Sunday, 11 February 2018

More buses between Hull and Elloughton

Last Monday, 5th February, EYMS made some mostly positive changes to service 155 between Hull, Brough, Elloughton, South Cave, Howden and Goole.

The headline change is the doubling of the Monday to Saturday daytime frequency between Hull and Elloughton from every two hours to hourly. It is only four extra round trips (3 on Saturdays) but enough to make a big difference. This is particularly significant for parts of Hessle and the villages of Melton and Welton for whom the 155 is the main bus service. Combined with the X55, the frequency between Hull and Brough/Elloughton is now two buses an hour (as opposed to 1.5 per hour); departures from Elloughton are at half hourly intervals whilst from Hull are at 25 to 35 minute intervals. This is the best EYMS service since February 2012 when the frequency of the 155 was reduced from hourly. Service 155 takes 10 minutes longer in each direction between Hull and Brough/Elloughton which whilst notable is not enough to be unattractive compared to the X55.

One negative is the withdrawal of the Monday to Saturday 1718 Goole to Elloughton journey, with alternative departures from Goole remaining at 1543 or 1753. Within Goole service 155 will follow the X55 route, serving Pasture Road inbound to the town centre, and Oxford Road outbound.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

EYMS Hornsea Depot at risk of closure - 'Principal' services to continue

EYMS Press Release:

"East Yorkshire Motor Services has opened consultation with its staff to close its depot in Cliff Road Hornsea from Saturday 5 May 2018.

Falling revenue from East Riding of Yorkshire Council contracts & free concessionary travel reimbursement has required a significant reduction of costs, including the elimination of excess depot capacity.  Hornsea has been chosen for closure as its services can be run effectively from neighbouring depots in Hull & Beverley.

Should the closure go ahead after the consultation period, all the depot’s 27 drivers and engineers will be offered alternative work elsewhere in the company.

The depot’s principal services including the regular Services 240 & 246 to Hull, the Hornsea Town Service 550, Service 129 to Withernsea and Service 130 to Bridlington will continue to run, although there will be some timetable changes which will be announced closer to the implementation date."

Sunday, 28 January 2018

88 Goole to Thorne reduced to Rawcliffe Bridge shoppers bus

After operation on Saturday 3rd February, EYMS service 88 between Goole and Thorne will cease in it's current form. The route currently provides a Monday to Saturday daytime link between the two towns, via Rawcliffe, Rawcliffe Bridge and Moorends. The service operates every 90 minutes on weekdays and every 80 minutes on Saturdays, apart from a 2 hour 10 minute lunchtime gap. EYMS state the withdrawal is because "since taking over the service a couple of years ago after another operator withdrew from the route, there have not been enough people travelling to cover the costs of running the bus".

EYMS started the 88 in September 2015 when First truncated their Doncaster to Goole service at Moorends. In May last year the first and last round trips were withdrawn, before being partially reinstated on a trial basis in September.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council are stepping in to fund a limited replacement. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays one journey will operate from Rawcliffe Bridge to Goole at 0930, returning at 1230. EYMS will remain as the operator, and this ensures that Rawcliffe Bridge retains a bus service. If this revised 88 continues long term, maybe the route could be diverted via Airmyn and Hook which have limited bus services, or provide journeys to these villages in between Rawcliffe Bridge journeys?

As already mentioned, there is only one place on the 88 route that does not have an alternative service, Rawcliffe Bridge, population at the 2011 census: 837. Rawcliffe is served by Arriva's hourly Monday to Saturday daytime 400/401 route between Goole, Snaith and Selby (plus Thornes 488 into Goole on a Wednesday), whilst Moorends has frequent services into Thorne provided by First. In addition there is a hourly rail service between Goole and Thorne North station on the outskirts of Thorne. Put this together, and as disappointing as this change is, it starts to become a bit more understandable.

The uneven interval timetable probably didn't help either, especially on Saturdays. However in some ways it is a potential 'catch 22' situation. A 90 minutes frequency on Saturdays would need an extra driver, an hourly frequency any day of the week would need an extra vehicle and drivers on what is already a commercially challenging route, whilst an even interval two hourly frequency would have meant less journeys.

There is another factor potentially involved here. Until last April, East Riding of Yorkshire Council made a small 'de minimis' contribution to the 88 off 7p per passenger journey. (The consultation documents on the cuts gave an annual passenger figure of 45630 for the 88 and an average of 10 passengers per journey).

Monday, 1 January 2018

Humber Fastcat Evening Reductions

Back in early September, EYMS's Monday to Saturday evening roundtrip on the 350 Humber Fastcat - 1935 from Hull's Paragon Interchange to Scunthorpe and 2110 from Scunthorpe Bus Station back to Hull - narrowly survived withdrawal after North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) stepped in with funding to it operating. This was a late decision, with paper timetables having stapled inserts to explain as the timetable leaflet had already gone to print without these journeys. It was only a short reprieve however as they operated for the last time on Saturday 30th December due to NLC withdrawing their funding.

The 'backstory' starts last April and East Riding of Yorkshire Council's (ERYC) cuts to bus funding, which included their contribution to these journeys. Hull City Council (HCC) also withdrew their contribution to the 350 at the same time, though no details were given of what journeys were affected. Whatever journeys where affected, it made no difference to users at the time as no journeys were withdrawn in April - a situation that can't have been sustainable in EYMS's opinion hence the near withdrawal of their evening roundtrip in September until NLC stepped in. Whilst the loss of NLC funding is the direct reason for withdrawal now, the earlier loss of ERYC and possibly HCC funding are contributory factors to the journeys ending.

In ERYC's assessment of supported bus services 3928 annual passengers were noted for the roundtrip, an average of six per journey. Subsidy was 82p per passenger though in the balanced scorecard used to assess what to cut and what to keep it was penalised for being an 'urban evening' service and for having 'substantially similar' alternatives.

So what are those substantially similar alternatives? The 1935 filled a 115 minute gap in Stagecoach departures from Hull between 1825 and 2020, so in this particular direction the worse case scenario is a user having to catch a service 45 minutes later - not good news for those concerned but no one need be stranded. Between Hull and Barton there is also a 1910 Humber Flyer, which also provides the rail connection at Barton. I wonder if a consequence of this journey being introduced in March 2016 was to take some passengers that may have used EYMS's 350 journey previously? Improving one route but impacting another?

In the other direction, from Scunthorpe, substantially similar means the last departure is now one hour earlier, at 2010 which is the most significant aspect of this cut. Again between Barton and Hull the situation is better however as there is a later alternative with Stagecoach's 2255 Barton to Hull service.

If the information on the VOSA website is correct, EYMS's contribution to the 350 is now fully commercial (as is Stagecoach's).

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Hornsby 35 Timetable Change

Hornsby Travel service 35 between Scunthorpe, Gunness, Keadby and Amcotts, operated under contract to North Lincolnshire Council, has a new timetable from 2nd January. The service, which operates Monday to Saturday off peak daytimes, had been providing six journeys between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Amcotts, along with two Scunthorpe to Keadby 'shorts' (one on Saturdays), giving an overall frequency of every 55 to 80 minutes.

From Tuesday only four journeys will run to Amcotts, omitting the Queens Crescent area of Keadby, but there will be five Keadby shorts, that will serve the Queens Crescent area of the village. Combined there will be an hourly service from Scunthorpe Bus Station to Keadby Primary School. In the return direction services will be every 50 or 70 minutes from Keadby Primary School into Scunthorpe. 'Turnaround time' will be either 2 or 12 minutes at Scunthorpe Bus Station if the same vehicle is used on the service all day.

Winners and Losers with this timetable; the core section between Scunthorpe and Keadby Primary School gains an additional service each way and a far more memorable timetable, even allowing for the uneven interval going into Scunthorpe (at least it's the same repeating pattern every two hours). On the other hand Amcotts and the Queens Crescent areas of Keadby have a slightly reduced service.

