The timetable for the new Stagecoach service 909 between Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Brigg is now on the traveline east midlands website. The basics are an hourly service Monday to Saturday daytimes, with the Scunthorpe-Doncaster part of the route operating until mid-evening (last departure from Doncaster at 2035).
As for the route, the new 909 will operate from Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange via the Lakeside outlet shoping village before going up the M18, and then the A18 from Thorne. It will serve Gunness and Scunthorpe Tesco Extra before arriving in Scunthorpe. Towards Brigg the service will serve Ashby, Scunthorpe's Lakeside Retail Park before operating directly to Brigg via the A18 (except a college service that will serve Scawby).
Therefore Scawby and Sturton will loose their main bus service to Brigg and Scunthorpe. This is the 365 which is being withdrawn at the same time as the 909 starts in November. The 365 operates roughly two hourly with peak journeys, but Scawby and Sturton will be left with the rather basic service 94 that has no peak time journeys. (They also have a Dents Coaches Friday only service to Lincoln and a PC Coaches service 160 service to Brigg on a Thursday, plus some evening journeys on Hornsby Travel service 4 divert to Scawby and Sturton).
Wrawby also looses out - with the 365 being withdrawn, it only has a Scunthorpe link on a Saturday and college days from November, though the 68 Wolds Villager service plus the Stagecoach 450 retain frequent links into Brigg (plus the three day a week Hornsby Travel 91 service).
But what villages loose out on is Brigg's gain. The new 909 provides a much faster link into Scunthorpe than either the 365 offered, or Hornsby Travel's service 4, which operates via Broughton, offers. And the 909's hourly frequency is much better than the 365 it replaces. Indeed Hornsby will now have some serious competition to contend with.
While the Brigg end of the route looks to be an attempt to replace what was probably a marginal commercial service (the 365) into an attractive 'express' service, the Doncaster part of the route is new. It provides new links from Scunthorpe to Doncaster's Lakeside, while it will also compete with the train between Scunthorpe and Doncaster. Though as has been mentioned on the South Yorkshire Transport Forum, wouldn't the best time to have launched this service have been during the recent rail blockade when the train service between Scunthorpe and Doncaster was bustituted?
And for those wondering why the high route number, 909, well this new service isn't all that new. From 1994 to (i think) 2003, Stagecoach ran a 909 between Hull, Grimsby, Humberside Airport, Brigg, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Meadowhall and Sheffield. The Hull to Grimsby sections survives, as the Humber Flyer, and now we have the Brigg to Doncaster section restored. However the old 909 didn't serve Ashby and it also used the M180 between Junctions 1 and 2, unlike the new 909 that will use the A18 instead.
If the new 909 is a success, would an extension to Humberside Airport, to link up with the Humber Flyer be out of the question?
And one question this does raise is, with the 909 not serving Kirmington, Melton Ross and Barnetby, will there be a replacement bus from these places to the Scunthorpe Colleges, a link currently provided by the 365?
Unless you live in Scawby, Sturton or Wrawby the new 909 is great news, and it is nice to see Stagecoach trying to provide a new Doncaster link, and a better Brigg service. Though as often can happen with service changes there are losers as well as winners.
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