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Hunts Post October 08 2003

Guided Bus

THE guided bus - the core of the Rapid Transit System which the county council wants to introduce between Huntingdon and Cambridge - has been called "Fred Flintstone" technology by the man who runs the Leeds busway.

And an official report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister casts doubt on the suitability of guided buses to serve new developments, which is the intention of the 78m RTS for the Oakington and Longstanton parts of the route.

The Hunts Post has been an opponent of the guided bus scheme for two years following the recommendations of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi Modal Study. Our stance has won widespread support around Huntingdonshire.

The guided bus scheme being steered through by the county council after Government backing will be the public transport part of the improvements to the A14 corridor, which also involved major road works to add extra lanes to the dual carriageway and re-route it.

A report in Transit magazine, a journal for local authority officials, quotes Ian Davies, Yorkshire Director of First Group as saying his research shows bus design had not changed for 50 years and needed a radical change. It also reports his "Fred Flintstone" remark.

The other report - Relationship between transport and development in the Thames Gateway - stresses the need for high quality regional and local public transport and that rail helps to trigger low car dependence development.

It also states: "A bus-based strategy is high risk. We must warn of the potential dangers of relying on an approach that is both innovative and untested. There are no examples in the UK, or elsewhere, of low-car developments in relation to the bus."

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