Weekday peak services for Amcotts, Keadby and Gunness are provided by EYMS service 360, and residents of southern Keadby are within walking distance of Althorpe Station, which aside from an hourly rail service to/from Scunthorpe and Doncaster, is also served by Hornsby service 90 between Scunthorpe and Crowle (one journey to Luddington on Saturdays), EYMS service 361 between Scunthorpe, Crowle and Goole and Isle Coaches/Stagecoach service 399 between Scunthorpe and the Isle of Axholme; all the bus services mentioned also serve Gunness.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Stagecoach takeover service 60 from Hornsby

On January 2nd, Stagecoach takeover operation of North Lincolnshire Council tendered service 60 from Scunthorpe to various villages north of the town. The route has been operated by Hornsby since April 2012 when they took over from Stagecoach. Traveline East Midlands shows the timetable remains unaltered with the operator change. Monday to Friday six journeys operate between Scunthorpe and Whitton with two additional 'shorts' between Scunthorpe and Thealby; Saturdays have a slightly reduced frequency off five Whitton services and two Thealby 'shorts'.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Christmas and New Year Bus Services 2017/2018

Here is the annual round-up of Christmas and New Year bus services across the Humber region, covering Arriva Yorkshire, EYMS, First York, Hornsby Travel, Stagecoach, Transdev (York and Yorkshire Coastliner) and York Pullman. Services provided by these operators outside of the region are not covered. If anyone has information for other operators, please post a comment and I will update this post. Please check exact details before travelling as this is only a summary.

Christmas Eve - A normal Sunday service will be provided, but with an early evening finish around 1800-1900.
 
Christmas Day - No Services
 
Boxing Day - Limited daytime services on certain routes only in the Hull Area (the same provision as 2016):
 
EYMS:
34: Hull-Willerby - Hourly
56: Hull-Longhill-Asda Bilton - Hourly
64: Hull-Cottingham-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly
66: Hull-Hessle - Hourly
115: Hull-Avenues-Cottingham-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly (circular with 154)
154: Hull-Willerby-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly (circular with 115)
Stagecoach:
1: Hull-Boothferry Estate - Hourly
2: Hull-Boothferry Estate - Hourly
3: Orchard Park-Hull-Greatfield - Half Hourly
4: Orchard Park-Hull-Bilton Grange - Hourly
5: Hull-Orchard Park-Kingswood - Half Hourly
8: Hull-Sutton Park-North Point - Hourly
10: Hull-North Point-North Bransholme - Hourly
11: Hull-North Point-Kingswood - Hourly
12: Hull-North Point - Hourly
13: Hull-North Point - Hourly
14: Hull-Greatfield - Hourly
Plus Football Buses to/from the KC Stadium

Wednesday 27th - A Saturday service will be provided, except Hornsby Travel and York Pullman who will provide a normal Wednesday service. There are exceptions as follows:
  • EYMS services 124, 360 and 361 will operate a normal Wednesday service (service 124 is a Wednesday and Thursday only service)
  • EYMS service 64 will have an extra journey from Hull to Castle Hill Hospital at 0615, returning at 0701
  • EYMS Saturday only services Beverley Town Shopper Shuttle and Nightbus 106 will not operate.
  • EYMS Friday and Saturday evening only journeys on routes 18, 45, 46, 75, 121 and X47 shall not operate (i.e. a normal Wednesday evening service will operate)
  • Stagecoach service 25 in North East Lincolnshire will operate a normal Wednesday service (this ensures a peak time service is provided)
  • No Stagecoach Saturday night/Sunday early morning only 'N' prefixed services will operate in Hull (departures from Hull City Centre after 2330)
Thursday 28th - A Saturday service will be provided, except Hornsby Travel and York Pullman who will provide a normal Thursday service. There are exceptions as follows:
  • EYMS services 124, 134, 195, 196, 360 and 361 will operate a normal Thursday service (service 124 is a Wednesday and Thursday only service, services 134 and 195 are Tuesday and Thursday only services and service 196 is a Thursday only service)
  • EYMS service 135 will have normal Thursday departures from Driffield at 0910 and 1140, however the 0655 and 1710 journeys will not operate
  • EYMS service 64 will have an extra journey from Hull to Castle Hill Hospital at 0615, returning at 0701
  • EYMS Saturday only services Beverley Town Shopper Shuttle and Nightbus 106 will not operate, nor will Monday, Wednesday and Saturday only service 143.
  • EYMS Friday and Saturday evening only journeys on routes 18, 45, 46, 75, 121 and X47 shall not operate (i.e. a normal Thursday evening service will operate)
  • Stagecoach service 25 in North East Lincolnshire will operate a normal Thursday service
  • Stagecoach service 161 from Market Rasen to Scunthorpe Lakeside will operate a normal Thursday service (this is a Thursday only service)
  • No Stagecoach Saturday night/Sunday early morning only 'N' prefixed services will operate in Hull (departures from Hull City Centre after 2330)
Friday 29th - A Saturday service will be provided, except Hornsby Travel and York Pullman who will provide a normal Friday service. There are exceptions as follows:

  • EYMS services 198, 360 and 361 will operate a normal Friday service (service 198 is a Friday only service)
  • EYMS service 64 will have an extra journey from Hull to Castle Hill Hospital at 0615, returning at 0701
  • EYMS Saturday only services Beverley Town Shopper Shuttle and Nightbus 106 will not operate, nor will Monday, Wednesday and Saturday only service 143.
  • Stagecoach Service 25 in North East Lincolnshire will operate a normal Friday service
  • No Stagecoach Saturday night/Sunday early morning only 'N' prefixed services will operate in Hull (departures from Hull City Centre after 2330)
Saturday 30th - A normal Saturday service will be provided.

New Years Eve - A normal Sunday service will be provided, but with an early evening finish around 1800-1900.

New Years Day - No Services; last year’s services in the Hull area were in connection with the launch event for City of Culture.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Evening Peak 103 To End

In April Stagecoach reduced the 103 service between Scunthorpe and Kirton in Lindsey, including ending the afternoon peak service from Scunthorpe. In June North Lincolnshire Council stepped in with a directly operated 1730 departure from Scunthorpe on weekdays, however that will end after Friday 24th November, leaving the last departure from Scunthorpe as being at 1605 on college days or 1610 during college holidays. Call Connect is available for peak time passengers from Scunthorpe to Kirton, connecting from service 100 in Messingham or Scotter.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Stagecoach takeover Hessle Town Service

Already briefly mentioned, but just to confirm, Stagecoach takeover the 183 Hessle Town Service from Monday, 6th November. The 183 had been operated by Bus King. Stagecoach haven't put a timetable on their website, but according to Yorkshire Travel will maintain Bus King's timetable, providing an approximately half hourly service during the morning and early afternoon Monday to Saturday.

The 183 is tendered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) and is due to end in April 2018 due to funding cuts. ERYC's Review of Bus Services documentation shows the 183 has an average five passenger per journey and a subsidy of £3.29 per passenger journey. In the balanced scorecard used by ERYC to propose cuts, the 183 was one 'place' away from being retained beyond April 2018.

161 passes to Stagecoach

From next Thursday, 9th November, Brigg market day service 161 will pass from Dents Coaches to Stagecoach. The 161 runs a very convoluted route from Market Rasen via Caistor, North Kelsey and Bishop Norton to Brigg and Lakeside Retail Park on the edge of Scunthorpe, covering what in the past 2 or 3 separate services used to provide. Traveline East Midlands shows the service continues to depart Market Rasen at 0930, arriving in Brigg at 1105, but will now reach Lakeside at 1130 rather than 1150. The return journey will operate half an hour earlier, departing Lakeside at 1300 rather than 1330, and Brigg at 1315 rather than 1345.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

East Midlands Franchise Consultation

In many ways, it’s a bit late posting this, but it took me until almost the deadline to get it finished – below are my responses to some of the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation questions for the next East Midlands rail franchise, focusing on the bits relevant to the Humber region, primarily the Barton to Cleethorpes route. (I’ve reordered the questions to provide a better narrative to this post).

Would you like to see any other routes transferred to or from the East Midlands franchise? If so, which routes? (Q18)

The Barton Line should not be remapped into the East Midlands franchise. Whilst the current arrangements are not ideal, I feel they are the best, or at least, the least worst option (considering the split between the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises), and it is disappointing that retaining the status quo was never an option when the Northern and Transpennine Express (TPE) franchises were consulted on. There are various reasons why I feel the status quo is the most appropriate way forward for the Barton Line.

