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.

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