Tomorrow, Monday 2nd October, sees Hornsby Travel reduce weekday Scunthorpe Town Service 22 from a half hourly to hourly frequency. The service links Lakeside Retail Park with Timberlands, Bottesford Lane, Bottesford Road, Ashby Town Centre, Priory Lane, Devonshire Road, Glanville Avenue and Scunthorpe Town Centre. The Saturday service was withdrawn in February after previously being reduced from half hourly to hourly. At one point around 10-11 years ago the service operated every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday, with Stagecoach operating half hourly alongside Hornsby Travel.
Hornsby Travel spoke to the Scunthorpe Telegraph about the changes:
"Unfortunately there isn’t sufficient income on service 22 to pay for two buses and drivers for 20 hours a day. The number of houses in the Timberlands and Lakeside area is growing but the number of passengers travelling isn’t growing. Putting up fares by a large amount to meet the shortfall isn’t an option so instead we can provide one bus and driver on an hourly timetable, making sure the peak journeys to the colleges have a larger bus. This will be sustainable without council support."
"Mr Hornsby criticised developers of the Lakeside estate for a perceived failure to plan suitable bus routes as part of the development. He said ... "There is only one road suitable for a bus. All other roads in the estate do not have sufficient road space for a bus to have a circular route in it which would give the public better access to a bus service and potentially more passengers using the service. There are also metal fences around the various areas which results in people having to walk hundreds of meters to a bus stop when it may be just outside their door. The consultation on the Lakeside housing development with bus operators and consultants was a waste of time because we were ignored. Buses and bus passengers may not be the top item to design into any new development whether it is a housing estate or retain area but they have to be planned in first. If not they are almost impossible to build in later."
"Simon Usher, the managing director for Persimmon Homes Yorkshire, one of the major developers on the Lakeside estate, said: "The public transport policy for the development was comprehensively considered in partnership with the local authority at the time of the planning application process."
I'm not familiar with the area so can't comment on the design issues raised, but perhaps a good time to point out that North Lincolnshire Council are currently running a consultation on the Scunthorpe bus network that can be accessed here and an associated council report is available on this page. In summary the consultation is part of a Scunthorpe Bus Network Review which takes into account the following:
• "An analysis of bus passenger journeys in Scunthorpe using data held by bus operators
• An analysis of whether the current network met passenger and non-passenger needs and any potential changes that might improve connectivity for customers
• An understanding of future trends and developments
• Proposals to improve passenger journeys which would then hopefully result in an increase in passenger numbers
• Potential opportunities to increase the number of commercial services in Scunthorpe
• Information from passenger feedback, bus surveys and contacts made by local people in relation to the bus network.
The aim was to develop initial recommendations arising from the review by October 2017. The council and local bus operators would need to agree to any changes, with the aim of implementing from April 2018".
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