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

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

 

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.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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48 comments

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ron611087 | 9 years ago
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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?

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giff77 | 9 years ago
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I apologise if I have caused you any offence levermonkey

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levermonkey replied to giff77 | 9 years ago
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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.  3  4

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giff77 replied to levermonkey | 9 years ago
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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.  3  4

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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levermonkey | 9 years ago
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 14 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  14 but calming down after rant!

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

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SteppenHerring | 9 years ago
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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.

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MKultra | 9 years ago
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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.

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Cantab replied to | 9 years ago
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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  4

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MKultra replied to Cantab | 9 years ago
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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  4

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...

 35

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scottydug | 9 years ago
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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...

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Tovarishch | 9 years ago
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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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mrmo replied to Tovarishch | 9 years ago
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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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giff77 | 9 years ago
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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  39

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Airzound | 9 years ago
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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.

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toothache90 | 9 years ago
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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.

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HKCambridge replied to toothache90 | 9 years ago
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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.

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ribena | 9 years ago
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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.

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weeksie31 replied to ribena | 9 years ago
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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.

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giff77 | 9 years ago
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It's easy. When you enter this zone you slow down and defer to the pedestrians making their way on and off the island. The only time you will need to use it is when there is a bus there and more likely than not you will be able pull out in front of said bus safely as other motorists will be stuck behind the same bus as he collects the fares. And for us to be aggrieved that a pedestrian is holding up our progress in a feature like this makes us as bad as the motorist who tries to barge past us in a pinch point.

The shelter is also in the ideal position. Well away from the road and protected from oily water being thrown up by passing vehicles. I know that's what I want when travelling by bus. It also means that you don't have someone stepping out from behind the shelter to cross over the main footway.

As for the concern of holding up traffic. I rarely see buses using the bus laybys provided for them. They seem more than happy to stop in the lane and bring everything to a halt so that one holds no water.

As far as I'm concerned this is a thumbs up for the Cambridge authorities.

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3cylinder | 9 years ago
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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.

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OldRidgeback replied to 3cylinder | 9 years ago
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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.

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Chuck replied to OldRidgeback | 9 years ago
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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.

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philtregear replied to 3cylinder | 9 years ago
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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.

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to philtregear | 9 years ago
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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!

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pdw | 9 years ago
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Not sure how pedestrians crossing the cycle path to get to the bus stop is much different from pedestrians from the other side of the road crossing a road to get to a bus stop.

I think from the point of view of encouraging normal people to cycle for normal journeys, a cycle path which may be crossed by pedestrians is a lot better than having to play leap frog with a bus, although obviously it makes more sense to put the shelter on the island.

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CanAmSteve | 9 years ago
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As said - move the shelter to the island. And as we all know, the peds will still be standing in the cycle path the same way they clog up all the pavements in London. 'What? The world isn't revolving around ME?"

Is Stagecoach still run by the right-wing bigots?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagecoach_Group#Controversy

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belgravedave | 9 years ago
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Whichever cyclists think these new style bus stops are a good idea should try cycling through some of the rougher areas of London during rush hour or school kicking out times.
I would rather take my chances with the motorists.

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nbrus | 9 years ago
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I don't get this at all ... what on earth is wrong with a lay-by where the bus can pull in and cyclists stay on the road and keep going without having to pull out to overtake ... other vehicles also can keep moving. Just look at all the space being wasted for the island and cycle path ... there's easily enough room there for a large lay-by and it would cost less than this mess. Am I missing something?  7

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HarrogateSpa | 9 years ago
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This is an occasion where I understood the issue from the comments underneath, not the article. It does seem that it would be better if the bus stop was on the island.

Credit to Cambridge, though - presumably this is exactly the purpose of the consultation. If they take on board the feedback, it should mean that they avoid mistakes, and build this sensibly.

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levermonkey | 9 years ago
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The problem is not the island, and it is not bus passengers crossing the cycle path to reach the bus stop. It is the high kerbs coupled with the narrowness of the cycle path.

Scenario 1. Island without kerbs.
Bus passenger (distracted by need to extract Oyster, phone call, change tune on iPod) steps into path of cyclist without looking. Cyclist weaves round bus passenger and proceeds on his way probably with bus passenger oblivious to what has occurred.

Scenario 2. Island with kerbs.
Distracted bus passenger steps into path of cyclist. Cyclist has nowhere to go and so has no choice but to drop his shoulder and collide with bus passenger. Bus passenger injured and papers full of stupid comments about rogue, speeding, reckless cyclists rampaging about town endangering pedestrians.

Take a look at bus islands on the continent, very few have kerbs of any description.

Rocket science it ain't!

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