Monday 20 July 2015

Simplibus comes to Hull

After being rolled out in Grimsby last year, Stagecoach’s simplibus branding and approach comes to Hull from 6th September. There are some major changes to Stagecoach’s local network in Hull and Cottingham as a result in what is being called “a plan for the long term”. If successful the relaunched network “would increase opportunities to both increase frequency of buses and to invest in new, more environmentally-friendly vehicles”. Thank you very much to Stagecoach for providing me with a copy of the press release, the new frequency guide/map as well as answering my questions.

Starting in West Hull with the current 1 and 2 services from the City Centre to the Boothferry Estate via Hessle Road and Anlaby Road respectively – these do not see any substantial changes, with the frequency remaining every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, half hourly Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes, and hourly on Sunday evenings. The 1K extensions to Sutton Fields Industrial Estate and Kingswood Retail Park remain.

The City Centre to Orchard Park via Chanterlands Avenue service currently provided by the 13 and 13b routes is replaced by service 3 which will operate as a cross city service from Orchard Park to Greatfield, providing new cross-city links and improved access from West Hull to the Old Town area of the city centre. As a result the service will operate inbound to the city centre via Park Street direct to Paragon Interchange before serving other parts of the city centre, but outbound West Hull passengers will have the ability catch the service at a stop somewhere other than the Interchange, unlike at present. The 13b variation currently serves Fairfax Avenue which will become unserved with the Simplibus network, as all services take the current service 13 route serving a longer part of Bricknell Avenue.

Simplibus 3 will maintain the same frequency as the 13/13b combined on weekdays; every 10 minutes daytime and every half hour in the evenings. It will also maintain the same frequency of half hourly Saturday evenings and hourly Sunday evenings. However the Saturday daytime frequency shall fall from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes with the Sunday daytime frequency doubling from half hourly to every 15 minutes.

The City Centre to Orchard Park link via Beverley Road currently provided by service 14 becomes the 4, and like the 3 also becomes a cross city service linking Orchard Park and Beverley Road to the Old Town, Holderness Road and Bilton Grange. Monday to Saturday daytime frequency increases from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes, with Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes remaining half hourly and Sunday evenings hourly.

Services 3 and 4 will operate as a circular cross-Orchard Park in the same way services 13 and 14 currently do so.

Current service 15 from the City Centre to Kingswood Retail Park via the Avenues and Orchard Park becomes the 5, with the evening service 16 variation that omits Orchard Park but extends to Kingswood Health Centre abolished. The biggest change sees alternate Monday to Saturday daytime services no longer extending beyond Orchard Park to Kingswood, otherwise frequencies remain the same at every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes and every half hour on Sunday evenings.

New Simplibus service 6 doesn’t directly replace a current route, and is reminiscent of the former service 20. The 6 will provide a direct link from Hull Centre via Beverley Road to Kingswood Retail Park before serving the residential areas of Kingswood including the Health Centre and, after making use of a new link road on the estate, Kingsbury Way before terminating at the Wawne Road/Cumbrian Way/Kesteven Way roundabout. Around Kingsbury Way the 6 replaces current service 28. The 6 will operate every half hour Monday to Saturday daytimes, the same frequency as the 28, with evening and Sunday services provided by route 8. The 6 will be a far faster route into Hull City Centre than the 28 and serves more of the Kingswood estate, however the Monday to Saturday daytime link to North Point Shopping Centre is lost – also useful for connecting to other services – and parts of Kesteven Way become unserved.

Simplibus 7 and 8 replace the current 29 and 28 services respectively; they both run from Hull City Centre via Beverley Road and Sutton Park to North Point, with the 7 running via Bodmin Road to Kingswood Retail Park as per the current 29 route, while Monday to Saturday evenings and Sundays only, the 8 will extend beyond North Point to Kingsbury Way, Kingswood Health Centre and Kingswood Retail Park. The 7 and 8 will each operate every half hour Monday to Saturday daytimes and every hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday; this is the same frequency as at present except for Sunday evenings when the frequency is doubled between the City Centre and North Point, and Kingswood gains a new Sunday evening service. Peaktime service 101 between Hull City Centre, Clough Road and North Point is renumbered 8X.

