Cambridge bus boss calls ‘floating’ bus stop plan “absolutely ludicrous”

But cycling campaigners say they're a boon for buses too

by John Stevenson   March 27, 2014  

Cambridge_floating_bus_stop

 

The boss of bus company Stagecoach Cambridgeshire says plans to improve bike paths in Cambridge that include ‘floating’ bus stops are “absolutely ludicrous”.

Plans for a major overhaul of bike lanes in Cambridge include bus boarding areas on traffic islands, with a bike lane between the footway and the bus stop. A similar design has been included in the recent extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 and is in common use in Europe.

However, artists’ impressions of the proposed design show the cycle lane passing between a bus shelter and the island, and this is worrying Stagecoach Cambridgeshire managing director Andy Campbell, according to Cambridge News’ Chris Havergal.


The proposed floating bus stop layout

Mr Campbell thinks people will be so excited at the prospect of getting on one of his buses they will leap, lemming-like, into the path of oncoming cyclists.

He told a meeting of the city council’s north area committee: “People, when they see a bus coming, will just walk towards the bus and they will be walking across a cycle path.

“To me that’s absolutely ludicrous. If you’re going to put a cycle lane in, put it behind the bus stop.”


Bus stop on London's Cycle Superhighway 2 extension (CC licensed image by diamond geezer/Flickr)

That’s how the floating stops on the recently-completed extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 have been positioned. Bus stop and shelter are both on the island so bus passengers don’t have to cross the bike lane to board.

The plans show the bus stopping in the main traffic lane rather than pulling into a lay-by, which has raised fears of more queues on routes into the city.

Mr Campbell added that cutting down on road space to slow traffic down would only make congestion worse.

But Cambridge Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Hester Wells says the floating bus stop design is better for both buses and cyclists.

She told road.cc: “Andy Campbell of Stagecoach cited the difficulty of driving among the volume of cyclists in Cambridge. This design removes interaction with cyclists.

“Also, the bus just stops in the road. There’s no waiting to pull into the stop because of cyclists, and no waiting for traffic to pull out.

“Plus there’s the obvious point that congestion is what holds up buses. If cycling is perceived as safer, that can reduce car journeys.”

The plans were unveiled as part of a consultation exercise into new, segregated cycle lanes along Huntingdon Road and Hills Road.

A county council spokesman said: “The feedback of the bus operators as well as comments of hundreds of others has been very useful and will help us shape the final proposals.

“Floating bus stops have been used successfully by the Dutch for decades and have also been introduced in the UK. The idea of the stops is to improve safety for both the bus drivers and cyclists.

“In any detailed design of the stops we would look at the best ways to make them work for all users including where possible keeping traffic moving around stationary buses and the best way to help bus passengers.”

47 user comments

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bikebot wrote:
Well, after reading that carefully I'm surprised I actually agree with him a little bit. He doesn't seem to be complaining about the island at all, just that they haven't put the shelter on the island.

The chap from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign didn't address that point in his reply.

I'm no expert on bus shelters, especially those in the Netherlands. Do they always put the shelter on the island or not?

I can see this point, people wait in the shelter and step straight onto the bus and it would be silly to make them cross the bike path at that moment I think!! So yes the shelter needs to be on the island, makes a lot of sense to me.

posted by saladfunky [11 posts]
28th March 2014 - 0:02

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The ones i've used in Brighton have the bus shelter on the island.

Busses don't overtake the immediately pull back in front of cyclists.

Pedestrians don't get in the way of cyclists.

Cyclists don't speed through like maniacs.

They seem to work quite well.

posted by ribena [135 posts]
28th March 2014 - 0:32

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I'm not saying this doesn't exist in Holland but i haven't seen it yet and i use the public transport regularly.

I do see this setup but its for 2 separate modes of public transport. The island for Trams and the pavement shelter for buses.