As much as the current operational arrangements limit the ability to swap trains between the Barton Line and other services, especially on weekdays and Summer Sundays, and the nearest maintenance depot for the Northern franchise is located at Neville Hill in Leeds, I fail to see how the East Midlands franchise will offer an improvement. The current East Midlands service from North East Lincolnshire to Lincoln runs predominately to/from Grimsby Town whereas the Barton Line service runs predominantly to/from Cleethorpes. Changes to these arrangements would be required to reduce the “operational isolation” from the rest of the East Midlands franchise that would allow for trains to be swapped between services during the day. If these involved more Barton Line services terminating at Grimsby Town this would be a retrograde step, reducing services at Grimsby Docks and New Clee, and reducing connectivity from other stations to Cleethorpes. Even if on the other hand more Lincoln services are extended from Grimsby Town to Cleethorpes, allowing integration with the Barton Line service at Cleethorpes, the nearest maintenance depot is in Nottingham, which is not much of an improvement on Northern’s Neville Hill depot. Unless the small TransPennine Express facility is used to maintain Barton Line trains, no franchise is going to be able to offer a quick response to train maintenance issues that occur during the day.

Another important aspect to operational issues are staffing arrangements for the Barton Line. While the use of TPE staff for a Northern service is not ideal, it does at least mean Cleethorpes based crew are used on the service. On one hand there appears to be no requirement for this arrangement to end under the East Midlands franchise, which would make no difference in handling service disruption compared to the current arrangements, and if it does end there is no requirement for the East Midlands franchise to set up a Cleethorpes (or Grimsby) crew depot. Should a new North East Lincolnshire crew depot be established it will mean two franchises each having their own small depot in the area, potentially increasing rail industry costs, especially if both depots are to be well enough staffed to deal with short notice staff sickness and service disruption. Your Northern/TransPennine consultation response document noted that with regards to the Barton Line “Several respondents stated that the service should be run by whoever is operating the adjacent services, taking a ‘no fragmentation’ approach. This would improve reliability, due to operators being more able to replace … unavailable staff”. Separate TPE and East Midlands crew depot at Cleethorpes would be the exact opposite of this. If a new crew depot is not established, and the TPE arrangement ends, the Barton Line would have to be operated from Lincoln crew depot, around one hour’s drive from Cleethorpes. This would be a very retrograde step in dealing with service disruption, and based on current service patterns would require a late night taxi back from Cleethorpes to Lincoln as the last Barton Line service arrives into Cleethorpes after the last North East Lincolnshire to Lincoln service departs. Current service patterns must not be eroded just to avoid crew taxis. There are no good options, and this can be traced back to the split between the Northern and TPE franchises. I do not see how operation of the Barton Line by the East Midlands franchise will deliver a better solution.

It is also hard to see how the current early morning service on the Barton Line can be provided by the East Midlands franchise as efficiently as is done by the Northern franchise. The current Barton Line timetable requires a second train first thing in the morning, and Northern currently provide this by then using the same unit on a Scunthorpe to Doncaster peak time service. There are no current East Midlands morning peak services into North East Lincolnshire which the early morning Barton Line service could be combined with, raising the prospect of service cuts, an additional train being required over and above the one Class 153 earmarked for transfer from Northern to East Midlands, or a return to using a TPE Class 185 on the Barton Line – an arrangement I understood ended on costs grounds. The proposed Barton Line franchise transfer also throws into doubt the future of the current early morning Northern Scunthorpe to Cleethorpes service.

The remapping proposal also takes no account of political/administrative geography. Both North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils, which are the two local authorities served by the Barton Line, are both going to be full members of Transport for the North and already participate in Rail North – however neither are in the East Midlands region and therefore neither participate in East Midlands Councils which appears to be taking the lead in working with the Department for Transport on the East Midlands franchise. The remapping takes a service wholly within the North of England (and Yorkshire and the Humber), and that can benefit from Rail North’s local involvement in the Northern franchise and places it in a franchise from a different region with nothing like as advanced local involvement as that in the Northern franchise. It is also interesting to note your Northern/TransPennine franchises consultation response document reported “comments were received from some LAs that supported the proposals to retain the route from Cleethorpes and Grimsby to Barton-on-Humber within the Northern franchise”.

Your Northern/TransPennine franchises consultation response document notes “the franchise [East Midlands] operates other local and regional services in Lincolnshire, and the route appears to fit better in its portfolio” as justification for the remapping. Neither North or North East Lincolnshire fall under the jurisdiction of Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) so any existing relationships between the East Midlands franchise and LCC are irrelevant, and as explained above significant changes, potentially negative changes, will be required to obtain operational integration with East Midlands franchise services in Lincolnshire.

It is also important to note that the Barton Cleethorpes Community Rail Partnership has close links with the Yorkshire Coast Community Rail Patnership, whose service remains operated by Northern Rail. These links include a shared community rail officer and plans for a DfT funded Cleethorpes to Scarborough Experience marketing project. Remapping The Barton Line to East Midlands franchise risks adding additional complexity and cost for the Community Rail Partnership and it’s projects with the involvement of an additional Train Operating Company it it’s work.
Regardless of the future operator of the Barton Line, Habrough station should be transferred to TPE management, with an increased number of TPE services calling at it. The station can serve as a parkway for the town and port of Immingham, and surrounding villages, and should be marketed as such. It should not be seen just as a local village station.

I am aware of a proposal from the North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership NNLCRP for a Nottingham to Cleethorpes via Worksop service which would replace the Saturday Northern Sheffield to Cleethorpes via Worksop service. Unfortunately I do not see envisage much demand from Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Habrough, Barnetby, Brigg, Kirton Lindsey or Gainsborough to the Robin Hood Line and Nottingham, and any demand from Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Habrough and Barnetby could be better met via Lincoln (see my response to question 9). The Brigg Line would be best served by an enhanced Sheffield service as part of the Northern franchise – a fourth Saturday service would be a good first step in building the case for restoring a 6 or 7 day a week service to this route. Service improvements could ‘piggyback’ on the new Sheffield to Retford Northern local service being introduced.

I also do not support NNLCRP’s proposal for the Doncaster to Scunthorpe service to transfer to the East Midlands franchise – the long term intention should be for this service to form a second hourly Cleethorpes to Doncaster service as part of the Northern or Transpennine Express franchises. [NNLCRP may not be the only organisation to suggest this, but they published their formal response including this suggestion online].

[Not strictly speaking related to the Humber Region but maybe off interest] I would also like to suggest transferring the Doncaster to Lincoln service to the Northern franchise, removing TOC overlap between Lincoln and Gainsborough Lea Road.

How could your local train services be changed to better meet your current and future needs? (Q9)

With regards to the Barton Line, whilst an hourly Monday to Saturday frequency should be the long term goal, current passenger numbers are unlikely to support this within the next few years so the focus should primarily be on marketing the existing service rather than significantly changing the service. This should be done with the aim of increasing passenger numbers to justify a frequency increase in the future. Provision of a reliable service is also paramount.

The times of current first services – 0559 from Cleethorpes, 0656/0658 from Barton – should not be moved later by more than a couple of minutes, nor the times of the current last services – 2104 from Cleethorpes, 2200 from Barton – be brought forward by more than a couple of minutes. I would recommend a requirement of first Monday to Saturday services from Cleethorpes no later than 0600 and from Barton no later than 0700, and a last service requirement from Cleethorpes of no earlier than 2100 and from Barton of no earlier than 2200. The current service pattern of approximately every two hours for the majority of the day Monday to Saturday should be retained, along with the current additional early morning service. There should be no further cutting back of services from Barton to Grimsby Town as opposed to Cleethorpes.

