Tuesday 5 November 2013

Stagecoach Significant Changes to 32 and 51

Since Sunday 2nd November, Stagecoach have significantly revised services 32 and 51 in North Hull.

The 51 has had a 51A variant added. It follows the current 51 route from Hull City Centre via North Bridge, Holderness Road, Bellfield Avenue, Dunvegan Road and Howdale Road before operating via Noddle Hill Way and Bude Road to Kingswood, instead off serving North Point, Tiverton Road and Bodmin Road as the 51 does.

The combined 51/51A frequency is every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, with each route operating every 20 minutes; the combined frequency matches the previous weekday frequency and provides an increase from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes on Saturdays. Sunday daytimes have a combined 15 minute frequency, with each route operating every half hour – an increase from the current half hourly on service 51 only. A half hourly daily evening service is provided on the 51 only, matching the previous Monday to Saturday evening service and doubling the previous hourly Sunday service.

One notable aspect is the first 51A from Noddle Hill to Kingswood is not until 1010 Monday to Saturdays due to a lower outbound morning frequency from Hull City Centre.

The aim of this is to provide a Noddle Hill Way to Kingswood link, though it comes at the expense of a lower frequency link to the North Point Shopping Centre. Bodmin Road also has the 28A and 30 so remains well served despite the frequency reduction on the 51.

All service 51’s and 51A’s will be extended to Kingswood Leisure Park, however Monday to Saturday daytime journeys will cease to operate into Kingswood Retail Park on their outward journey from Hull. I presume this is to save putting extra resource into the service, which already has a lengthy detour along Holderness Road on inbound journeys due to road safety issues with turning right onto Holderness Road. While the outbound journeys will still operate to the main retail park bus stops for any ‘bag-laden’ shoppers, this is not exactly ideal.

Major changes have also been made to the 32. Since Sunday, the 32 has also gained a 32A variant. With the 51A now serving Noddle Hill Way, only half the 32’s do. Other journeys operate as a 32A, following the 32 route from Hull via Summergangs Road and Gillshill Road to Sutton Village before operating a loop around Howdale Road and Dunvegan Road. This reintroduces a link from the Old Town area of Hull City Centre to Howdale Road and Dunvegan Road that the 51 can not provide without extra resources being put into the service, and also provides a means of ‘turning round’ journeys no longer serving Noddle Hill Way and North Point.

Monday to Saturday daytimes the 32 and 32A combined provide a service every 10 minutes between Hull and Sutton, an increase from the previous 15 minute frequency on the 32 only. Each variant operates every 20 minutes, which again means the new service pattern has come at the expense of less frequent links to North Point. Sundays retain a half hourly daytime service on the 32, while daily evenings retain a service 32 every hour along with a service 31 every hour.

As a result of these changes the 32 and 51A will combine to provide a service every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime between Hull and Noddle Hill Way, compared to the previous 15 minute frequency.

Overall these changes do include significant enhancements, with new Noddle Hill Way-Kingswood links, new Old Town-Howdale Road/Dunvegan Road links and enhanced frequencies for many. However the changes have made the network more complex and reduced links to North Point. Is complexity a price worth paying sometimes? Do reduced frequencies to North Point matter when 20 minute frequencies remain?

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