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The Great Guided Bus Cover Up

Date Issued: 4th May 2005

The Department for Transport's (DfT) assessment of the guided bus reveals significant weaknesses in Cambridgeshire County Council's case for the busway.

The DfT report, which was written in 2003 but withheld from the public until after the Public Inquiry into the scheme in late 2004, supports many of the objections to the guided bus raised at the Inquiry. The Council rubbished these objections during the Inquiry, even though they knew about the DfT report.

The DfT's report highlights fundamental weaknesses in the economic case for the guided bus. The DfT report says that the County Council underestimated the costs and overestimated the benefits of the guided bus.

The County Council's models, constructed by Atkins, were not based on realistic assumptions. For instance, the model of the traffic lights at the exit of the Arbury Camp development assumed that green lights would last only 7 seconds. This unrealistic figure contributed to wildly inaccurate claims for the decongestion benefits of the busway.

The County Council claimed that the benefit-to-cost ratio of the guided bus would be 4.84, whereas the DfT report says this figure would be at most 1.2. The County Council's figures overemphasized work-related travel during business hours and underweighted peak-hour commuting and leisure use.

Tim Phillips, chairman of CAST.IRON, said "We are disgusted that Cambridgeshire County Council knew about these problems so long ago and still denied them throughout the Public Inquiry. We encourage voters to show how they feel about this dishonesty in the County Council elections. People should find out where their candidates stand, and not let the Council carry on with this huge waste of public money."


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