Personally i think it's a bad idea to have the cycle lane in-between bc UK pedestrians are not used to it like the Dutch and Danish. It would require a huge change in highway code and lots of awareness for public to study and learn it then remember. It would mean numerous accidents would happen before the culture change in UK to happen. Leading to law suits against people, cyclists and councils for failing to listen to the public.

posted by toothache90 [33 posts]
28th March 2014 - 7:55

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Neil753 wrote:
Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Speed is irrelevant. It is often a case of whether you are expecting contact. Have you never seen two pedestrians bump into each other at walking pace? Often one of them, the one not expecting contact, will be knocked over by the impact.

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have? Thinking Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

How long before signs start to appear saying "cyclists dismount"?

posted by levermonkey [357 posts]
28th March 2014 - 8:13

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I ride along both Hills and Huntingdon Roads. Lots of small side roads on both. There is currently a narrow cycle lane along each side of both which is okish. But with this new layout, how often will the cycle lane around the bus stop be cleaned as it will likely become an ashtray, fill up with rubbish and broken glass which will mean cycling around the bus stop on the road if you value your tyres and don't want a puncture? They need to place the shelter on the island and make it big so it can accommodate many.

Stagecoach drivers are psychopaths.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [269 posts]
28th March 2014 - 9:23

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3cylinder wrote:
Having used buses and bikes in Copenhagen I have seen this layout work perfectly well, but the difference is that over there there are a large number of 'normal' people on mostly 'Dutch' bikes travelling at 10mph in normal clothes, no helmets etc. Bike lanes like these are not designed for Lycra, road bikes, and strava.

I'm just back from a work trip to Amsterdam and the tram stops use a similar concept in many parts of the city. But the Dutch are used to this system and that makes a big difference. Tram users know to check the cycle lane before stepping out and the cyclists know that tram passengers may not always look before they step into the lane, even though they're supposed to. I'm not sure how well this would work in the UK and it'd take something of an education process for bus users and cyclists, possibly with several learning the hard way.

Even the lycra clad cyclists take it easy at pinch points in the system in Amsterdam. I go there for work from time to time and it's struck me how much more laid back cyclists are there, probably because cycle commuting is the norm.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2166 posts]
28th March 2014 - 10:01

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ribena wrote:
The ones i've used in Brighton have the bus shelter on the island.

Busses don't overtake the immediately pull back in front of cyclists.

Pedestrians don't get in the way of cyclists.

Cyclists don't speed through like maniacs.

They seem to work quite well.

This is all true. I live in Brighton and use the Lewes Road cycle lane regularly, with the shelters on the island.

Hasn't been a single problem as far as I know: pedestrians are aware there is a cycle lane there before crossing to the island to get their bus, and cyclists slow down when necessary.

posted by weeksie31 [2 posts]
28th March 2014 - 10:09

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Well said Oldridgeback. I'm rather bemused by the inability of some of our fellow cyclists unwilling to slow down for the more vulnerable road user. Maybe they're closet clarksonites Thinking

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posted by giff77 [1045 posts]
28th March 2014 - 10:21

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levermonkey wrote:
I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have? Thinking Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

It'd have to be a very high kerb to not allow nearly half your bar width to overlap the pavement or island Smile Even assuming the kerb's too high to clear pedals (which would be daft) you can still put your wheels within, say, 15cm of the kerb. 25cm of bar sticking out the other way leaves over a metre for the errant ped. If it's a kerb at sensible height you can ride right up to it and win even more space.

posted by David Portland [88 posts]
28th March 2014 - 10:26

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svenrokk wrote:
In Copenhagen they're often like the artist's impression here. Cyclists give way to pedestrians getting on and off the bus and it works really well. That's in a country where there's a widely respected order of priority, though.

I hate to disagree... but that's just not true. The lemming quote from the bus boss isn't entirely accurate, but it is definitely a problem in Copenhagen when the bus shelter (or any other waiting area) is on the other side of the bike path from the bus loading area. The Nørreport area NE-bound on a bike (admittedly a temporary thing) is a particularly bad example of this.

In fact, there was an article in Politiken a while ago about this very problem: many Copenhageners don't know when pedestrians are supposed to give way to cyclists and vice versa.