There are opportunities to ‘tweak’ the current service however:
  • Potentially operate the evening peak service from Cleethorpes/Grimsby Town slightly later to make it a better option for commuters, on weekdays this currently leaves Cleethorpes at 1655, serving Grimsby Town at 1704, which is early even for commuters who finish work in Grimsby Town Centre at 1700. Operating the 1655 anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes later would make the service more useful for workers, though this would leave a greater than two hour gap in the timetable before it and impact the later evening services. Such issues could be addressed by a future consultation but I do believe this idea is worth seeking stakeholder and public opinion on.
  • The current Summer Sunday service could be improved by an extended operating season and/or extra services. The current service runs from Mid May to early September, but this could be extended to start earlier, say at Easter and run to the end of September or October, or restored to an all year round service. The operation dates of the Cleethorpes to Lincoln Summer Sunday service must not be allowed to constrain the Barton Line Sunday service. The current Sunday service comprises four return services, but this could be increased to five or six providing extra flexibility for Sunday travellers.
I would also advocate these points being considered when considering any potential service changes:
  • Bus Links at Barton for Hull have become patchy in recent years, partly due to extra padding adding to the timetable between Barrow Haven and Barton to improve punctuality. Any opportunities to tweak the rail timetable to improve bus connections should be taken, recognising that the bus timetable has other requirements to fit around as well, such as the need to provide a reliable pre 0730 arrival into Hull which has seen the bus connection from 0559 Cleethorpes to Barton service lost.
  • Connections to TransPennine Express, Brigg Line and East Midlands Lincoln services could be improved at Habrough, although I would hesitate to place too much emphasis on this. While connecting flows could provide additional passengers for the Barton Line service, connections would be competing with users using cars to alternative railheads such as Barnetby, Brough and Doncaster, and from Barton with the excellent bus connections to Hull Station. Given this range of alternatives, while connections should be considered, the likely low volume of passengers they will generate means they should be a secondary consideration after the provision of a timetable to meet local demand between Barton and Cleethorpes.
  • Journey times are uncompetitive with the car, taking 53 minutes from Cleethorpes to Barton as compared to 34 minutes by car (taken from Google). In so far as the infrastructure allows, the Barton Line timetable needs to be as quick as possible without omitting stops, and longer term Network Rail needs to be funded to deliver infrastructure improvements to support quicker journey times.
New Years Day services should be retained, apart from early morning services. They provide a very useful public transport service on a day when no local bus services run. This is particularly important for the Barton Line which functions as a local rather than regional service. Boxing Day daytime services would also be welcome.
 
Another service I wish to briefly comment on is the Grimsby to Lincoln service. This service needs more capacity and the long term aim should be an hourly Cleethorpes to Lincoln and beyond service. If London connections could be provided at Lincoln then the service could run to Nottingham, and potentially Birmingham (dependent on any future franchise remapping), rather than Newark Northgate. Cleethorpes, Grimsby Town, Habrough and Barnetby also have London connections via Doncaster, so the London connection requirement is primarily for Market Rasen passengers.
 
What additional services would you wish to see provided in the next franchise? (Q10)
 
Please see my response to question 9.
 
I am very disappointed to see that the North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire Community Rail Partnership (NNLCRP) have used their response to the consultation to call for the closure of New Clee station. This station is located close to part of Grimsby Docks and better promotion of the station should be attempted before closure should be considered.
 
Unfortunately I also feel necessary to disagree with the NNLCRP’s call for a Doncaster to Barton service. I do not feel that such a service would be competitive with the option of driving to Doncaster, Barnetby or Brough to catch longer distance services, or with the excellent bus links from Barton to Hull station. Such a service would have an uncompetitive journey time with road and bus alternatives and risks damaging the long term service provision on the Barton Line as if it was introduced and failed, the Barton Line risks being seen as an unviable route. As explained in question 9 the focus for the Barton Line needs to be on marketing the existing local service – it’s best future is as a high quality reliable local route between Barton and Cleethorpes.
 
What are the particular services, routes and times of day when you think additional seats for passengers are most needed? (Q6)
 
I only have experience of the Barton Line, which only needs additional seats during local events such as the Armed Forces Event in Cleethorpes, Cleethorpes Carnival and Barton Bike Night. Services on the Barton Line should be operated by two vehicle trains at these times. I am however also aware that the Grimsby to Lincoln service is in need off more capacity through increased frequency and/or longer trains.

Monday, 30 October 2017

EYMS takeover 270 and 502

Bus King are giving up three of their five local bus routes in East Yorkshire this coming weekend. The Hessle Town Service is passing to Stagecoach although they have not yet announced this or released a timetable on their website. Meanwhile EYMS are taking over services 270 and 502 from Monday 6th November operating to their current timetables.

Service 270 provides a solitary Monday to Friday evening peak departure from Driffield to Beeford via Nafferton, Wansford and North Frodingham, leaving Driffield George Street at 1710; on schooldays it also serves Driffield School. Nafferton is otherwise served by EYMS's far more frequent 45/46 and 121 services, while Wansford, North Frodingham and Beeford are otherwise served by Bus King's approximately three hourly 136, which for Driffield commuters offers 0719 or 0939 arrivals as the morning peak priority on this service is to serve Bridlington instead. I presume the 270's main flow is school children attending after school activities, and maybe some afternoon Driffield shoppers?

EYMS had been operating the 270 until September 2013 and their return to the route may be short lived as it is due to have it's East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) funding withdrawn in April 2018. The service has an average five passengers per journey at a subsidy of £8.03 per passenger according to ERYC's 2016 Review of Bus Services documentation.

Service 502 provides a Monday to Friday weekday evening peak and Monday to Saturday evening service between Bridlington, Flamborough, Bempton and Buckton. Services depart Bridlington Bus Station at 1715 (Not Saturday), 1905, 2005, 2105 and 2300, and Buckton at 1933, 2033 and 2133.

For Flamborough the 1715 fits in between the 1655 and 1755 EYMS service 510 departures from Bridlington Bus Station, with the evening service nicely following on from that final 1755 departure. From Flamborough Dog and Duck into Bridlington the final 510 is at 1825 with the first 502 at 1944. The situation for Bempton and Buckton is a bit different however - EYMS Bridlington town service 504 provides the Monday to Saturday daytime service to these villages, but the 504 only operates off peak. This means the 502 has no equivalent morning peak service from Bempton and Buckton, and on Saturdays there is a rather large gap in departures from Bridlington between between 1630 and 1905 and Monday to Saturday from Bempton between 1650 and 1935. Bempton does also have a railway station.

The 502, despite being primarily an evening service, is not due to have its ERYC council funding withdrawn; in the balanced scorecard used by ERYC it missed the 'chop' by one place. It carries on average five passengers per journey at a cost of £3.08 per passenger journey. Bus King have been operating the service since September 2013 when they took over from TD Travel, who in turn took over from EYMS in April 2011.

Bus King are, as far as I can tell, going to continue to operate the Monday to Saturday 136 between Driffield and Bridlington and the Monday to Friday 530 Driffield Town Service.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Further Cuts to the 22

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".

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Later Acklams 142 on Schooldays

On 5th September, Acklams Coaches added an extra journey to their service 142 - a new 1710 departure operates on schooldays from Beverley Bus Station to Molescroft, Cherry Burton, Etton and back to Beverley - the previous last Acklams service was at 1500 with a later EYMS journey at 1535. The extra journey comes after requests from Cherry Burton residents, and it is good to see Acklams Coaches responding to these requests.

If the new journey is successful it could also operate during school holidays (last bus from Beverley 1500) and on Saturdays (EYMS have a 142 departure at 1600). I guess the current schoolday only operation is based around using a vehicle and/or driver that has just finished a school run?

Friday, 29 September 2017

Service 398 was to have been withdrawn

Catching up with something that happened over the Summer - Stagecoach cancelled their 398 Tuesday Only Belton to Gainsborough 'shopper' service registration with VOSA. The 398 links parts of the Isle of Axholme to Gainsborough on market day, routing via Nottinghamshire, departing Belton at 0945 and returning from Gainsborough at 1310. Somewhat surprisingly to me, the cancelled VOSA registration (PB0001484/190) had it recorded as a commercial service - Stagecoach's only other public service on the Isle of Axholme is an evening peak tendered service on the 399 from Scunthorpe to Westwoodside.

