Back to the Humber Flyer again. Earlier this week I blogged about the cutting of the 0620 from Grimsby and 1900 from Hull in April, which had got the small number of regular users understandably concerned. The latest idea to retain the 0620 is to make it exempt from the £10.90 Humber Bridge toll, which would reduce the costs of operating it.
Buses being exempt from tolls would be great on both environmental and economic grounds, and in that respect it is to be supported. But realistically the Humber Bridge Board are not going to exempt any bus service from the toll. They have a very strict remit to look at the Bridge Board finances and nothing else. So really this all seems a waste of time.
The Grimsby Telegraph article also contains information on the finances of the Humber Flyer. This year Stagecoach have received just £28,000 in financial support, down from £40,000 when it first started. North East Linconshire Council has not cut back their contribution, but North Lincolnshire Council, Hull City Council and Humberside Airport have. So far only £21,000 funding is committed for next year, and there are rising fuel costs to consider. Stagecoach have projected a £27,000 loss for the next year.
With figures like that Stagecoach should be commended for keeping the Humber Flyer going. Financially it would be very easy for Stagecoach to justify giving it up, yet they are persevering in keeping going. Yes perhaps there is political and PR sensitivity of the service to consider, but given time any backlash would probably go away. The withdrawal of the 0620 and 1900 is causing severe hardship for some, and that is to be recognised and acknowledged - no one wants that - but Stagecoach have, and will continue to, spend money subsidising a loss making service which is commendable when they have no duty to do so.
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