Sunday 28 December 2008

Stagecoach Hull January Changes Update

Update to this post:

Stagecoach Hull's new timetables are out for the 20/28/46/49 - or at least online anyway. The 20 will generally be on a half hourly daytime pattern. A few journeys are Saturday only leaving some hour long gaps on weekdays. Overall though the standard pattern timetable is easier to remember and there are some extra journeys, along with two services now starting at the Guildhall on weekday teatimes.

Stagecoach also say they will be looking to make further improvements to the 28 in 2009. Maybe an upgrade to frequento status?

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Hull Trains: Back our Bid

First Hull Trains, the main operator between Hull and London Kings Cross have launched a 'Back our Bid' campaign. They have 7 weekday services between Hull and London, though the paths for two of these services are only guarenteed until 2010. There is a chance these paths could be reallocated away from Hull Trains. The 'Back our Bid' campaign has been launched to petition the Office for Rail Regulation to award these two paths on long term basis to Hull Trains.

The East Coast Main Line has seen a flurry of application for new services recently but they can not all be accomodated. There are multiple applications to serve the South Bank alone, as posted earlier in the year -
There are also other applications for services to West Yorkshire, Scarborough, the North East and Scotland from operators including Grand Central, Harrogate Trains (a brand of Hull Trains), proposed new start up Platinum Trains and National Express East Coast.

The Office of Rail Regulation has the task of deciding what destinations and operators should get these valuable paths, and the fear of Hull Trains is that they will loose two of their existing paths in order to provide other destinations and operators with a share of the precious East Coast Main Line paths. And it's quite easy to envisage the arguements - "Hull will still have five services a day on Hull Trains, plus one a day on National Express, we have none, or only one a day"

Many of the applications for East Coast Main Line paths propose new or improved services for places that could benefit in the same way Hull has done with Hull Trains and a frequent London service, and I would hope no one in the local area opposes rival applications because they do not want other places to benefit. However not every one can get what they want and if the local area wants seven services a day to London, it needs to show it's support. It's a shame not everyone can get what they want, and that some places will loose out, but without major investment in an upgrade of the East Coast Main Line, or a new high speed line to London, this is the harsh reality of our railways today.

Web Link to back the bid -

Friday 19 December 2008

Stagecoach Hull January changes

As already mentioned Stagecoach Hull have secured a 3 year contract for services 46/49. They will have dedicated drivers and be operated by low floor buses. Tke K1 Kingswood contract has also been reawarded to Stagecoach on a 3 year contract and it too will gain a low floor bus.

Other changes from 5th January are a new timetable for service 28, with increased running time to improve reliability. There will be a 10 minute peak frequency, and 12 minute daytime.

Service 20 to Wawne via Kingswood and North Bransholme will gain a standard timetable from the current rather uneven one. A couple of journey's will start at the Guildhall in Hull City Centre. Currently all Beverley Road buses only serve the Interchange outbound so this will be a welcome improvement.

Full timetables awaited.

Stagecoach 51 (Grimsby-Louth) changes

Stagecoach Lincolnshire are making changes to service 51 from Monday 5th January. This service was transferred from Louth to Grimsby depot upon Louth's closure in the summer, and that may have influenced some of the changes. From examination of the new timetable there seems to be a new journey at 0555 from Grimsby to Louth. The following are withdrawn:
  • 0820 from Grimsby to Louth - this operated Saturdays and School Holidays only. A partial replacement is provided within Louth
  • 1650 from Grimsby to Louth
  • 1750 from Grimsby to Louth

The 0745 college day only service 51A from Louth will now start at North Thoresby, as shall the College Holiday 0815 service 51 from Louth and Saturday only 51 from Louth.

The 1820 from Grimsby to Louth will terminate at North Thoresby meaning there is a 3 hour 10 minute gap from 1720 till 2030 for buses from Grimsby to Louth. As can be seen, afternoon peak services from Grimsby to Louth are heavily cut back. Only the 1720 remains suitable for Louth commuters.