In the end it seems North Lincolnshire Council stepped in with funding and the 398 was reregistered to the same timetable:

PB0001484/362
LINCOLNSHIRE ROAD CAR CO LTD, WARNEFORD HOUSE, RUNCORN ROAD, LINCOLN, LN6 3QP
 
From: Belton To: Gainsborough Via: Name or No.: GA_398 / 398 Service type: Normal Stopping Effective date: 04 September 2017 Other details: To reinstate route following Council request. Supported by Helen Reek of North Lincolnshire Council. Hail and ride on all sections where traffic and safety conditions allow.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

9a back to East Hull Only

Back in April Stagecoach extended Monday to Saturday hourly daytime East Hull service 9a to the Bricknell Estate in West Hull, routing via the Avenues and Inglemire Lane. On Monday 4th September the 9a once again became an East Hull only service. The Bricknell Estate gains a quicker, more direct, link into Hull City Centre as a replacement - the 3b - and the Avenues are already well served.

Fairfax Avenue once again becomes unserved while Inglemire Lane goes from a half hourly off peak daytime service (service 9/9a combined)/less frequent in the peaks to just hourly off peak on the 9. Until April Inglemire Lane was unserved apart from the university term time only nightbus 107. The evening service has also been reduced to Inglemire Lane on the U5. Looks like Stagecoach's experiment here hasn't worked out as planned - trying a service enhancement around the University and new Halls of Residence mostly during holidays on one hand perhaps isn't the best time to do something new, but on the other hand when the 9a and to an extent the U5 are integrated into the main network, they really need to be sustainable when there are no students.

Looking back at this years changes I do think the old 9 routing in West Hull via the Bricknell Estate to Cottingham had considerable advantages, giving both the Hull and East Riding parts of the Bricknell Estate a direct service into Hull, as well as providing through links from Chanterlands Avenue and the Bricknell Estate to Cottingham and Castle Hill Hospital. I don't know what punctuality was like on the old 9, nor financial performance, and East Riding of Yorkshire Council withdrew their financial contribution in April, but from my outsiders view (maybe too outside) it seems the old 9 was the best solution. If Inglemire Lane can justify a service then maybe a stand alone service could be provided, perhaps reinstating a Beverley Road to Newland Avenue link at the same time, and/or restoring a service to Oldstead Avenue, the western part of Greenwood Avenue and the southern part of Ellerburn Avenue?

Crayons away, there are some other changes to the 9 and 9a timetables. On weekdays there is a new 0920 9a from Paragon Interchange to North Point, filling a 90 minute gap in the 9a between 0850 and 1020, and an hour's gap in the combined 9/9a between 0850 and 0950. The 1500 service from Cottingham on Saturdays now extends beyond James Reckitt Avenue to North Point, whilst the final service 9 of the day Monday to Saturday from Paragon Interchange at 1850 is withdrawn, with the last service now at 1820. In the opposite direction from North Point the 1555 9a is withdrawn, with the last 9a now at 1455 and creating a 90 minute gap in the combined 9/9a between 1530 and 1700 on weekdays; on Saturdays the 1700 service 9 from North Point to Paragon Interchange is replaced by 1630 and 1730 departures maintaining an hourly frequency all afternoon.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Stagecoach 5/U5 Evening Changes

As part of Stagecoach's service changes in Hull on 4th September, the Monday to Saturday evening service on the 5/U5 routes between Hull City Centre, the Avenues, Orchard Park and Kingswood was revised.

Starting with weekdays, the previous arrangement was a half hourly 5 from Hull Old Town to Kingswood, and a half hourly U5 from Hull Old Town to the Hall Road/Endike Lane roundabout, via Inglemire Lane. This has now changed to a half hourly 5 between Paragon Interchange and Kingswood (two journeys still start back from the Old Town), supplemented by a half hourly U5 from Hull Old Town to Kingswood in the early evening only (last departure 2015 from Kingswood, 2030 from Hull Old Town).

These changes are an improvement for Hall Road which now has four buses an hour to/from Hull City Centre in the early evening combined with the 3, and for northern parts of Orchard Park and Kingswood which regain a quarter hourly early evening service 5/U5. It does however reduce the late evening Stagecoach frequency in the Avenues from quarter to half hourly, whilst Inglemire Lane's last bus is now 2040 from Paragon Interchange as opposed to 2335.

On Saturdays the 5 had been operating half hourly between Hull Old Town and Kingswood, as on weekdays, with the U5 operating every 10-20 minutes between Hull Old Town and the Hall Road/Endike Lane roundabout to give a service every 10 minutes between Hull Old Town and the Avenues. This has now been changed to a half hourly service 5 between Paragon Interchange and Kingswood (the last journey still starts in Hull Old Town) and a half hourly U5 between Hull Old Town and Kingswood, but unlike on weekdays, the Saturday U5 operates all evening.

As on weekdays this is great news for Hall Road, northern parts of Orchard Park and Kingswood while the Avenues area and Inglemire Lane see a reduction in services though.

Late buses are cut back on Saturday's, now 2330 last bus rather than 0030 from Kingswood, and 2320 from Hull Old Town/2330 Paragon Interchange rather than 2330 from Hull Old Town or 0055 from Hull Truck Theatre. The new N125 provides a partial replacement for the Avenues and northern part of Beverley Road.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Nightbus to and from Beverley

As well as the N62 to North Ferriby, Brough and Elloughton, Stagecoach's other new nightbus service from Hull into the East Riding of Yorkshire this September is the N125 to Beverley. The N125 runs from Monument Bridge in Hull City Centre via Ferensway, Princes, Newland and Cranbrook Avenues, then right onto Greenwood Avenue and up Beverley Road to Dunswell, Woodmansey and Beverley Bus Station. Journeys into Beverley route via Swinemoor Lane and Hull Bridge Road, while the outbound route appears to be the quicker option via Flemingate (see simpli after dark map).

The N125 runs on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and has three departures from Monument Bridge, at 2320, 2350 and 0050, with the 2320 also serving Paragon Interchange. There is one solitary service back from Beverley at 0015 to Ferensway, which is probably just an in service positioning journey, but maybe useful for anyone wanting a Saturday night out in Beverley, or needing to travel from the Avenues into Hull City Centre for a connecting service.

The 2320 is an entirely new journey, however the 2350 and 0050 act as partial replacements for service 5 journeys from Hull Guildhall at 2355 and 0055; the N125 serves the Avenues and parts of Beverley Road as the 5 does, but not the Orchard Park Estate, aside from Tesco on Beverley Road, or Kingswood. This 'tactic' of 'piggybacking' a new nightbus service onto an existing service was also used for the N62, and reduces the amount of new mileage involved - the 2350 and 0050 are only 'new' north of the A1079/A1033/A1174 roundabout.

The last EYMS service from Hull to Beverley is at 2300, so no overlap between EYMS and Stagecoach in this direction, although from Beverley to Hull EYMS have a 0024 service.

Hopefully the N125 does well, serving both Hull City Centre and the Avenues area of nightlife should help. Again like the N62, the N125 is trying to tap into Hull's growing evening/night-time economy, but like the N62 it also faces the promotional challenge of Beverley, Woodmandsey and Dunswell not being significant Stagecoach operating territory, and there are no services from these locations to the Avenues so passengers would need to connect or walk from Beverley Road on their inbound journey.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Stagecoach N11 (and 11 changes)

As part of Stagecoach's changes to services in Hull on Monday 4th September, service 11 between Paragon Interchange, Holderness Road, North Point and Kingswood has been revised. Evening times have been changed to improve co-ordination with other services and there are some notable changes to very late services.

From Kingswood the final two weekday services at 2310 and 2340 have been replaced by a single 2335 service, 50 minutes after the previous journey at 2245. On Saturdays the half hourly evening frequency from Kingswood continues until 2345, but the 0022 from Kingswood Leisure Park has been withdrawn.

From Hull City Centre the previous 0000, 0030 and 0100 service 11's from Hull Truck Theatre on Saturday night/Sunday morning have been replaced by two service N11's at 0000 and 0100. The new 'N' prefix is needed as these journeys now deviate significantly from the standard 11 route. After serving Lowgate in Hull's Old Town they follow the 11 route up part off Holderness Road, before using the 12 route via Summergangs Road and Gillshill Road. Then it's along Ings Road, served only by the 9 and 677 and otherwise unserved Savoy Road to rejoin the standard 11 route via Bellfield Avenue and Spring Cottage. After Spring Cottage the service routes via Wawne Road, otherwise covered by the 9a and 12 before routing via the residential areas of Kingswood to terminate at Kingswood Retail Park.

