Today I’ve tried to get the City7 from Cambridge to Hinxton. Usually I take the shuttle bus in the morning and in the afternoon, but if you’ve got stuff to do in town, you have only two options left:

  • taking the train + bike
  • taking the city7

The train+bike means boarding your bike @ Cambridge station and getting out at Whittlelsford Parkaway station and then cycle to the Genome Campus and cycle back in the evening.

The path is really nice, especially in summer, but right now it gets dark rather too quickly, and the road from the Genome Campus to Whittlesford ParkAway is completely without any kind of illumination. So not available in the winter.

The other option is to catch the City 7.

Now, the problem with the city 7 is the service is quite disastrous. There is only one city7, that goes hourly from CB to Hinxton, where the Genome Campus and the EBI is based and it’s never on time. We actually call it the “Unpredictable city 7”.

Real life experience, today the bus @11.05 never show up and I was forced to take the one @12.05. I was at the bust stop from 10.40 (to not miss it if was going to pass really early), so I waited 1 hour and 30 mins. Oh yeah!

I think those guys can do better than this. So I wrote the letter below. Feel free to send them an email as well if you care about this. You can use mine as template if you like.

Their email address is cambridge.enquiries@stagecoachbus.com .

Dear Stagecoach,

The the City 7 line, specifically the one that goes from Cambridge to Saffron Walden has a very sloppy service for an amazing high price.

While I understand you can’t provide a service every 10 mins I think it’s outrageous that your bus is most of the time either late or too early in respect of the schedule.

When I started my PhD, 3 years ago, the frequency of the bus was every half hour for 2.80 £. Right now the service is hourly and the price is 3.10 pounds. As I already stated the punctuality is not a strength.

I’m working @ the EMBL-EBI which is in the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, together with the Sanger institute and the Hinxton Hall Conference Center. The Campus is very close to the Hinxton Village.

The Genome Campus has roughly 4000 people and I can tell you I’m not the only one who would enjoy a better service. Most of the people I know have completely given up the idea to take the public bus, in favour of cycling or going by car or other means because of its unreliability.

I think there is enough potential to try to run things differently.

Other City 7 lines stops at Duxford and the Duxford museum. Maybe you can run a trial and extend those services to Hinxton, which is just few miles away.

If you can provide a reliable schedule with an increased number of services maybe the perception would change and more people will use those service more often.

That would be a better service for us and a good business for you.

I hope you will take those suggestions in consideration.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

Michele Mattioni.