Unless stated all services mentioned run Monday to Saturday.

Minor changes to Connect 100

Minor changes will be made to service Connect 100 operated by Stagecoach Lincolnshire from January 5th. Those affecting North Lincolnshire are the extension of the 1710 Scunthorpe-Gainsborough to Lincoln and the termination of the 1810 Scunthorpe-Lincoln at Gainsborough.

60% passenger increase on Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes 13/14

Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes have announced a 60% passenger increase on services 13/14. Thats an extra 100,000 services a month. These services benefited from Kick Start funding a couple of years ago.

Congratulations to Stagecoach and everyone else involved.

Stagecoach Hull Nightbuses will run Friday 2nd January

A correction to the earlier post on Stagecoach Hull Christmas/New Year services. Nightbuses will operate on Friday 2nd January to the normal Friday timetable.

Original post:

Thursday 18 December 2008

EYMS New 215/315

EYMS have released the new 215/315 timetable.

The 215 and 315 replace the short Hull to Endike Lane journeys on the 115. The 315 is the same route as the 115 but the 215 operates via Cottingham Road and Hall Road to Endike Lane, rather than via Cranbrook Avenue. The 215/315 operate as a circular. The service will operate as the 215 from Hull, and 315 from Endike Lane in the morning, and in the afternoon the reverse will apply. The aim is to provide more buses from Hull City Centre to the Cottingham Road University entrance in the morning, and back into Hull in the afternoon.

However co-ordination with the 105, the other service to Cottingham Road, is appaling. The 105 and 215 leave Hull Interchange at identical times, and leave the University in the afternoon within 1 minute of each other. For two services on 20 minute frequencies this very bad co-ordination, though there is the need to maintain 105/115 co-ordination in Cottingham, and the new 215/315 has to be co-ordinated with the 115.

Timetable -[225]EY%20115%20TT.pdf

EYMS Service 50

As already posted EYMS servuce 50 will be changed from January

As well as the diversion away from Marfleet Village to Jalland Lodge, the service will no longer serve Hull Royal Infirmary. The terminus will be Morrisions Supermarket on Holderness Road and there will be an increase from 5 to 6 services a day into Hull

EYMS Service 1A

Full details of the route changes to EYMS service 1A from January 5th have been released. The service will now operate from St. Georges Road down to Hessle Road then up Hawthorn Avenue to Anlaby Road before picking up the existing route. Currently it goes from St. Georges Road along Anlaby Road then down Hawthorn Avenue the other way to Askew Avenue and Pickering Road which are served by the 1C.

A few comments on this service. Firstly the number, 1A - the service now bears very little difference to the 1C, which before Sepetember it was closely co-ordinated with. Maybe renumber to the 9, which has been used in the past for services to the area?

Secondly why still extend to Sibelius Road? Sometimes the 1A and 1C leave within 6 minutes of each other, then no bus for till the next 1C 54 minutes later. I have been in Hull city centre before on a bus with the 1A in front and 1C behind. Cutting out Sibelius Road would allow the service to go hourly, rather than every 80 minutes, with buses terminating around Hawthorn Avenue/Wheeler Street.

And thirdly stand allocation in Hull Interchange. It is allocated to stand 3 with the 350 but twice a day the two services conflict. The 1A arrives at 0915/1315 and departs at 0920/1320 with the 350 arriving at 0918/1318 and departing at 0925/1325. So the 350 has to pinch someone's elses stand or go back down to the roundabout at the end of the bus station and come back again. I have seen once the 350 have to do that twice. I don't know why the 1A no longer uses the now unallocated Stand 1 (maybe safety as it's a bit tight) but a standard hourly timetable, co-ordinated with the 350 could be a solution (see above).