The new N11 route seems to be an attempt to maximise how much of East Hull can be served by one route, without being too long for residents at the far end of the route in Kingswood. It's not as simple as largely just following the standard 11 route as before, but more people get a chance to have a nightbus service. Parts of Holderness Road previously served by the 11 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning are now covered by the N4.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Service 13 Start/End of Day Reductions

As part of last Monday's (4th September) changes by Stagecoach to services in Hull, service 13 saw some reductions at the start and end of the day - it continues to provide a half hourly daily daytime service between Hull Paragon Interchange, Salthouse Road and North Point, extending to Orchard Park on weekdays.

The 13W variant has been withdrawn - this operated twice on weekday mornings 'clockwise' from Paragon Interchange via Chanterlands Avenue to Orchard Park and the main service 13 route back to Paragon Interchange, and once anti-clockwise in the evening. The main purpose seemed to be links to Wilberforce College. Now however these services operate as standard 13's between Orchard Park, North Point and Paragon Interchange only.

In the weekday morning peak the 0650, 0720, 0750 and 0824 from Paragon Interchange have become three departures at 0710, 0740 and 0810. The last weekday journeys each way in the evening, at 1808 from Orchard Park and 1840 from Paragon Interchange to North Point are withdrawn, with last services now half an hour earlier in each direction. On Saturdays the last two services from Paragon Interchange to North Point, at 1824 and 1840 have been withdrawn, with the last departure at 1755. On Sundays first departure from Paragon Interchange becomes 0940 instead off 0845, and last departure 1740 rather than 1815; from North Point the last departure is now 1645 rather than 1718.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Some Park and Ride Journeys back via the A63

Last Monday - 4th September - Stagecoach partially reversed a change they had made in April to Hull's Priory Park Park and Ride service. In April the service was routed away from the A63 to instead operate into the City Centre via Hessle Road, Askew Avenue, Boothferry Road and Anlaby Road. Now alternate weekday peaktime journeys will resume operating via the A63, providing a 20 minute frequency via the A63 and a 20 minutes frequency via Askew Avenue, where all stops are served. Within Hull City Centre, morning journeys via the A63 will operate via Carr Lane and Queens Dock Avenue rather than via Hull Truck Theatre, Albion Street and Bond Street.

The 3, 3a, 3b, 4 and N4

Monday's changes (4th September) by Stagecoach to their Hull network included 'cross city' service 3 and 4, and new services 3a, 3b and N4. The 3 and 4 link Orchard Park, Hull City Centre and Greatfield/Bilton Grange, but via different routes between the three locations, and operate as a circular at both ends of the route.

On service 4 there are two new weekday journeys from Paragon Interchange to Bilton Grange at 0430 and 0500, current first service at 0530, and four new weekday journeys from Paragon Interchange to Orchard Park at 0440, 0510, 0540 and 0610, current first journey at 0625. As a result the first two weekday service 3's from Greatfield no longer start back at Marfleet Lane and the first four weekday service 3's no long start back at Greenwood Avenue - service 4 now covers these extensions. Other early morning improvements see the first four weekday service 3's from Orchard Park now operating through to Greatfield. This means the first departure for Greatfield from Paragon Interchange is now at 0537 rather than 0657. Additionally the 0600 service 3 from Greatfield to Paragon Interchange on weekdays now extends to Orchard Park, providing a 30 minute earlier first service from central Hull.

On Saturday's the first three departures from Greatfield on service 3 also no longer start back on Marfleet Lane but only the latter of these services seems to be covered by a slightly retimed first service 4 of the day. The first three Greatfield departures on service 3 do now however operate through to Orchard Park on Saturdays now, rather than a connection being required for cross city travel at Paragon Interchange.

Both service 3 and 4 have timing changes throughout the day. The last service 3 from Greatfield to Orchard Park is now split at Paragon Interchange so that it continues to depart to West Hull at 2330. On service 4 the 2300 from Bilton Grange to Orchard Park now only operates between Paragon Interchange and Orchard Park on weekdays, last Bilton Grange departure becomes 2230.

The other big change is very late evening, with new service N4 introduced from Hull City Centre via Holderness Road to Diadem Grove (so omitting Marfleet Lane as served by service 4) then around Bilton Grange and extending into Greatfield and onto Preston Road. There will be a 2330 departure from Hull Interchange Monday to Saturday and then extra journeys at 0000, 0030 and 0100 on Saturday night/Sunday morning from Hull Truck Theatre. These journeys replace the previous service 3 departures from Hull Truck Theatre to Greatfield and onto Bilton Grange and Marfleet Lane at 0000 and 0100 on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

The N4 seems to be in part about covering the diversion of the 11's nightbus journeys away from parts of Holderness Road as otherwise it would make more sense to use the route of service 3's previous nightbuses and provide a quick journey to Preston Road/Greatfield without compromising travel time to Bilton Grange too much. The end result is a slight increase in the nightbus provision however which is welcome to see.

Finally to the 3a and 3b, which replace the 9a in providing a service to Bricknell Avenue Estate - the 9a will no longer operate in West Hull. Back in April the Bricknell Avenue Estate saw service 9 replaced with a longer routing into Hull City Centre on service 9a. Now the direct route into Hull City Centre via Chanterlands Avenue that service 9 used to use, is brought back - service 3b will provide a simple Paragon Interchange-Chanterlands Avenue-Bricknell Avenue-Burnsiton Road-Grammar School Road-Bricknell Avenue-Chanterlands Avenue-Paragon Interchange loop every hour Monday to Saturday daytimes (with one two hour gap on weekday mornings). A single service 3a operates from Paragon Interchange in the evening peak, extending to Orchard Park after serving the Bricknell Avenue estate. The change does mean Fairfax Avenue becomes unserved again but otherwise it seems like a far better service than what the 9a was providing.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Kingswood Service 6 Small Reductions

Back in April, Stagecoach introduced a new 2330 journey on service 6 Monday to Saturday from Hull Paragon Interchange to Kingsbury Way, Kingswood, on a route which otherwise has no evening service - service 7 being the main evening service to most off Kingswood. From today (Monday 4th September), the 2330 will no longer operate on weekdays, but will continue to do so on Saturdays.

The last three journeys from Kingswood are also withdrawn Monday to Saturday, at 1820, 1850 and 1920 from Kingsbury Way, but there is a new 1900 departure on Saturdays only. Again these now withdrawn journeys were only introduced in April, and service 7 provides an alternative for Kingswood travellers heading into Hull City Centre, and to Kingswood Retail Park and Beverley Road, at these times.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

New N62 nightbus to North Ferriby and Brough

Not sure if it started yesterday - the 2nd - or next week - the 9th - but North Ferriby and Brough have gained/are gaining a new Saturday nightbus service. (The VOSA registration is effective the 2nd, but the details are listed on the Stagecoach website under changes being introduced from Monday 4th).

Stagecoach are incorporating their current late Saturday night/early Sunday morning services on service 2 between Hull City Centre, Boothferry Estate and Hessle into new service N62 between Hull City Centre, Boothferry Estate, Hessle, North Ferriby and Brough (Elloughton Road) - the N62 number 'ties in' with their X62 service between Hull and Leeds via Brough and North Ferriby. The N62 will operate from Hull Paragon Interchange at 2330, replacing the previous service 2 at 2325 from the Interchange to the Boothferry Estate, and then from Hull Truck Theatre on Ferensway at 2400 and 0100, replacing previous service 2 departures to Hessle at the same time.

Currently the last service from Paragon Interchange to North Ferriby and Brough is on service 153 at 2255. North Ferriby and Brough have a sparse evening service from Hull - the 155 from Hull at 1800 (commercial) and 1950 (subsidised) and then the 2255 153 (subsidised), so the N62 means there will be as many departures from Hull City Centre between 2300 and 0100 as there will be between 1800 and 2300! (There is an evening rail service as well). For Hessle there is currently a gap between the 2305 57 from Carr Lane and the 0000 service 2, which the 2330 N62 will nicely fill.

Single fares will be £1.80 within Hull, £2 to Hessle, £3 to North Ferriby and £4 to Brough.

