Cambridgeshire guided busway driver speeding and 'not in control' before crash

Guided bus crash
Image caption The bus crashed on the outskirts of Cambridge

A guided bus driver who crashed near Cambridge injuring five passengers was travelling at more than 53mph in a 30mph zone, a report concluded.

The vehicle left the busway's concrete tracks on 22 February near Trumpington, and ended up mounting a verge.

The "excessive speed" at a junction between one set of guide tracks and another made it "unlikely the bus was under the driver's control".

The driver was dismissed after the accident, operator Stagecoach said.

Two of those injured, an elderly woman and an elderly man were taken to hospital. The other injured passengers were treated at the scene.

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The crash also caused "considerable damage" to the bus itself, as well as the track.

Image copyright Cambs County Council
Image caption The bus was travelling at more than 50mph in the 30mph zone approaching the tracks which it then makes contact with on its left-hand side
Image copyright Cambs County Council
Image caption Having lost its guide wheel the speeding bus skidded, left the track and crashed across a maintenance road before coming to rest on the verge

The county council report into the accident said it happened as the driver was moving from a single guided carriageway to a dual carriageway, a point at which he is expected to steer the vehicle to ensure correct alignment.

Conditions at the time were dry and visibility good, however CCTV images "showed the bus being thrown from one side of the guideway section to the other, before being thrown onto the adjacent maintenance track and up onto the verge".

Investigations showed the vehicle was travelling at more than 53mph in a 30mph zone on the approach to the dualled track.

Image caption Two of the five people injured were taken to hospital

As it entered the junction the bus was positioned further to the left than it should have been and collided with part of the concrete guide.

One of the guided wheels was also "sheared off" which had a "catastrophic effect on the bus's guidance... magnified by the bus's forward momentum", the report said.

Image caption The bus left the concrete tracks and ended up on a verge

The report concluded the driver's "excessive speed" indicated he was "either inattentive or overconfident".

CCTV from inside the vehicle suggested the driver "appeared to be reading something" and looked "shocked" as the bus collided with the guideway.

He was also thrown off his seat into the foot well of the bus.

Image caption The crash was caused by the driver's "excessive speed"

It was "unlikely the bus was under the driver's control" at that point, the report said.

Its authors recommended the council, which operates the busway, work more closely with bus companies to develop a system to ensure training and monitoring procedures are "open and transparent".

The Cambridgeshire guided busway opened in 2011 and connects Cambridge with Huntingdon and St Ives.

The busway carries thousands of passengers in and out of Cambridge every day, with buses running on the specially-designed concrete tracks.

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