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Stagecoach in Lincolnshire/Christmas and New Year Services

Very simple here, Stagecoach Lincolnshire will operate normal services this Christmas/New Year except there will be no services on Christmas Day/Boxing Day and New Years Day. On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve town services 31A/32A in Scunthorpe end early and the 2110 from Scunthorpe and 2155 from Barton on the 350 will not operate.

EYMS Boxing Day Services in Hull

As a follow up to this post - EYMS have announced a basic hourly service on Boxing Day on routes 34 (Hull-Willerby), 56 (Hull-Longhill) and 64 (Hull-Cottingham-Willerby). Services 34 and 64 will interwork.

Friday 5 December 2008

Minor EYMS January Changes

The latest EYMS newsletter reports some services will have minor changes from January 4th/5th:

The 1A between Hull City Centre and Sibelius Road in the west of the city will now serve Hessle Road Asda but not Pickering Road. The 1C, which also serves Sibelius Road but starts in North Hull at Kingswood will have minor timing changes.

Service 50 in East Hull will have a new route serving Jalland Lodge, but no longer operating to Marfleet village.

Service 64 will have a route change in Cottingham on Sundays, while the 105, which also serves Cottingham will have minor timing changes on a Sunday. Timing and route changes will also affect the 153/155/156 group of services between Hull, Brough, South Cave, Gilberdyke, Howden and Goole and the 158 Brough Town Service.

Finally the 121 between Hull and Scarborough shall swap it's existing Somerset Terrace terminus for one on Valley Bridge.

Major 115 changes from January

EYMS are making big changes to the 115 from January 4th. The service currently links Hull with Castle Hill Hospital via Princes Avenue, Newland Avenue, Cranbrook Avenue (for the the University), Endike Lane and Cottingham. The Monday to Saturday daytime frequency is every 10 minutes between Hull City Centre and Endike Lane and every 20 minutes to Castle Hill Hospital.

The 115 will be little changed for the full length journeys between Hull and Castle Hill Hospital, beyond minor timing changes. A Sunday service will be introduced, but with route changes in Cottingham.

The big changes affect the current short journeys between Hull City Centre and Endike Lane. These will be replaced with new circular services 215 and 315. They shall follow the 115 route up to Newland Avenue then operate via Cottingham Road (University main entrance) and Hall Road to Endike Lane before returning via the 115 route down Cranbrook Avenue into Hull. EYMS say this will maintain a 10 minute frequency between Hull City Centre and Endike Lane.

Until the timetable is released next week it remains to be seen if the every 10 minute frequency is from Endike Lane overall (via both Cranbrook Avenue and Hall Road), or from Endike Lane via Cranbrook Avenue only. If the latter then the extensions from Endike Lane via Hall Road back into Hull mean an extra 3 buses an hour for Endike Lane into Hull, and also down the busy Newland Avenue/Princes Avenue corridor.

As a regular user of the 115 I have a personal interest in the new timetable, and in particular am pleased about more buses down Cottingham Road - maybe I won't need to run down to Cranbrook Avenue in future when I'm in a rush to get back into Hull and don't have 20 minutes to wait for the 105?

Information from the latest EYMS newsletter.

More cutbacks on the 41

After cutting the Hull Royal Infirmary from the service in September, EYMS are now cutting their service 41 back from Asda Bilton to Bilton Grange on January 5th. The 41, which serves the Greatfield estate in East Hull, also saw a daytime frequency reduction from every 15 to every 20 minutes back in September. A Stagecoach ticket promotion earlier this year indicated Greatfield was not the best area for bus operators and this seems to be further evidence of it. The 10/11 operated by Stagecoach maintain an hourly link between Greatfield and Asda Bilton.

Also the single EYMS journey on the 42 between Greatfield and Hull will end after operation on January 3rd. It was operated for Hull City Council on what is an otherwise Stagecoach operated route.

Information from the latest EYMS newsletter.