It will be very interesting to see how the new N62 does; incorporating the established Hull to Hessle section should help leaving only the Hessle to Brough section as 'new' mileage. The City of Culture and Hull's growing evening/night-time economy will hopefully kick start and sustain the N62. Brough is also seeing significant new housing development. On the other hand three services within 90 minutes all the way to Brough is a bold start, especially given the minimal current evening service. Additionally neither North Ferriby or Brough are major Stagecoach operating areas, so beyond any X62 users there is no existing Stagecoach customer base to target - it will mostly need to be 'new to Stagecoach' customers. I would wonder how EYMS will react but given the sparse, partly subsidised, existing evening service I doubt they will be bothered so long as a nightbus is the extent of Stagecoach's ambitions in the area, as it has been in Hessle (except Boothferry Road).

It seems that Stagecoach are missing out the villages of Melton and Welton which will mean slightly quicker journey times to Brough, although at that time of night I suspect the time saving will be very small. It also seems that Elloughton won't be served, even though the N62 could easily extend there before running back to Hull. Another idea could be to extend at least the last departure to South Cave (and maybe even beyond) on a request basis. Credit though to Stagecoach for trying something out and I hope it works out for them and supports Hull's night time economy.

The new N62 seems to return empty from Brough to Hull, so the Sunday morning 0025 service 2 from Hessle to Hull has been withdrawn. Also, as a consequence of the 2325 service 2 becoming a N62 extending to Brough, the final service 1 departure from Boothferry Estate to Hull at 2350 is withdrawn on Saturdays only, with the last service now at 2320.

Also on service 1, the weekday 2210 from Boothferry Estate now operates as a standard 1, rather than a 1W via Smith and Nephew, while the final 2315 departure from Paragon Interchange Monday to Saturday moves to 2330 - Stagecoach are trying to standardise last Monday to Saturday departures from Paragon Interchange at 2330, which also sees the weekday service 2 from the Interchange to Boothferry Estate at 2325 depart 5 minutes later.

EDIT - If you search for the N62 timetable as opposed to using the link in the service change announcement on the Stagecoach website, a different format timetable is shown, which indicates the N62 terminates in Elloughton Main Street, not Brough Elloughton Road.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Humber Fastcat and Flyer Changes

From Sunday 3rd September for EYMS journeys, and Monday 4th September for Stagecoach journeys, the 350 Humber Fastcat between Hull, Barton and Scunthorpe is changing - as is Stagecoach's Humber Flyer between Hull, Barton, Humberside Airport, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Sadly the 'headline' change to the Humber Fastcat isn't positive, although no journeys are withdrawn. Monday to Saturday journeys departing Hull's Paragon Interchange between 0840 and 1610 will no longer serve the City Centre Loop, instead departing the Interchange for Anlaby Road via Park Street. This means during these times the only City Centre stop will be the Interchange - the useful Carr Lane stop as well as the stop opposite the station on Anlaby Road will no longer be served. For anyone visiting or working in the Old Town area of Hull City Centre, or Princes Quay, it will mean a long walk (or catch another bus) to the Interchange. The Carr Lane stop can also be useful when connecting off another service that operates inbound via Carr Lane before the Interchange - when at university changing at Carr Lane often got me home half an hour earlier.

EYMS put this change down to congestion. It is perhaps worth explaining the operation of the 350. The route works Monday to Saturday daytimes on the basis of 6 vehicles, able to complete a round trip within 3 hours. The April timetable change to improve punctuality 'used up' all the 'slack' in the timetable, and if that hasn't worked either the route needs shortening or extra 'resource' added to the route. Aside from the costs involved with extra 'resource', the 350 is split between 2 operators, one of which, EYMS, only runs every 3 hours, and 3 different depots as Stagecoach split their workings between Hull and Scunthorpe to reduce dead mileage at the start/end of the day. Adding an extra vehicle into a joint service to give a 3 and a half hour round trip per vehicle could mean EYMS no longer operate popular journeys, whilst interworking with other routes that may have 'excess layover time' (if any exist) would be hard to organise under these circumstances - plus the vehicles are in a dedicated livery.

So extra 'resource' isn't practical, which leaves shortening the route. The loop around Barton is needed to serve the eastern part of the town. Winteringham could maybe be omitted on alternate journeys, but I don't know the specifics of usage there. Frodingham Road in Scunthorpe could also maybe omitted on alternate journeys, running to Scunthorpe Bus Station direct via Brigg Road, but Frodingham Road is a busy residential area and the route also serves the far end of Scunthorpe Town Centre. The Hull City Centre loop is the easiest way to shorten the route sadly. I don't like this change, but I can understand it.

Anlaby Road in Hull does have bus lanes, but at peak times only. The Humber Fastcat seems to be most affected by congestion off-peak, or at least that is when it is hardest to 'work around' it, and I did have a rather long trip on a Park and Ride bus down Anlaby Road one Friday lunchtime. Could there be a case for bus lanes being in operation Monday to Saturday daytimes as well?

Early morning, peak time, evening and Sunday journeys continue to use the City Centre loop in Hull - these are times when either the standard half hourly timetable isn't followed, or when traffic is lighter. The loop also gains an additional stop on Bond Street, which is handy for the Hull New Theatre - services had previously run via Albion Street/Bond Street without stopping, unlike all other Anlaby Road services using the City Centre loop, so this anomaly is now 'corrected'.

When EYMS first announced the changes, they said their evening journeys Monday to Saturday at 1925 from Hull and 2110 from Scunthorpe would be withdrawn due to funding changes by North Lincolnshire Council. East Riding of Yorkshire Council withdrew their financial contribution at the start of April. This would have left a near two hour gap in departures from Hull between 1825 and 2020 (the Humber Flyer does run to Barton at 1910), while the last departure from Scunthorpe would have been one hour earlier at 2010 (Barton to Hull does have a later service). "Following a last minute change of heart by North Lincolnshire Council" however the evening journeys are retained, with the 1925 from Hull retimed to 1935 as the inbound service from Scunthorpe now arrives later. This is welcome news, and there can't be many places in the country these days which are getting council funded evening services to fill gaps in commercially provided evening timetables that do provide alternative travel options an hour earlier (or later in some cases).

Many journeys, particularly departing Hull, have minor timing changes. Train connections from Hull to Barton throughout much of the day are improved, with the daytime :10 past from Hull now connecting with trains, rather than having to use the Humber Flyer 20 minutes earlier (the Humber Flyer is still the best connection for a couple of trains). Sunday departures from Ashby are standardised at :55 minutes past the hour, with standardised intermediate timings reintroduced across EYMS and Stagecoach journeys in this direction only.

Finally on the Humber Fastcat, I will copy and paste what Stagecoach have put on their online announcement of the changes: "Don't forget your later journeys home from Hull to Barton Monday to Saturday evenings leaving Hull Interchange at 2220 and 2330." (It would be a shame if these were withdrawn).

Turning to the Humber Flyer, it too will depart Hull's Paragon Interchange for Anlaby Road via Park Street, but on all journeys - this seems to be to allow for extended running times as far as Barton, with consequential retimings over the rest of the route. The Humber Flyer has been departing Paragon Interchange via Ferensway, Spencer Street, Brook Street and Ferensway again onto Anlaby Road and in that time only served one stop on Anlaby Road opposite the station. The re-routing removes one service an hour from congested Ferensway and 'busy with pedestrians' Brook Street, so the loss of a stop very close to the Interchange on Anlaby Road seems an acceptable trade off. The increase in running times to Barton could also not have been realistically accommodated without shortening the route.

It's not being advertised but one benefit of the Humber Fastcat/Flyer re-routing is that there are now 3 direct buses an hour from Paragon Interchange to Hull Royal Infirmary, not using the City Centre loop.

Blog post on April 350 Humber Fastcat Changes

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Stagecoach in Hull Future Developments

Route One magazine has an interview with Stagecoach's Hull Operations Manager, and it includes this interesting comment

"Working with the commercial team is a totally new experience for me. We’re just in the process of developing a new network and introducing late evening services into the East Riding, and that’s all because of the evening economy in Hull is changing off the back of the City of Culture."

