The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports North Lincolnshire Council is considering the future of service 450 between Brigg, Barton and Immingham (continues to Grimsby as the 45) from September 30th when it's current contract with Stagecoach to provide the service ends.
Apparently a report by council officers calls the places served "a difficult area to serve by bus" due to low passenger numbers for much of the day, and the length of the route. It is apparently the council's most expensive bus contract at £132,000 per annum (£435.16p per day), but the per passenger cost is £1.68, well below the £3 guideline. I say apparently because I can't find the report on the council's website, nor details of how to offer comments on the service. The deadline for comments is apparently April 20th. Am I going blind again when checking the council website?
Without seeing the report it's hard to respond in detail to North Lincolnshire Council's current thinking. It certainly is a long route however, and passengers for the Brigg schools provide a key source of revenue, which probably explains the reference to low passenger numbers for most but not all of the day. At such a large annual cost, it is understandable that the service is being reviewed, though the per passenger cost will hopefully avoid any major cutbacks.
The current linking of the 450 with the 45 between Immingham and Grimsby surely has to be the most efficient way of providing a through service to Grimsby? It's far better than duplicating the 45, which is what happened when the 250 operated between Barton and Grimsby. Hopefully this will not be lost.
If savings do have to be made I sometimes wonder how many people use the 0715 Immingham-Barton-Brigg on Saturdays. Would it be cheaper to operate the bus out of service directly along the A180 and A18 to Brigg?
Another potential saving could see the last bus from Brigg operate at 1530, and extend through to Goxhill on school holidays and Saturdays, as well as on schooldays. This could also serve New Holland, replacing the 1603 260 Villager journey. There would still be time for the bus to be back in Barton for 1715 to Immingham.
Being more positive, how about better promotion of the connection opportunities at Barton to Hull and Scunthorpe?
A final idea I would suggest is making the small diversion via Meadow Drive and Caistor Road in Barton, providing a fairly substantial residential area with a 6 day a week bus service. The old X21 between Hull and Cleethorpes briefly did this. The route should be suitable for double deckers, and might attract an extra passenger or two at minimal cost. Worth a try? Another brief diversion via Barton Tesco could be another option.
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