Stagecoach Hull win 46/49 contract from EYMS

After just 4 months of EYMS operation, Stagecoach Hull take over Hull City Council supported services 46 and 49 in the east of the city on January 5th. Stagecoach operated the 49 to Victoria Dock and Jalland Lodge until the end of August when they surrendered the contract. EYMS took the service over on a reduced timetable and new service 46 was started at the same time - it too serves Victoria Dock, and also Marfleet Village. Service 46 partially replaced the 90, and parts of the 23/24.

Information from the latest EYMS newsletter

Thursday 4 December 2008

EYMS Christmas/New Year Services

EYMS service plans this Christmas and New Year:

Christmas Eve: Normal services finishing about 9pm - full route by route details on the EYMS website
Christmas Day: No services
Boxing Day: Bingo buses 1B/2B will operate. Hull City Council may fund a limited service but otherwise no services (Scarborough and District will be operating a limited service however)
Saturday 27th: Normal Service
Sunday 28th: Normal Service

Now it gets a bit more complex. On Monday 29th there is a Saturday service except.

106 - No service
135 - No service
143 - Normal Monday service
160/162 - No service
182 - The 2.30pm service from Beverley will not operate
196/199 - No service
241 - Normal Monday service
350 - Normal Monday service
701 (Hull Park and Ride) - Normal weekday service
747 - Normal service
X47 - Three evening journeys will not operate

There is also a Saturday service on Tuesday 30th except:

106 - No service
135 - Only the 9.10 and 11.40 from Driffield will operate
143 - No service
160/162 - No service
182 - The 2.30 pm from Beverley will not operate
196/198/199 - Normal Tuesday service
350 - Normal Tuesday service
701 - Normal weekday service
747 - Normal service
S1/S2/S3 - Normal Tuesday service
X47 - Three evening journeys will not operate

Saturday service again on New Years Eve with services finishing about 9pm again. However:

106 - No Service
135 - No mention on the EYMS website, but I presume will not operate
160/162 - Normal Wednesday service
182 - The 2.30pm from Beverley will not operate
196/199 - No mention on the EYMS but presume will not operate
241 - Normal Wednesday service
350 - Normal Wednesday service
701 - Normal weekday service
747 - Normal service

New Years Day: Only Bingo Buses 1B/2B will operate

Saturday service too on Friday 2nd, except:

135 - No mention on the EYMS website, but presume will no operate
143 - No service
160/162 - No service
182 - The 2.30 pm from Beverley will not operate
350 - Normal Friday timetable
701 - Normal weekday timetable
747 - Normal Service
S1/S2/S3 - Normal Friday service

The nature of the EYMS network, with services operating on certain days of the week only makes things looks complicated, but on most routes they are not ... promise!

Stagecoach Hull Christmas/New Year Services

Stagecoach Hull services this Christmas and New Year:

Christmas Eve: Normal Service until 8pm
Christmas Day: No services
Boxing Day: Special hourly service between 10am and 6pm on routes 1, 2, 13, 14, 15, 28, 30, 32, 42, 43, 51 and 54
Saturday 27th: Normal service
Sunday 28th: Normal service
Monday 29th/Tuesday 30th: Saturday service, though no Nightbuses. I presume the 350 will operate to a normal timetable however based on EYMS's plans
New Years Eve: As 29th/30th but no services after 8pm
New Years Day: No service
Friday 2nd: As 29th/30th. Seems odd the normal Friday nightbuses won't run.

Yet again the Boxing Day services are operating, which I think Hull City Council fund. Wierd that larger cities such as Sheffield are only just re-starting to do this after many years with no services. Though after a few years with this basic network, maybe time to operate half hourly on the busier routes such as the 15 and 51. Also why not try doing the X62 since Leeds City Centre shops will be open? And maybe even a New Years Day service too? Yes the shops aren't all open, but no doubt places like Kingswood Leisure Park will be.

Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes Christmas/New Year Services

Stagecoach Grimsby/Cleethorpes Christmas and New Year Service provision:

Christmas Eve: Normal service until 6pm
Christmas Day/Boxing Day: No services
Saturday 27th: Normal Service
Sunday 28th: Normal Service
Monday 29th/Tuesday 30th: Saturday service, though the former Road Car routes 3, 25. 51, 150 and 250 will operate as normal
Wednesday 31st: As 29th/30th but with a 6pm finish
Thursday 1st: No Services
Friday 2nd: As 29th/30th

Would be nice to see a trial Boxing Day service on the core 13/14 and 9 routes...

Friday 28 November 2008

Scunthorpe-Doncaster rail line to shut for works next year

Network Rail will shut the Scunthorpe-Doncaster rail line at some point next summer to deal with subsidence problems. No further details released yet but it's a good job the Brigg line has been upgraded recently since it will be vitally important for diverted freight and passenger trains. Maybe there will even be a weekday passenger service on the line for the first time in over 15 years?

Friday 21 November 2008

The Iron Express

Scunthorpe United (The Iron) have arranged a new bus service from Kirton for their match on Saturday. It will be operated by Barnard Coaches and serve Scotter, Messingham, Bottesford and Ashby. This initial service is a trial and if successful wiill be expanded with new routes.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Bizarre incident in Brigg

A ill Hornsby Bus Driver crashed his bus into six cars in Brigg on Saturday, but couldn't recall doing so at all. Rather bizarre - lets hope the driver gets better and the car owners get compensated and their cars repaired quickly.

First Scunthorpe Bus Lane Proposed

North Lincolnshire Council are proposing Scunthorpe's 1st ever bus lane, down Oswald Road. It would cost £30,000 with work starting in the spring if it goes ahead. The bus lane would run between Mary Street and Station Road and be in operation between 3.30 and 6.30 Monday to Saturdays, requiring 18 parking spaces to be put out of bounds. The area is cited as a traffic bottleneck, something I have witnessed a couple of times.

Whether a bus lane is the answer though is a different matter, and those commenting on the Scunthorpe Telegraph article dont seem to think it is.

Friday 14 November 2008

New KC Stadium Railway Station

The KC Stadium, Hull Forward, Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council have proposed a new rail halt on Argyle Street to serve both the Hull Royal Infirmary and the KC Stadium. The station would be at the junction of the Bridlington and Brough lines. Steer Davies Gleave, the transport consultants, have been appointed to carry out a feasibility study.

When first proposed in 1998, the price tag was £3million but this is likely to have increased.

While in principle this sounds like a great idea, it would only be about 2 minutes travel time by train from Paragon Station. For the relatively fit, the distance from the station to the KC Stadium is walkable, while there are also frequent buses. Would the train operators be prepared to serve a station so near to Paragon, and is it really needed? If the KC Stadium management company, as a private company, wish to spend their own money on this then fair enough, but in my opinion anyway, public money could be better spent elsewhere on the local transport network. Improving Castle Street in Hull just one example.

Thursday 13 November 2008

EYMS January Service Changes

Looks like early January will see quite a few changes to local bus services. EYMS have today registered with VOSA to amend the following services:
  • 1A/1C: Since September's service changes these two services are no longer linked but remain on the same registration with VOSA and therefore maybe only one of the services will be altered. The 1A links Hull City Centre with Sibelius Road in West Hull via the Boulevard area. The 1C links Kingswood with Sibelius Road via the City Centre and omits the Boulevard area, operating straight down Hessle Road
  • 41: Hull-Greatfield-Asda Bilton
  • 64: Hull-Cottingham-Willerby
  • 102/105: Hull-University-Cottingham
  • 115: Hull-Endike Lane-Cottingham
  • 121: Hull-Beverley-Driffield-Bridlington-Scarborough
  • 155: Hull-Brough-South Cave-Gilberdyke (evening journeys extend to Howden)
  • 156: Goole-Howden-Gilberdyke (some journeys extend to South Cave and Brough)
  • 158: Brough Town Service

It should be noted these could be minor changes. Further details will be posted when released.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

New Ferriby-Beverley service; further details

As already posted, EYMS will begin a new service, the 144, between Ferriby and Beverley on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2nd December. The timetable has now been released which shows one journey each way, giving just over two hours in Beverley. The service will operate via Swanland and Kirk Ella before serving Willerby and Cottingham, duplicating the hourly 180 service. So it looks like Ferriby, Swanland and Kirk Ellas are being relied on to fill the service, which also serves Castle Hill Hospital. Lets hope it is a success.