Next up in the new network is Simplibus 9 which replaces the current 110 between Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham, Bricknell Estate, the City Centre, James Reckitt Avenue and North Point. In Cottingham the service is rerouted via Northgate and Newgate Street rather than South Street and Hallgate, and in East Hull it is rerouted via Witham, Holderness Road and Mount Pleasant rather than New Cleveland Street. Peak time journeys will omit Dorchester Road and instead operate via Midmere Avenue before serving the full length of Noddle Hill Way. The Western part of the route will operate hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, as with the present 110, however the eastern half of the route will double to half hourly.

Simplibus 10 is not related to the current service 10 but instead replace the current 30 and 30A. The ‘new’ 10 adopts the current evening and weekend route of the 30 serving Leads Road and Sutton Road instead of part of Holwell Road while continuing to link Hull City Centre to North Point, Bodmin Road and North Bransholme. The 10 will operate every 10 minutes weekday peaks, every 15 minutes weekday off-peak and Saturday daytimes, every half hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes, and every hour on Sunday evenings. This matches the current 30/30A frequency except on weekday daytimes where the 10 minute frequency currently operates during the daytime as well as at peak times. The 30A along the northern parts of Leads Road is replaced by the increased frequency on service 9, allowing this variation to be dropped. Not mentioned in the new Simplibus frequency guide, but Wawne continues to be served and the ‘X’ variation via Sutton Fields Industrial Estate also remains.

Current service 51 between Hull City Centre, Holderness Road, Ings Estate, Spring Cottage, North Point and Kingswood Retail Park is renumbered service 11, continuing to operate every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes and every half hour evenings and Sundays.

The 12 replaces current service 32 between Hull City Centre, Gillshill Road, Sutton Village, Noddle Hill Way and North Point, with services operating every 15 minutes to Monday to Saturday daytimes, every half hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes, and every hour Sunday evenings.

Simplibus 13 replaces part of the 10, and means the end of the traditional city circular – in recent years the 10 had not served the variety of areas the city circular had done in the past, but now it largely becomes an East Hull only service. The new 3 and 4 do provide some replacement cross city links.

The western section between the City Centre and Orchard Park is axed without replacement, but it largely duplicated the ‘old’ 13 and 15 (‘new’ 3 and 5) anyway; Cottingham Road (main stops for Hull University) is no longer served by Stagecoach (though Cranbrook Avenue is served by service 5 and is just as convenient for parts of the campus), while a small part of Greenwood Avenue becomes unserved. The link between Orchard Park and North Point via Sutton Park is reduced from Monday to Saturdays to weekdays only and continues to operate via Cheltenham Avenue.

In East Hull the service continues to operate from Hull City Centre via Holderness Road direct to Salthouse Road before serving Spring Cottage en-route to North Point. Monday to Saturday daytime frequency remains half hourly, while the Sunday daytime service is increased from hourly to match, and extended from it’s current Spring Cottage terminus to North Point. Spring Cottage therefore will have 4 services an hour into Hull City Centre on Sunday daytimes combined with the 11.

Continuing our clockwise look around Hull it’s time to return to the new service 4 which will replace the current 54 and 55 services between Hull City Centre and Bilton Grange. All services will operate via Marfleet Lane (service 55 route) rather than Maybury Road (service 54 route) and no services will serve Hopewell Road. The 4 will operate as a circular with service 3 to provide through links to Greatfield and Preston Road. Service 4 will operate every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, every half hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes and every hour Sunday evenings; a reduction from every 10 minutes on Monday to Friday daytimes but otherwise matching the current frequency provided by the 54/55 combined.

Service 3 replaces the 43 in East Hull linking Hull City Centre with Preston Road and Greatfield. The every 10 minutes weekday daytimes, every 15 minutes weekend daytimes, every half hour Monday to Saturday evening and every hour Sunday evening frequency matches the current frequency except for the doubling of the Sunday daytime services from half hourly.

Simplibus 14 replaces the 41 and 42; all services operate via the 42 route between Hull City Centre, Portobello Street, Wingfield Road and Greatfield Falkland Road, leaving Newbridge Road and parts of Marfleet Lane unserved. Weekday daytime frequency reduced from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes while Saturday daytimes remain every 15 minutes, Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes remain half hourly and Sunday evenings hourly.

