Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The 109 returns - as the most pointless service ever?

From Monday 6th September service 109 returns, again operated by EYMS. It last ran between August last year and February this year Monday to Saturday mornings/early afternoons between the Bricknell Estate, Cottingham, St Margarets Avenue and Castle Hill Hospital. In February Stagecoach's 110 between Hull, Bricknell Estate, Cottingham and Castle Hill was rerouted to serve St Margarets Avenue as a replacement. The 110 was also diverted via New Village Road and Cottingham Station to replace the Cottingham Station-Castle Hill Hospital link lost by changes to EYMS service 154.

The new 109 is slightly different. It operates Cottingham Station-Cottingham Green-St Margarets Avenue-Castle Hill Hospital and return, then Cottingham Station-New Village Road-Bricknell Estate and return. The service operates between 0925 and 1715. The timetable is available here. At the same time Stagecoach's 110 will no longer serve New Village Road or Cottingham Station, but will continue to serve St Margarets Avenue retaining the daytime link into Hull.

So whats the issue? Firstly a couple of relatively minor points - New Village Road is left with just the two hourly EYMS service 60 into Hull when it currently also has the hourly 110, and 109 passengers from Bricknell Estate to Cottingham and Castle Hill have a 10 minute wait at Cottingham Station.

However far more important is the total lack of co-ordination between the 109 and 110. The hourly 109 leaves Bricknell Avenue for Castle Hill 10 minutes before the hourly 110 but by Cottingham Green the gap has closed to 8 minutes (with the 110 having overtaken the 110). From Castle Hill the gap is even worse - one, yes one, minute.

Additionally I can't see the need for extra capacity between the Bricknell Estate and Cottingham. At the start of the noughties such a link was just provided two mornings a week (service 31B), so I can't see that a standalone service 109 is needed in addition to the 110 which has a wider role in linking Chanterland Avenue and the wider Stagecoach Hull network to Castle Hill.

The 110 is funded by Hull City and East Yorkshire Council's, and I suspect the 109 will be as well (it was when it last operated), so this is a huge waste of taxpayers money. The changes offer nothing new and the three minute time saving on the 110 simply becomes additional recovery time at Castle Hill. What is wrong with the current 110 route - it effectively serves Bricknell Estate, New Village Road, Cottingham Station and St Margarets Avenue in one hourly service providing to links to Castle Hill, Cottingham and Hull Centres. The 109 is just duplication and with council cutbacks inevitable, what communities could end up seeing cutbacks in services because of this.

I would love to know the rationale for the new 109, because it sure ain't obvious.


Anonymous said...

Just a guess - but the way the 109 takes its layover at Cottingham Railway station suggests it may be intended as a bus/rail link rather than a link from Bricknell Avenue Estate to Cottingham. Trains from Bridlington, Driffield and Beverley arrive at Cottingham at xx16 and xx42 and return north at xx 21 and xx51. The xx16 train arrival connects into the xx25 service 109 to Castle Hill which returns at xx47 to connect into the xx51 train. Similarly, the xx42 train arrival connects into the xx47 service 109 to Bricknell Avenue, which returns at xx15 to connect into the xx21 train.

Perhaps this is intended to replace the former bus/rail connections offered by 154 before it was changed last year and linked to 115. However, I have to admit I have no idea the extent to which 154 was used for bus/rail connections at Cottingham, nor whether there was much in the way of complaints when lasts year's changes took away the link.

Humber Transport said...

The Bricknell-Cottingham Station link maybe a reason for the service - don't think the times work out on the current 110. But is such a link really needed? Historically no such has been provided. And of course the 110 does provide it currently with a maximum half hour wait at Cottingham - for a low volume link this should be adequate.

The 110 diversion to Cottingham Station was intended to replace the 154 - don't think it was well used but politically important. However the 110 could still provide this link, meaning no need for the 109 to be reintroduced.

And even if the 109 is needed, why not run it on the opposite half hour instead of competing with the 110?