Sunday, 17 February 2019

North Lincolnshire Council looking to cutback 260 and 450 services

This week Barton Town Council published minutes of it's January 2nd meeting, which contained the following disappointing and concerning item under the heading "correspondence received since issue of the agenda":

"Information from North Lincolnshire Council Public Transport about making savings on the 450 bus service by making changes to the 450 service and looking to incorporating the 260 to help serve some of the villages. The 450 would operate from Barrow to Barton and Brigg via the Low Villages. The 260 at present operates 4 days to Goxhill and New Holland and 1 day to East Halton. They are looking at changing this to 3 days operating to Goxhill and New Holland and 2 days serving Thornton Curtis, Wootton and Ulceby and also East Halton and South Killingholme. A proposed timetable has been forwarded. Any suggestions are welcomed by early in the New Year. "

To expand on and slightly correct the current arrangements stated above, service 260 'The Villager' links the villages of Goxhill, New Holland and Barrow with Barton, as well as East Halton on a Thursday only; the Thursday timetable also includes a service from Victoria House in Barton to the town's Tesco supermarket. Monday to Friday the service is operated by Stagecoach, operating off peak approximately every 60-90 minutes using one vehicle, and is interworked with a schools service from the Caistor Road Estate in Barton to St Peter's Primary School. On Saturday's a single 'timetabled' journey in each direction is provided between Goxhill and Barton by the CallConnect bus.

Service 450 operates between Immingham County Hotel, South Killingholme, Ulceby, Wootton, Thornton Curtis, Barrow, Barton, South Ferriby, Horkstow, Saxby, Bonby, Worlaby, Elsham, Wrawby and Brigg. The route is operated by Stagecoach with four journeys in each direction, albeit on schooldays one service from Brigg terminates at Barton and another is diverted after Barrow to Goxhill. The service requires two vehicles, and I think is interworked with the 552 South Killingholme to Barton Baysgarth School schools service. The 450 itself provides a schools service to Brigg for out of catchment area students.

The exact proposed new timetable has not been included in the Barton Town Council minutes, but would clearly involve cutbacks overall, with the possible exception of East Halton and North Killingholme (located between East Halton and South Killingholme and currently only served by the 552 and CallConnect). It would seem no community will be left unserved however. I presume the intention would be to reduce from a requirement for three vehicles on weekdays to two, at least in school holidays. Unless operated as circular, serving Wootton/Ulceby on one hand, and East Halton on the other, would not be possible without a trip via some very minor roads, but serving all four communities could be done by operating between Barrow and South Killingholme via Wootton/Ulceby in one direction and East Halton in the other.

It's not clear what is proposed for Saturdays. The minutes refer to serving some communities three days a week and others two, implying five day a week services, yet every village east of Barton apart from East Halton and North Killingholme currently has a Saturday bus service. It maybe that the Saturday 260 service isn't being considered as it's operated as part of the CallConnect contract, but that doesn't explain if the plan is to replace/continue the Saturday 450, or not.

In response, Barton Town Council resolved "that a letter be sent to North Lincolnshire Council with the town council’s concerns that the local bus services are to be reduced. As the town council currently support the town bus and it was noted that better information needs to be sought regarding the Call Connect service, the Clerk to invite the Public Transport Development Officer to a forthcoming meeting of the town council to further explain the service".

It is good to see Barton Town Council agree to respond with their concerns to North Lincolnshire Council. Barton Town Council currently contribute towards the 254 Barton Town Service and also fund a schools service within the town from the Caistor Road Estate to Castledyke Primary School. The remainder of the funding for the 254 comes from North Lincolnshire Council but there is no indication that is under threat. Older Barton Town Council minutes indicate that changes may be made to the 254 when Barton Library and Local Link relocates from the town centre to the Baysgarth Leisure Centre later this year.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Some Improvement for South Killingholme

Tomorrow - Monday 21st January - a new 'fixed'/timetabled CallConnect service is being introduced between South Killingholme and Immingham County Hotel, operating Monday to Friday peaktimes. CallConnect is operated by Hornsby Travel on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council. South Killingholme was served by Stagecoach service 5 Monday to Saturday daytimes until earlier this month, providing a service every 20 minutes to Immingham and Grimsby, the places residents of South Killingholme tend to 'look towards' for shops and services. Since then it has been left with the 450 - which doesn't serve Immingham Town Centre or Grimsby - and demand responsive CallConnect services.

On the new timetabled CallConnect service there will be one departure each way, leaving South Killinghome at 0715, arriving at County Hotel at 0725 to connect onto the 0737 service 5 into Grimsby which arrives at 0814, and a return from County Hotel at 1800 which connects out of the 1710 service 5 from Grimsby to County Hotel (arrives at 1745). This reinstates a timetabled service for South Killingholme to Grimsby commuters and students, albeit with a change en-route at County Hotel; the evening service may also be off use for afternoon Grimsby shoppers who can travel into Grimsby using a combination of the 450 and 5 services earlier in the day.

As a quick way to improve the situation for South Killingholme, this new timetabled service is logical. However it does mean the demand responsive CallConnect bus will not be available when it is needed on this fixed service, which isn't ideal. In addition there is still no timetabled link from South Killingholme to Immingham Town Centre - as I posted a couple of weeks ago the 450 could be amended to provide this - and no South Killingholme to Grimsby through service. Arguably more still to be done to replace the 5 in South Killingholme.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Stagecoach 5 and 6 Changes

Today, Sunday 6th January, Stagecoach have revised services 5 and 6 in North East Lincolnshire. Service 5 provides the link between Grimsby and Immingham, whilst service 6 is the main bus into Grimsby from the Wybers Wood Estate.

