Love it or loathe it - the Guided Bus divides opinion in Huntingdon and St Ives

TWO weeks since it opened and the Guided Bus is already proving a Marmite issue among the Huntingdonshire commuters, so Gail Anderson of The Hunts Post found out when she joined commuters at St Ives.

Love it or loathe it - it seems everyone has an opinion about the busway already, and its only been a matter of days since the first set of passengers took to the tracks.

Craig Whewell, 22, of St Ives works in retail in Cambridge and used the Guided Bus everyday last week. He used to take the 55 bus service which was scrapped when the busway opened.

He said: “The 55 was quicker but that was because it had fewer stops. The one thing I would say about this service is it has opened up more stops and so takes longer for me to get home.

“But I intend to carry on using this service. Nothing is worth parking in Cambridge.”

Beauty therapist Jenny Savage of Warboys was using the busway for the first time on Monday morning. She had high hopes for the journey ahead.

She said: “Normally I use the park and ride. It just makes sense to go on here. I would only use the busway once a month because I work from home.

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“I think it [the guided bus] will allow more people to work in Cambridge. It takes such a long time on the A14. If this is as quick as they say, it must be a good thing.”

Mark Newman, 50, of St Ives, also works in central Cambridge. He has ditched his car and is a complete Guided Bus convert.

He said: “I used it all last week. I used to drive in. Now I do not have to worry about the A14. I do not have to worry about queuing up.

“I will carry on using it in future. It is a pleasant run. It is all nice and scenic. It’s green fields all the way. I find the drivers are friendly and chatty.”

Jisel Fernandez moved to St Ives from Cambridge on Friday and was delighted to learn her move coincided with the opening of the Guided Bus.

The 39 year old finance analyst will be using the bus everyday to get to her offices at Cambridge Science Park.

She said: “We took it on Saturday to complete the move from Cambridge. It is very fast, easy and comfortable.

“Tomorrow I will have to start taking the bus everyday as I do not drive. When I get off all I will have to do is walk five minutes to my office.”

Her husband Estvan Fernandez, 45, is looking for work. He said: “I will use it to look for a job. I do hope to find something here.”

But hair stylist Catherine Dunn, 20, has a far less positive words to say about their Guided Bus experience.

Miss Dunn works in the centre of Cambridge and lives in Huntingdon. Her boyfriend Daniel Edgerton, 22, told us she has experienced a lot of disruption on the route.

“Since the Guideway opened the route simply struggles to keep to its timetable and has caused Catherine a lot of stress in commuting to work.

“The timetable has buses running every 20 minutes and allows one hour and 10 minutes to travel between Huntingdon to Cambridge and vice versa, but the journey, at the moment is taking up to one and a half hours on the worst days.

“On Friday my partner decided to see some friends after work and caught a late night bus back from Cambridge. At this time of night the buses only run every hour, so there are only two buses running on the route, the bus was 30 mins late, which meant she was not home until gone 11pm.

“This is unacceptable for someone to be waiting at a bus station on their own at this time at night and for the bus to turn up so late.”