The final simplibus route is the 16, replacing the current 46 in linking Hull City Centre with the Marina, Victoria Dock, the Preston Road Estate and Marfleet; services continue to operate hourly daytimes. The hourly service 17 shorts from Hull Interchange to the Marina are withdrawn due to low usage; when opened the new Castle Street Bridge will offer far easier pedestrian access from the City Centre to the Marina area.

A couple of other network-wide points work noting, peak time extensions to Smith and Nephew remain, as do the early morning connections from the 2 and 3 (currently 2 and 13) onto the 10 (currently service 30) and the residual Saturday nightbuses (that don’t use the N prefix anymore). Workers Service 677 is unaffected as are the ‘out of town’ services; the Humber Flyer and Humber Fastcat do get good-sized adverts in the new simplibus frequency guide.

Positives and negatives, and a lot to digest. One thing is that simplibus lives up to it’s name, with both the route numbers 1-16 (minus 15) and the ending of some route variations.

Stagecoach Information Events:
Mon 27 July Greatfield, Elmbridge Parade 2-7pm
Tue 28 July Greenwich Avenue 2-7pm
Wed 29 July North Point Shopping Centre 2-7pm
Thur 30 July Kingswood Medical Centre 2-7pm
Fri 31 July Queen Victoria Square 11am-4pm
Mon 3 August Orchard Park, Tesco 2-7pm
Tue 4 August James Reckitt Avenue (East Park) 2-7pm
Wed 5 August Princes Quay Shopping Centre 11am-4pm
Thu 6 August St Stephens Shopping Centre 11am-4pm
Fri 7 August Paragon Interchange 11am-5pm


Anonymous said...

An interesting batch of changes. As always, winners and losers. This all feels very reminiscent of the 2005 Scunthorpe network re-cast where the old 300 numbers were replaced by 1, 2, 3 etc. What goes around comes around I guess. Must have had a positive impact in Grimsby to see the "simplibus" approach moving across the Humber.

Anonymous said...

simplicrap if it works why mess with it ,it all comes down to penny pinching, and profits.

Joe said...

In Grimsby Simplibus has been good, not "penny-pinching." New buses came, the route numbers made more sense, a few extra bus services started running, especially in the evening too on routes 3, 4, 5 & 8 and Saturday buses started on route 1. No reductions in services except for some sixes to Asda occurred.
The only problem was some initial confusion over the 3 becoming 53 & the 13 becoming the 3.

Anonymous said...

in Grimsby the Simplibuses are only single deckers and have fewer seats, is this what the Hull ones will be? what about at busy periods, will people have to wait for the next bus because they cant fit on the one that's in?

Busmanhull said...

What about the current 51-15 & 32-16 cross city routes. It's not mentioned anywhere and no one is talking about them, are they withdrawn?

Joe said...

I think the so called new 6 on the Simplibus cards is the 16. Not sure of fhe rest. I notice the buses have 'SimpliHopOn' written on them today.

Joe said...

I got a Simplibus card that a driver gave me with some info, you should look for one, they can be got in Hull Paragon infomation at the main station.
The 51 will be renumbered as 15.
While the current 15 will become the 5. And they call that simple!
The 32 will be the 12 and the 16 (other than the renumbered 46) isn't mentioned but I bet it's the new 6.

Sam said...

Joe, the 51 actually becomes the 11, see the original posting :)

And to the Anonymous poster (the one that was posted on 3rd August), there shouldn't be many vehicle changes in Hull, basically the same vehicles will be used as currently (just with branding for Simplibus carried by them).
The vehicles in Grimsby that are smaller actually replaced similar design vehicles which were around 8 years older, and so there was no real change with capacity! Double Deckers do operate a lot of the Simplibus routes, its just the majority of the singles that are in fact branded for Simplibus operations.

Jack Griffin said...

Thanks for the confirmation that Wawne is still going to have a bus service. When looking and the new route map I noticed that the number 10 (ex 30) stopped at North Bransholme. As a resident of the village and one of many who rely on the once an hour service to Hull my heart did drop a little bit at first!

Sam said...

The timetables are now on the website via this webpage
To access them go down to the 'Frequency Guide' and click on each of the routes to access those specific timetables.
They are split into guides for; 1 & 2, 3 & 4 and 5, 6, 7 & 8 etc.

Also note that the map has changed slightly, with an extension of 13 and reroute of the 16.