Until yesterday service 5 routed out of Grimsby via Cromwell Road, Yarborough Road and the full length of Great Coates Road, before serving the edges of Healing and Stallingborough villages on the B1210 prior to arriving in Immingham. In Immingham most Monday to Saturday early morning and daytime journeys had extended to South Killingholme via the oil refineries, with some journeys serving Kiln Lane Industrial Estate, Immingham MIC Plant and the Western Entrance to Immingham Docks at peak times. One peak time journey started in, and two finished in, Habrough village. Monday to Saturday daytimes service 5 operated every 20 minutes, increasing to every 15 minutes at peak times; the first three early morning journeys started in Humberston, operating via Cleethorpes Pier and Riby Square to pick up the main route in Grimsby. Sunday daytimes saw an hourly service between Cleethorpes Pier, Grimsby and Immingham, routing via Grimsby Auditorium/Leisure Centre and The Willows Estate, but not the 'loop' part of Cromwell Road that service 6 uses on The Willows, as opposed than Yarborough Road and the western part of Great Coates Road. Finally the hourly daily evening service followed the same route as on Sunday daytimes, but starting at North Sea Lane terminus, and also serving Wybers Wood Top.

With today's service change, almost all journeys on service 5 will route via The Willows, instead of Yarborough Road and the western part of Great Coates Road. Yarborough Road is also served by service 4, while the western part of Great Coates Road is partly bordered by Grimsby Golf Course and a nature reserve. Routing via The Willows provides Monday to Saturday daytime access to Grimsby Auditorium/Leisure Centre from the service 5 route. All early morning/daytime journeys will serve the Cromwell Road 'loop' within The Willows, with evening services continuing to omit it.

The other big change is that apart from on weekday peaktimes, the 5 will no longer extend past Immingham County Hotel terminus, and the oil refineries, South Killingholme and Habrough are no longer served by service 5. This removes the bus as a commuting option from Grimsby to the oil refineries, and leaves Habrough with the train for public transport (which does include peak time services to Grimsby, replacing what the 5 offered).

Perhaps the most significant loss however is for South Killingholme. South Killingholme maybe in North Lincolnshire, but looks towards Immingham and Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire for shops/services etc. It's not left isolated as the 450 continues to provide a limited Monday to Saturday bus service, but the 450 isn't ideal - it's geared towards travel to Barton, and if you don't mind a journey of over an hour, also serves Brigg. The 450 does run to Immingham too, but only to County Hotel, not the town centre, and has a first arrival at County Hotel off 1100, with a last departure at 1340. Connections to Grimsby on the 5 exist, but offer little time in the town. South Killingholme is also covered by the demand responsive CallConnect, which I think does offer travel to Immingham.

A seemingly easy option to partially address this would be to re-route the 450 via Habrough Church and Immingham Town Centre between South Killingholme and County Hotel. If necessary the 450 could be amended in Barton to save time, and only serve the Market Place once in each direction as opposed to twice in each direction in the current timetable - a legacy from when Barton-Brigg and Barton-Immingham-Grimsby used to be separate services. South Killingholme doesn't need a service every 20 minutes, and probably has only had one because of it's proximity to employment and potential (Able UK) employment sites, it may not even need an hourly service, but I don't think the 450 with it's current timetable and route is sufficient.

The 5m variation to Kiln Lane/MIC Plant as service 5m continues Monday to Friday, but not on Saturdays. Four morning and five afternoon services are provided from Grimsby, with three morning and six afternoon returns from Kiln Lane/MIC Plant - this compares to six morning and two afternoon journeys previously being provided from Grimsby, along with three afternoon returns.

The 'core' Monday to Saturday daytime frequency remains every 20 minutes, including at peak times where a 15 minute frequency had previously been provided. Early morning journeys from Humberston remain, at 0435 (0440 Sat), 0540 and 0640 compared to 0445, 0515 and 0545 previously. The first service from Immingham is now at 0550 rather than 0620, and the first three morning services from Immingham operate via Wybers Wood Estate as service 5w, covering for service 6 now starting later. Early morning services from Grimsby continue to operate via Yarborough Road, as service 5 or 5m, and so do two further morning journeys from Grimsby, and two mid afternoon journeys from Immingham as service 5s - going by the 's' suffix and the times, I presume this is linked to Healing School traffic. Evening and Sundays remain hourly, starting at North Sea Lane in the evening, and at Cleethorpes Pier on Sunday daytimes.

Service 6 continues to link the Wybers Wood Estate and Grimsby Town Centre via The Willows, but has two main changes. The 6 no longer continues beyond Riverhead Exchange to Asda, and the Monday to Saturday daytime service is cut from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes. Co-ordination with the re-routed service 5 however provides an improved service to The Willows of every 10 minutes. The hourly Sunday daytime service 6 remains, with fairly good co-ordination with service 5 into Grimsby in the morning, and returning in the afternoon, but with abysmal co-ordination for the probably less used morning service from Grimsby and afternoon service from Wybers Wood. From Wybers Wood Top on Sunday afternoons there is a 3 minute gap followed by a 57 minute gap. This timetabling is what happens when trying to co-ordinate an Immingham to Cleethorpes and Wybers Wood to Grimsby service without having lots of driver layover time - and I guess it maybe this arrangement or the Sunday 6 becomes unviable?

Overall a rather mixed picture, and the negatives I'm sure not helped by the decline in Grimsby Town Centre and lack of progress with the Able UK development in Killingholme.