Guided disaster or daring genius?
When I heard about Cambridge’s – and that’s Cambridge in the UK, around an hour away from London – brand-new guided-bus idea, I was somewhat sceptical. Here is what I first learned about it.
1) It was to be the longest of its kind anywhere in the country.
2) It was going to be an alternative to the busy rush hour traffic.
3) It was going to give great views of the countryside.
4) The most important point: it was going to be ground-breaking…
And by ground-breaking, they seemed to be suggesting a new kind of transport which had never been seen before. The reality, of course, when you delved a bit deeper, was entirely different.
In fact, the guided bus had been seen before in a few other cities in UK, hence my negative first reaction. Had it been a success? Um…sort of. In reality, though, all it was was a bus which could go on both the road and on the funny guided rail things. So not that remarkable after all…
But the thing which got my goat the most, I confess, is the same thing which got many other peoples'goats; namely, that it cost an absolute fortune and promised no real payback at any point in the future. Here were councils around the country advising us to not take risks and be good citizens, and here they were with a scheme which completely flew in the face of basic common sense!
To my mind, that sounded like a Signage manufacturer run by people with short arms. No offence to people with short arms of course, but it’s going to be pretty difficult to paint tall signs when you’re of that persuasion, isn’t it?
Now, the wait is over and the guided bus is finally here; yes, after much speculation and anticipation it is running and carrying people to and from work DAILY. It’s much too early to say whether or not it’s a success or failure right now – only time will tell that tale and prove who was right and who was wrong.
I suppose one thing is good about the guided bus: it’s given us all something to talk about while we wait for the conventional bus. Anything that puts a smile on my face at 8am in the morning has to be worth something, I suppose…(I’m just not quite convinced that it’s worth the literally millions of pounds that it’s cost us all).
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