Bus dwell times

This article was published in 2004, in Newsletter 54.

So why are we talking about the technicality of bus operations in a ‘Cycling’ campaign newsletter?

‘Dwell time’ is the technical term for the time a bus is stationary whilst passengers are boarding. It is important for cyclists as, during this time, they may be held up and hesitate to pass in case the bus starts to move. Long dwell times cause the congestion around the Drummer Street area. Shorter dwell times should make life easier for cyclists, bus passengers and bus operators alike.

Buses crowd into Emmanuel Street.
Image as described adjacent

Unfortunately Stagecoach does not appear to understand this as recent ticket changes have abolished ‘return’ and ‘flexirider’ multi trip tickets. Just when both City and County Councils are trying to encourage modal shift from cars, and to reduce congestion in the centre of Cambridge, Stagecoach introduces a policy that means even more people will be buying tickets as they board the bus. If we had a sensible system with off-bus purchase of tickets valid for, say, one hour, perhaps buses would speed up so much that bus lanes would not be necessary. As it is, cyclists may have to endure even more congestion and obstruction by buses, at least in the short term.

Jim Chisholm