There are also a few places where the shelter is on the correct side, like the new Nørrebrogade or the main train station.

posted by durrin [16 posts]
28th March 2014 - 10:29

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Looks like the right option to me. How many people actually use the shelter, particularly if it not raining? With it on the island anyone in the shelter will have to lean out too see if a bus is coming making them pointless, especially if people are standing around outside. If you separate the people in the shelter from those outside everyone can see when the buss is coming.

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posted by Tovarishch [49 posts]
28th March 2014 - 11:08

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Tovarishch wrote:
Looks like the right option to me. How many people actually use the shelter, particularly if it not raining? With it on the island anyone in the shelter will have to lean out too see if a bus is coming making them pointless, especially if people are standing around outside. If you separate the people in the shelter from those outside everyone can see when the buss is coming.

Do you use buses? I ask because plenty of people use the shelter regardless of weather, do you want to stand for 15mins+ waiting for the bus or do you want to use the "seat" in the shelter?

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posted by mrmo [1064 posts]
28th March 2014 - 11:16

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levermonkey wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Speed is irrelevant. It is often a case of whether you are expecting contact. Have you never seen two pedestrians bump into each other at walking pace? Often one of them, the one not expecting contact, will be knocked over by the impact.

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have? Thinking Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

How long before signs start to appear saying "cyclists dismount"?


I'm afraid speed is very important. You need to stop working out how much "wiggle room" you have, stop readying yourself for a collision, and maybe start thinking about just slowing down. Remember, how you ride affects how other people see cyclists collectively.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
28th March 2014 - 11:24

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OldRidgeback wrote:
But the Dutch are used to this system and that makes a big difference. Tram users know to check the cycle lane before stepping out and the cyclists know that tram passengers may not always look before they step into the lane, even though they're supposed to. I'm not sure how well this would work in the UK and it'd take something of an education process for bus users and cyclists, possibly with several learning the hard way.

I think this is a key thing. It might sound a bit defeatist but at the moment I don't think either pedestrians or cyclists have the right mindsets for this to be a very good idea.

posted by Chuck [364 posts]
28th March 2014 - 11:52

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levermonkey wrote:
Neil753 wrote:
Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Speed is irrelevant. It is often a case of whether you are expecting contact. Have you never seen two pedestrians bump into each other at walking pace? Often one of them, the one not expecting contact, will be knocked over by the impact.

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have? Thinking Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

How long before signs start to appear saying "cyclists dismount"?

I take it you've not heard of brakes or a bell then. Just because you are in an area than* has the strong possibility of a pedestrian crossing over does not mean that we behave like the motorist and barge on through. Yes the pedestrian needs to learn to look. On the same token we need to be aware of their existence and behave accordingly. Otherwise we reinforce the image that pedestrians have of cyclists being louts.
* that

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posted by giff77 [1045 posts]
28th March 2014 - 12:23

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Stagecoach owned by the Souter/Gloag clan. Don't like Gay people (cf Clause 4). Don't like cyclists. Wonderful company...

posted by scottydug [14 posts]
28th March 2014 - 12:31

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MKultra wrote:
Being a considerate and careful cyclist entering the by pass lane that gets you round the parked up bus does not concern me as I have eyes and brakes and I wouldn't go entering one at speed anyway. What concerns me is that you then emerge in front of the bus which is dead ground, meaning the drivers on the right of the parked up bus can not immediately see you until you get at least a bus length forward of the parked bus. Even if it's a bus lane there is no guarantee that numb nuts in a taxi or a bus wont over take the parked bus and then swing in sharpish - right on top of you. I also don't trust bus drivers to pay attention to what is coming up on their left in the bypass bicycle lane, again putting you in the position where you get cut up/killed as you rejoin the road as we have all seen how buses act when the driver is tearing between stops so he can park up and sit on his backside for ten minutes at the end destination.

