Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Mitigating Stagecoach in Grimsby Cleethorpes's proposed April cuts

Last week I noted the Grimsby Telegraph report on Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes's April service changes - though since disputed in part. So what could be done to reduce the cuts? Which are the most likely to be a priority to avoid?

Interconnect 3 (Grimsby-Lincoln)

The proposed cut from hourly to 2 journeys per day as reported by the Grimsby Telegraph was arguably the biggest shock amongst the changes - though A life of Lincolnshire Travel reports the cut will be to 'just' 2 hourly. This would have a far less severe impact, and would probably make it less likley Lincolnshire County Council would step in with funding. A 2 hourly service would still allow for commuting, shopping and hospital trips. Backwards step - yes. Disaster - no.

Late evening service withdrawal on the 8/9/46

I can't see these cuts being a priority for North East Lincolnshire Council to reverse. With last journeys proposed between 8-9pm the services will still be useful for hospital visting (on the 8/9) for example. It's not like the services are being cut from 6pm.

Having said that there could be options to retain the late evening service on a reduced frequency and/or on certain nights of the week. The 8 (Grimsby-New Waltham-Humberston) and 9 (Grimsby-Waltham) currently operate hourly late evening, each requring 1 vehicle. Could each service operate every two hours, sharing 1 vehicle between them and retaining a limited evening service? And/or just operate the services on say Fridays and Saturdays when demand maybe higher than earlier in the week? Similarly with the 46 (Cleethorpes-Grimsby-Immingham), also hourly but requiring 2 vehicles, reduce the frequency to 2 hourly and/or reduce the operating days?

Sunday services withdrawal on the 7/8/16

These cuts affect the hourly 7 (Grimsby-Grange Estate), 8 and 16 (Asda-Grimsby-Willows-Wybers Wood). Again I don't suspect these are priority cuts to reverse - North East Lincolnshire Council have bigger issues (see the 12 below). The Sunday service on 7 only started in April 2010.

But like the evening cuts, there are options to retain a limited service. Currently the 7 and 8 operate hourly on Sundays, but they could each operate 2 hourly instead, saving 1 vehicle.

The 16 is a bit different, it only uses 1 vehicle already on a Sunday, and could not easily be interworked with another service on a reduced frequency unless the Asda extension was dropped. Furthermore the Willows Estate has the 46 as it's main Sunday service. Diverting the 46 via Wybers Wood could be an option but it would mean the Cleethorpes to Immingham journey times would be over an hour. So probably not a viable option. Unless the 16 can be 'saved' in it's current form, I can't see another easy way to 'save' Wybers Wood's Sunday service.

Complete withdrawal of the 12 (Bradley Park-Grimsby-Cleethorpes-New Waltham)

For North East Lincolnshire Council this is almost certainly priority number 1. Unlike all the other cuts, this cut would leave certain areas completely unserved.

Currently the 12 operates hourly Monday to Saturday daytime and requires two vehicles, which the timetable would indicate also do schools work. A simple option would be to reduce the frequency to two hourly, retaining a basic service with 1 vehicle. Alternatively a more elaborate option could retain the current frequency (or even better) for part of the route.

West of Grimsby Town Centre the 12 currently serves Bradley Park (where it is the only service), Grange Estate (also served by the 7) and Littlefield Lane (only service). The 7 currently operates half hourly to from Grange to Grimsby Town Centre (and beyond) via Laceby Road and Bargate which have other services. Journey time of the 7 from Grange to Grimsby Bus Station is 17 minutes, compared to 16 minutes on the 12. So all or some 7's could be diverted via Littlefield Lane quite easily replacing the 12. Chances are this would need to be just altenate journeys as the current 7 route does serve Franklin College.

This does leave Bradley Park unserved and the 7's have no time to make the 10 minute roundtrip from Grange to Bradley Park. But perhaps hourly 13's could divert via Bradley Park instead?

