Essex, including travel to Saffron Walden from anywhere on the Citi 7 route.
Herts: The 700 route between Stevenage and Stansted Airport, which bizarrely goes via Hitchin before serving Baldock, Buntingford, Standon and Bishops Stortford, now runs 2 hourly on Sundays.
More worrying news is that there appears to have been a mass defection by the district councils in Herts who have hitherto shared subsidy costs with the county council. Watch out for major cuts, possibly including the leisure routes that have run for the last few years.
Norfolk: What's left of the Broadshopper service has virtually disappeared, with just 2 buses a day between Wroxham and Aylsham, continuing to Reepham with limited diversion via Blickling (and at times largely unsuited to the needs of visitors). The route number is 29.
There have also been major changes to Sanders 45 which used to link Norwich with Fakenham via Holt and Blakeney. The route has now been split at Holt, and there have been major cuts in the Fakenham leg, though this is offset by a new link to Wells. Few buses serve Thursford Green (for the Thursford Collection, open in summer except Saturdays), though one can walk from elsewhere in Thursford (including the main road served by Norfolk Green X6/X8 from Kings Lynn). There are also few journeys serving The Snorings; these are believed to be still subject to an interesting diversion in the Walsingham area; Walsingham's regular route, Norfolk Green 29, is subject to a different but also interesting diversion.
Northamptonshire: Stagecoach in Warwickshire have taken over the Northampton to Rugby service from First. The service (now numbered 96) is more frequent (hourly, serving two different routes alternately).
Hampshire: A new leisure service was introduced this year linking Romsey station with Hillier Gardens and Mottisfont Abbey.
Shropshire: This county is planning a major restructuring of its bus network at the end of this month. Apart from the trunk routes most rural areas will be covered by demand responsive services. We strongly suspect that the result will not be in the interests of most users -- demand responsive services can provide major improvements for passengers if they are well handled, but early indications are that these won't be.
Yorkshire: This route has seen two new summer Sunday services. One is the Ingleborough Pony which does a tour from Clapham (Yorkshire) via Ingleton, Ribblehead, Helwith Bridge, Austwick and return; the other is the Peatlands Wayfarer which does a circular tour from Thorne via the Isle of Axholme and Blaxton. The former is highly scenic, but the latter goes through flat though not uninteresting countryside, and misses the area's chief leisure attraction (Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum), though it is possible to walk.
Wales: As we indicated last time, the Bloomfield Walkers Bus did indeed start up, but it only runs as such on Sundays, when it isn't easy to get to its terminus (Narberth) from other parts of Pembrokeshire. Elsewhere in the county, a boat service called Havenlink was introduced linking jetties on the Daugleddau, including Dale and Angle at the outer extermity (tides permitting).
Several new routes were introduced to the Beacons Bus network, including services to the World Heritage Site at Blaenavon; and Tanat Valley introduced some new day excursion type services, including a route from Welshpool to Llandudno (for some reason on Welshpool's market day) via the road "over the top" between Llangynog and Bala that hasn't had a bus service for a long time.
As usual this just sums up the main "action points" in the newsletter.
1. Renew your subscription.
2. Come to our AGM.
3. Go on the Climate Change March.
4. Let us have your ideas on the county bus tenders.
5. Contact us to express your willingness to help in the A14 campaign.