You would be right, if that was the proposed design, but thankfully it isn't! The proposal either have a fully segregated (2.1m wide cycle lane with 60cm wide kerb between it and the road) or a pseudo-segregated (2.7m wide cycle lane with shallow ~50mm high kerbs between the pavement and the cycle lane, and the cycle lane and the road). These each have merits. Either way, the cyclists will have their own lane though (almost as wide as a car lane, check out 2.1/2.7m on a tape measure), so won't have to emerge in front of the bus Big Grin

posted by Cantab [59 posts]
28th March 2014 - 13:05

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Being a considerate and careful cyclist entering the by pass lane that gets you round the parked up bus does not concern me as I have eyes and brakes and I wouldn't go entering one at speed anyway. What concerns me is that you then emerge in front of the bus which puts you in dead ground, meaning the drivers on the right of the parked up bus can not immediately see you until you get at least a bus length forward of the parked bus. Even if it's a bus lane there is no guarantee that numb nuts in a taxi or a bus wont over take the parked bus and then swing in sharpish - right on top of you. I also don't trust bus drivers to pay attention to what is coming up on their left in the bypass bicycle lane, again putting you in the position where you get cut up/killed as you rejoin the road as we have all seen how buses act when the driver is tearing between stops so he can park up and sit on his backside for ten minutes at the end destination.

posted by MKultra [208 posts]
28th March 2014 - 13:07

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Cantab wrote:
MKultra wrote:
Being a considerate and careful cyclist entering the by pass lane that gets you round the parked up bus does not concern me as I have eyes and brakes and I wouldn't go entering one at speed anyway. What concerns me is that you then emerge in front of the bus which is dead ground, meaning the drivers on the right of the parked up bus can not immediately see you until you get at least a bus length forward of the parked bus. Even if it's a bus lane there is no guarantee that numb nuts in a taxi or a bus wont over take the parked bus and then swing in sharpish - right on top of you. I also don't trust bus drivers to pay attention to what is coming up on their left in the bypass bicycle lane, again putting you in the position where you get cut up/killed as you rejoin the road as we have all seen how buses act when the driver is tearing between stops so he can park up and sit on his backside for ten minutes at the end destination.

You would be right, if that was the proposed design, but thankfully it isn't! The proposal either have a fully segregated (2.1m wide cycle lane with 60cm wide kerb between it and the road) or a pseudo-segregated (2.7m wide cycle lane with shallow ~50mm high kerbs between the pavement and the cycle lane, and the cycle lane and the road). These each have merits. Either way, the cyclists will have their own lane though (almost as wide as a car lane, check out 2.1/2.7m on a tape measure), so won't have to emerge in front of the bus Big Grin
It was the layout in the picture that I found slightly concerning

What concerns me more is how your post quoting me ended up above my original post...

Silly

posted by MKultra [208 posts]
28th March 2014 - 14:10

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Putting the shelter in the wrong place seems like an example of the very British way of taking a reasonable idea and making one small change that renders it stupid and dangerous.

Also re. kerbs: my commuter bike is fixed gear. Narrow with peds and kerbs makes me shudder.

posted by SteppenHerring [177 posts]
28th March 2014 - 15:55

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Cantab wrote:

That said there's not really a "narrowness of the cycle path" problem in these plans, the cycleway is going to be 2+m wide for the most part and 1.5m wide through bus stops. I'm not sure about your bike control, but I reckon I can steer around even the most gormless of pedestrians (and some of the school kids on Hills Road are frankly entirely oblivious even as they cross the road) in 1.5metres of space.

As anyone who has cycled down Kings Parade will know, we're quite used to avoiding collisions with gormless pedestrians in Cambridge. I don't think this will be any more taxing.

posted by HKCambridge [128 posts]
28th March 2014 - 16:08

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toothache90 wrote:
Personally i think it's a bad idea to have the cycle lane in-between bc UK pedestrians are not used to it like the Dutch and Danish. It would require a huge change in highway code and lots of awareness for public to study and learn it then remember. It would mean numerous accidents would happen before the culture change in UK to happen. Leading to law suits against people, cyclists and councils for failing to listen to the public.

Well, they're already in use in Brighton and London. Had an exchange with one of Brighton's campaigners yesterday: the first one went in December 2012 and they are unaware of any incidents at all.