Friday 7 November 2008

Service 270 (Driffield-Beeford) reduction

Due to the withdrawal of subsidy from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, EYMS will cancel three evening journeys on service 270 between Driffield and Beeford after Friday 21st November. These depart Driffield at 1710, 1800 and 1900 and Beeford at 1735, 1830 and 1930. The journeys operate on weekdays only.

The remaining EYMS services on the route are the 0710 (Monday to Friday) and 0830 (Saturday) from Beeford to Driffield and the 0730 Driffield to Bridlington (Monday to Friday School Holidays only).

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Scunthorpe Town Service Changes

Stagecoach operated evening and Sunday Scunthorpe town services, 31A and 32A will have revised times from Monday 28th October, and new Sunday morning journeys added.

Wednesday 15 October 2008

EYMS order new buses

Welcome investment is reported in the November issue of Buses magazine. EYMS have ordered 20 brand new low floor double deckers - Volvo B9TL's with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork - for delivery in spring and early summer next year.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

New EYMS Ferriby-Beverley service?

Posted on the VOSA website today:

Registration Accepted:
Starting Point: Ferriby, Corby Park
Finish Point: Beverley, Sow Hill Bus Station
Service Number: 144
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 02-DEC-2008
Other Details: Tuesdays & Fridays

For those who don't know the system, bus operators have to nofity VOSA of new, altered or cancelled services. So it looks like there will be a new North Ferriby-Beverley service from December. Further details awaited.

Humber Bridge Tolls

Yesterday saw the publication of a report into the impact of Humber Bridge Tolls. You can read it here -

In eveidence submitted by bus operators Stagecoach and EYMS they say toll reductions are unlikely to see significant changes in fares or demand. The current bus toll is £8, but this is apparently a small part of operating costs.

From my last trip to Scunthorpe, I remember the bus fare from Barton was about the same as the Barton-Hull fare (currently £5.90). Hull is about 10-15 minutes nearer to Barton on the bus than Scunthorpe so making an educated guess the toll is about £1 of the bus fare. Bit 'back of a fag packet' but it does seem to support the evidence that other costs are far more significant than the bridge toll. However in the case of the X1, Hull to Grimsby service, a couple of years ago the bridge toll was one cost too far in terms of it being commercially viable.

So one would assume that reducing bridge tolls to nominal levels to cover maintenance would only lead to small fare decreases. 50p less is unlikely to be enough to tempt passengers from their cars to an hourly service on either the 350 or X1 that if you miss the bus you have to wait an hour. Or you can't go to the supermarket on your way home. Even if the 350 goes half hourly, a slight reduction in fares is unlikely to cause significant changes in demand, any change in demand would come from the frequency increase and extra options this gives passengers.

This point is made by Stagecoach and EYMS, saying a significant shift in fares would be needed to increase demand. Significant shifts in fares require significant changes in other costs such as fuel and staffing. The bus operators also mention concessionary bus pass users - those that will travel regardless of the fares - and quite a few of them use the 350 and X1. Makes no difference to them what the fare or bridge toll is.

Furthermore one must remember than any reduction in tolls for all users means cars as well - bus services could loose some passengers back to their cars. So all in all reductions in tolls for everyone will make very little difference to bus fares and bus services. Indeed with the 350 possibly going half hourly at current tolls, it shows that bridge tolls are not currently a crucial factor in service provision decisions.

