Yes, another post about the 350 (Scunthorpe-Barton-Hull if you don't know), but some interesting news. Buried within the 'Fleet News' section of the October Buses magazine are reports that Stagecoach East Midlands have three new MAN 18.240/Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 buses (low floor single deckers) are on order for Scunthorpe depot, and in particular service 350.
New, low floor buses are obviously welcome but this does create a number of questions. Firstly is the service being upgraded from it's basic hourly Monday to Saturday frequency to half hourly - something the Stagecoach East Midlands MD has mentioned in an interview in the past with Bus and Coach Buyer magazine?
If this is the case the basic service would require 6 buses - but what about the other three buses (only 3 on order). Would these be from EYMS, or Stagecoach Hull - and if from Stagecoach Hull why not brand new ones to match the Scunthorpe ones?
Or is it just an investment in vehicles and no frequency increase? In which case why three vehicles - currently the basic daytime service uses 2 Stagecoach Scunthorpe buses and 1 EYMS bus. Is the third bus a spare, to operate some of the extra services on the route at peak times, or to replace EYMS - but to replace EYMS's journey's from the Scunthorpe end would require a lot of dead mileage.
Questions, Questions, Questions. All should become clear in time and of course it hasn't been confirmed by Stagecoach that these buses are coming yet. But a frequency increase would be very welcome - to removing standing on busy services and to help increase custom - and on a personal note as some one who will be using the 350 almost daily very soon, to reduce waiting times in Hull between other services and the 350. 55 minutes is a long time to wait when you have just missed a bus.
Finally, a comment about Humber Bridge tolls. These are due to rise again soon and in the local press coverage it has emerged that a 2006 deal which saw council's reduce bridge tolls for buses by 35% has not been renewed after expiry of the deal back in April. Hardly going to help the case for more buses over the bridge. Funding needs to be found to reduce tolls for buses to nominal levels (such as £1 or £2) in order to encourage more bus services over the bridge, at cheaper fares, to attract people out of their cars, reducing congestion and pollution.
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