I'm really miffed by the hysteria. It's like crossing a road. Except that there's only traffic in one direction. And you only need to cross 1.5m. And the vehicle weighs about 100Kg. And it's going 10-20mph. And it's a straight road and visibility is good. It's a wonder we let people out on their own two feet at all.

posted by HKCambridge [128 posts]
28th March 2014 - 16:11

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Cantab wrote:
This is my daily commute, to be honest I agree with him entirely, in fact I filled in the online consultation saying so just this morning.

Putting the cycle path between the bus shelter and where you mount the bus is quite simply daft. The problem is made worse by the several secondary schools/sixth form colleges along Hills Road, teenagers distracted by their music and phones crossing the cycleway is a recipe for disaster. The TFL/dutch bus-stop bypass design avoids this because pedestrians aren't distracted/under time pressure when crossing the cycleway and cyclists are slowed by the bend in the path.

A bus stop will always create some conflict because pedestrians, motor vehicles and cyclists have to cross each others paths, the proposed design will exacerbate rather than minimise the potential pedestrian-cyclist conflict.

What so many people seem to be ignoring is that the bus stops on the northbound side of Hills Rd ALREADY dump pedestrians into the path of cyclists on the shared-use, only there's no island to pause and crap visibility.

How is this not, clearly, incontrovertibly, an improvement?

Is there already an epidemic of pedestrian and cyclist injuries with the existing, inferior arrangements, even given the number of teenagers on Hills Rd? No. No there is not.

In addition, the plans will make it possible to remove the existing shared-use on Hills Rd. People are so keen to be afraid on the unfamiliar they're ignoring all the problems that are already there.

posted by HKCambridge [128 posts]
28th March 2014 - 16:40

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Angry One of these days people are going to actually read what someone says before attacking them.

I am not blaming bus passengers. I am not advocating blasting through a crowd of pedestrians. I am not saying that you should charge in expecting a collision. And yes I have heard of brakes and a bell you facetious prat!

What I said is that 1.5m is not very wide when you consider that you are hemmed in by high kerbs. Look at the second picture. This is NOT an artists impression that is CS2 between Stratford and Bow. Look at the kerbs. I've got news for you that kerb is higher than your pedal at the bottom of its stroke.

Why is this important. Because it WILL be regarded by planners as best design.

What we need is for the cycle path to be marked on the level where it passes the bus island so you can steer round the errant bus passenger.

Even a one inch sharp ridge can cause you to spill if you hit it at a shallow angle and your not expecting it.

Still Angry but calming down after rant!

I'm only responsible for what I say. Not for what you understand.

posted by levermonkey [357 posts]
28th March 2014 - 17:48

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I apologise if I have caused you any offence levermonkey

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posted by giff77 [1045 posts]
28th March 2014 - 19:08

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a very good point. i do wear lycra for my commute ( mostly country lanes). However, regardless of my attire, I cycle slowly in town. responsible car drivers drive slowly in town. this gives us all, pedestrians included, time to adjust and avoid accidents. the obsession that some cyclists have in boy racer antics in town puts them on a par with their neanderthal driving counterparts.

posted by philtregear [72 posts]
28th March 2014 - 20:02

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giff77 wrote:
I apologise if I have caused you any offence levermonkey

No problem. I've taken myself to one side and given myself a firm talking to! I did rather go off on one. Wink Big Grin

posted by levermonkey [357 posts]
28th March 2014 - 20:25

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levermonkey wrote:
giff77 wrote:
I apologise if I have caused you any offence levermonkey

No problem. I've taken myself to one side and given myself a firm talking to! I did rather go off on one. Wink Big Grin

The joys of the internet heh. Thanks also for your advise re physios. Kept meaning to get back to you. But slipped through the cracks. There's a few of them in the area.

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posted by giff77 [1045 posts]
28th March 2014 - 22:07

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philtregear wrote:
responsible car drivers drive slowly in town. .

Which would imply then that there are no such "responsible" car drivers anywhere round here!

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
29th March 2014 - 13:29

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The law of averages says that about 1/2 the people embarking or disembarking from the bus will need to cross the road, not just a cycle path. I wonder how Mr Campbell thinks they cope?

posted by ron611087 [17 posts]
29th March 2014 - 13:30

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