Between Grimsby and Cleethorpes the 12 provides the only service for Wellington Street, Queen Mary Avenue and Brereton Avenue. My idea would be to divert the Humber Flyer, also hourly, along this route rather than Hainton Avenue/Weelsby Road/Clee Road, just as the Humber Flyer's predecessor, the X1, did. Journey times on the Humber Flyer would be unaffected, Hainton Avenue would still have the 3, part of Weelsby Road the 7 and Clee Road has no history of regular Mon-Sat bus services that I know off.

This just leaves the Cleethorpes to New Waltham section, and I see no obvious options to re-route other services here. The 7 could be diverted around Belvoir Road, but this does not provide a solution for places like Trinity Road. So maybe a Cleethorpes-New Waltham could remain, requring only 1 bus for an hourly service. There would also be time to extend daytime services to Waltham once again, providing a more direct Waltham-Cleethorpes link than the 9/9A do. Or perhaps offer a Holton Le Clay-New Waltham-Waltham link.

Removal of off-peak 45's from South Killingholme/Withdrawing the 150 from Habrough

As I noted here I can not see why the 150 (East Halton-Immingham-Grimsby) is being re-routed away from Habrough in the first place, and the 150 could also divert via South Killingholme to act as a partial replacement for the loss of the off-peak 45 to Immingham and Grimsby - otherwise South Killingholme will just be left with the very basic 250 (Barton-Immingham-Grimsby) off peak.

Interconnect 51 (Grimsby-Louth)

Apparently the plan is to reduce the Interconnect 51 from half hourly to hourly between Holton Le Clay and Louth - i.e. how it used to be until 2005. Given an hourly service will remain south of Holton Le Clay I suspect this won't be a priority cut for Lincolnshire County Council to reverse.

I also wonder if there will still be a half hourly service from the Chatsworth Drive area of Louth into the town centre - as there was pre-2005 when the 51 was only hourly to Louth.

Hopefully some or all of the cuts will be reversed in full, but what I have tried to do in this post is to set out some options if this is not possible. Ideas that could at least partially reverse the cuts


Anonymous said...

The problem that all bus operators are having is not just with the 20% BSOC cut, but also the continuing problem of not be reimbursed the full amount for concessionary card holders and the looming DDA regulations. The 12 for example seems to be well used by those who hold passes, so re-routing other services isn't going to solve it (in the Humber Flyers case it is politically sensitive, user groups WILL kick up a fuss if the frequency down Hainton Av is cut!), what is needed is central govt to fix the problem with the budgets for the pass scheme. It also seems to be a route that is worked by older step entrance and non-DDA SLFs, which will need money being spent on it.

As for the 51, it isn't really a surprise, some of those midday services are a bit dead. Doubt they will reintroduce the half-hourly at the southern end of the route in Louth town, as Stagecoach no longer has a depot in Louth, and it would negate any savings in fuel and PVR reduction.

Humber Transport said...

Re-routing other services to replace the 12 isn't going to deal with concessionary pass funding issues admitedly, but it could deal with the impact of the BSOG cut and DDA regulations

As for Hainton Avenue as much as I wouldn't blame user groups for complaining if the Humber Flyer was re-routed away, they would stil have the 3, and it would just be a return to service level they had a few years ago when the Humber Flyer was the X1 and went via Queen Mary Avenue instead. The 3 seems set to remain roughly hourly between Grimsby and Laceby at least.

I wasn't sure if a Grantham-esq operation would be possible for Louth. On the Interconnect 1 Stagecoach run short local journeys within Grantham in between Lincoln runs. My idea was that a similar thing could be done in Louth. It would be less fuel/lower PVR than the present arrangement at least and still enable Stagecoach to make a saving.

Anonymous said...

Back end of last year, Stagecoach announced at the Park Ward Group that they would be re-routing the 3 again away from Hainton Av/Weelsby Road, and that the residents should not worry, as they would put another bus down those two roads (apparently the plan was to use the 2, obviously before the current setup got going). Evidently then there is strong enough feeling (and passengers) to warrant two buses n hour down that road.

As for the 51, I suppose we will have to wait and see. However another factor is that Louth now hs a Nipper bus, nd they may be no support for short journeys to Chatsworth drive.