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Extra 88's - On a Trial Basis

In May EYMS cancelled the first and last weekday round trips between Goole and Thorne on service 88, due to low use. This comprised the 0725 and 1740 from Goole, and 0806 and 1820 from Thorne. From Monday 4th September this change is partially reversed, on a trial basis. There will be a new 0810 Thorne to Goole (current first departure 0930), and a 1710 Goole to Thorne (current last departure 1620).

Sunday, 2 July 2017

York Pullman 36/X36 Enhancements

From Monday 24th July, York Pullman services 36 and X36 have two small but welcome changes.

On a Saturday the first and last journeys from Sutton upon Derwent will start back in the East Riding village of Melbourne, at 0835 and 1625, and the last journey from York at 1515 will extend from Sutton upon Derwent to Melbourne. This reinstates a through shopping link from Melbourne to York that was lost in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council bus funding cuts at the start of April. Melbourne had enjoyed such a service on Wednesdays and Saturdays via EYMS service 195, and on Tuesday afternoons by catching the EYMS 195 into York and returning on York Pullman's peak time X36. However since the cuts, the only shopping link to/from York has been on a Thursday and requires a change of bus from service 195 to service 196 en-route.

During the school summer holidays, some weekday journeys are also being diverted via York Maze, with consequential minor retimings as a result.

Summer timetable.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Scheduled CallConnect replacement for Saturday 260

Good news to report, relative to the original announcment. As already reported the Saturday service on the 260 Villager from Goxhill, New Holland and Barrow into Barton is sadly operating for the last time today. Originally the alternatives were to be the existing demand responsive CallConnect service, the 450 from Barrow or the train from Goxhill and New Holland. Now though it has been announced that a 'scheduled' CallConnect service will operate on Saturday mornings.
From 3 July 2017 the Barton Villager Saturday service will no longer operate.  Passengers can use the CallConnect service.  There will be a scheduled CallConnect journey from the villages into Barton at 0900 and a return from Barton at 1130.  The CallConnect service can be booked for journeys at other times on a Saturday.
I presume the vehicle usually used for the standard demand responsive CallConnect service will be used for this new scheduled service. Traveline East Midlands shows a 0900 departure from Goxhill to Barton Tesco via New Holland, Barrow St Chad, Barrow Market Place, Barton Market Place and Barton Station, arriving at Tesco at 0940, with a 1130 return from Tesco. This provides a basic Saturday morning 'shopping' service without the need to register and ring up in advance to use the demand responsive CallConnect service. Keeping the 260 'as is' would obviously be a better option, but it is better than what was initially announced.

The new scheduled journey is also well timed to compliment the 450, with the new scheduled departure leaving Barrow Market Place at 0925 before the 450 at 1010. Leaving Barton Station the scheduled CallConnect service departs at 1133 before the 450 at 1215.

CallConnect in North Lincolnshire is operated by Hornsby Travel.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

260 Saturday Service Cut

The North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) website reports that the Saturday service on the 260 'Barton Villager' is to end. The service links Barrow, Goxhill and New Holland with Barton, and operates seven daytime journeys on a Saturday. The route is operated by Stagecoach under contract to NLC.

 
"From 3 July 2017 the Barton Villager Saturday service will no longer operate.  Passengers can use the CallConnect service".

The Saturday service was introduced in 2012. It is not clear if the cut is down to a need to find cost savings, low usage, a combination of these, or something else. I have sometimes seen the first arrival into Barton on a Friday full (on an Optare Solo) but that doesn't necessarily mean the Saturday service loads as well.

Clearly this cut is disappointing, however there are far worse cuts that could be made. The 260 continues to operate on weekdays, for those who can rearrange their trips to a different day. There is CallConnect as NLC point out. Not that NLC are promoting it on their website service changes page, but for Barrow residents there is also the NLC subsidised 450 to get them into Barton on a Saturday without the need to pre-book CallConnect. One positive could at least be to 'funnel' some extra passengers onto the 450, but if it isn't promoted as an alternative that is less likely to happen. Reminds me of when the 150 was withdrawn NLC just promoted CallConnect and ignored the Thursday diversion of the 260 to East Halton. Goxhill and New Holland also have the train into Barton, and retain one Saturday bus service - the 366 to Brigg and Scunthorpe which also serves Barrow.
 
 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Afternoon Peak Scunthorpe-Kirton Service to be restored

At the start of April, Kirton in Lindsey saw a significant reduction in it's main bus service, the Stagecoach 103, including the withdrawal of it's afternoon peak service from Scunthorpe as the last departure became just after 1600. From 12th June a weekday later departure is restored, with a new 1730 service from Scunthorpe to Kirton being operated 'in-house' by North Lincolnshire Council. Unlike the Stagecoach 103, this new service will operate via the A18 and B1398, presumably to avoid any competition issues with commercial services along Ashby Road, Messingham Road and to Messingham itself.

Welcome news!

Monday, 22 May 2017

EYMS Hull to York Changes

Sunday 21st May saw EYMS amend it's Hull to York services, and while one route was withdrawn completely, another service group saw some improvements.

As briefly already mentioned, the X4 has been withdrawn due to what EYMS say is "low numbers of regular passengers meaning that this high-mileage service costs more to run than it takes in fares." The X4, branded as the Wicstun Express, started in March 2011 as a Market Weighton to York express service with five weekday and four Saturday roundtrips. In February 2012 the service was extended to start back in Brough, also serving Elloughton, South Cave and Sancton, but reduced to four weekday and three Saturday round trips. January 2013 saw North Newbald added to the route, while in July that year the service was extended further to start back in Hull, serving North Ferriby en-route to Brough; it was also increased up to five round trips. May 2015 saw the first service from York truncated to start in Market Weighton on weekdays and withdrawn entirely on Saturdays.

As can be seen EYMS tried to make the Wicstun Express work, with various changes in the six and a bit years it operated. The X4 saved only 12 minutes over the hourly X46 from Market Weighton (plus Shiptonthorpe and Hayton) to York Station off peak, and only 5 minutes compared to the 46 to York Station Road, so despite omitting Pocklington the time saving was minor and arguably not enough for the X4 to be perceived a significantly faster service. There are now more 45/46's serving Market Weighton as a partial replacement for the X4.

Between Hull and York the X4 was slightly quicker than the X46 and in the hours it operated enabled EYMS to offer two Hull to Market Weighton and York services an hour. Was this not appreciated by passengers, or did passengers just prefer to stick to the consistent every hour X46? The train is also an option for Hull to York travel, and en-route also serves Brough.

So with other options for Hull, Brough and Market Weighton to York, Hull to Market Weighton and for local travel between Hull and South Cave inclusive, arguably the X4's USP came down to North Ferriby (very limited train service to York), Elloughton, South Cave (and Brough for OAP's with their free bus passes) to Market Weighton and York, plus the small villages of North Newbald and Sancton. Not big markets. It's a shame for North Newbald and Sancton, the latter is down to just the Friday 198, whilst the former has the 198 plus three day a week 143 - however at the start of the 2012 the only difference compared to now was the 198's predecessor, the S2, running on a Tuesday as well as a Friday.

What could have made the X4 work? An hourly service? Divert via Pocklington? Maybe, but that would have probably have been at the expense of a reduced 45/46, and at the expense of some of the X55/Petuaria Express frequencies. It would probably have meant 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

Part of me thinks it's a shame there isn't a Saturday only residual service for York daytrippers, like the old 857 service, but I guess that such a service would face the problem of what to do productively with a vehicle and driver in York all day.

Moving on to the main X46 service between Hull and York via Beverley, Market Weighton and Pocklington, there is a revised timetable but the Monday to Saturday daytime service remains hourly. There is a new 0605 X46 from Hull on Saturdays that replaces the 0615 X4. On weekdays there is a new 0810 X46 from Hull to York which starts in Market Weighton on Bishop Burton College Days and seems to replace the previous 0915 service 46.

Evening and Sunday variation X47 now serves Barmby Moor and Wilberfoss, and while on Sundays this is to replace the 45/46, on Monday to Saturday evenings these are limited additional services for the two villages.

Sundays see the biggest change, and it's a significant enhancement. The previous every 'one to two hour' frequency daytimes becomes hourly - matching Monday to Saturday - and continuing to alternate between the X46 and X47. This does partially replace the 45/46 between Pocklington and York, but between Hull and Pocklington is a genuine enhancement which is good to see.