WITH the scheduled opening of the St Ives to Cambridge guided busway less than a month away, bus drivers have been getting onto the tracks for some training... and they like what they have seen so far.

According to Stagecoach's lead driver, the alternative route to Cambridge along the A14 is no match for the smooth tracks of the busway.

Mick Capper, who has worked for the bus operator for 27 years, said: "It's a fantastically smooth ride compared to when I started driving all those years ago.

"It's amazing. The A14 or this? There is no comparison."

Mr Capper will be one of the trainers who will demonstrate to 50 Stagecoach drivers how to drive on and off the track.

And currently some of those drivers - along with those of rival firm Whippet - will be driving passenger carrying buses along the guideway from August 7 - the latest of the scheduled opening dates for the much-delayed and over budget project.

Final tweaks to the project are being carried out by Jackson Civil engineering and Cambridgeshire Highways following the handover of the busway - two-and-a-half years late - by the original contractors BAM Nuttall.

Once open the seven-day-a-week service will offer a bus every 10 minutes between St Ives and Cambridge at peak times.

When services start it will be the chance for the busway to repair its damaged reputation caused by the long delays to the project and a £70million overspend on a £116m project.

The council has started negotiations with BAM about the overspend and how the burden will fall.

INFORMATION: Full busway timetables can be found by visiting www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/around/thebusway/timetables