But how likely are reduction in tolls for everyone - in other words the bridge debt being paid off? No sign of the government doing so. Maybe this is were the chance for buses are?

Getting bridge tolls for buses reduced further (as opposed to reductions for everyone) would still be hard but if it hapenned, leading to slight reductions in bus fares, compared to rising bridge tolls (increase due soon) for car users, could it start to make the bus more attractive? Help make the case for increased frequencies? Get car users onto public transport? That last point is obviously aligned with national policies as well as local government transport and environmental targets.

The Humber Bridge tolls are are huge cost for all users, notably hospital patients. And they damage the local economy. For the area as a whole getting the bridge tolls reduced would be great, though for bus services, could even be negative. But the chance of that are slim so maybe reductions or elimination for certain users are needed - and as well as health patients maybe bus operators can make a case to recieve some reductions or elimination?

Hope that wasn't too rambling or boring just a personal analysis of the situation.

Thursday 18 September 2008

New Buses for the 350?

Yes, another post about the 350 (Scunthorpe-Barton-Hull if you don't know), but some interesting news. Buried within the 'Fleet News' section of the October Buses magazine are reports that Stagecoach East Midlands have three new MAN 18.240/Alexander Dennis Enviro 300 buses (low floor single deckers) are on order for Scunthorpe depot, and in particular service 350.

New, low floor buses are obviously welcome but this does create a number of questions. Firstly is the service being upgraded from it's basic hourly Monday to Saturday frequency to half hourly - something the Stagecoach East Midlands MD has mentioned in an interview in the past with Bus and Coach Buyer magazine?

If this is the case the basic service would require 6 buses - but what about the other three buses (only 3 on order). Would these be from EYMS, or Stagecoach Hull - and if from Stagecoach Hull why not brand new ones to match the Scunthorpe ones?

Or is it just an investment in vehicles and no frequency increase? In which case why three vehicles - currently the basic daytime service uses 2 Stagecoach Scunthorpe buses and 1 EYMS bus. Is the third bus a spare, to operate some of the extra services on the route at peak times, or to replace EYMS - but to replace EYMS's journey's from the Scunthorpe end would require a lot of dead mileage.

Questions, Questions, Questions. All should become clear in time and of course it hasn't been confirmed by Stagecoach that these buses are coming yet. But a frequency increase would be very welcome - to removing standing on busy services and to help increase custom - and on a personal note as some one who will be using the 350 almost daily very soon, to reduce waiting times in Hull between other services and the 350. 55 minutes is a long time to wait when you have just missed a bus.

Finally, a comment about Humber Bridge tolls. These are due to rise again soon and in the local press coverage it has emerged that a 2006 deal which saw council's reduce bridge tolls for buses by 35% has not been renewed after expiry of the deal back in April. Hardly going to help the case for more buses over the bridge. Funding needs to be found to reduce tolls for buses to nominal levels (such as £1 or £2) in order to encourage more bus services over the bridge, at cheaper fares, to attract people out of their cars, reducing congestion and pollution.

Thursday 11 September 2008

Driffield Town Service

Keith Easton has advised that Acklams Coaches have replaced EYMS operating the tendered Driffield Town Service under contract to East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

See the comment to this previous blog post

Monday 1 September 2008

EYMS Bridlington Sunday retimings

From Sunday 14th September, EYMS will be retiming Bridlington Town Services 506 and 508 on Sundays to improve reliability.

Friday 22 August 2008

Stagecoach Hull Changes Update

The new Stagecoach Hull timetables are now on their website so I can clarify some points about their forthcoming service changes:

The imrpovement to the evening service on route 14 seems to be an increase to half hourly, though some of the extra journeys operate Fridays and Saturdays only. The 38 which is being diverted to Bransholme will have peak time extensions to Kingswood Kingsbury Avenue supported by Hull City Council. And the 40/42 changes involve some journeys on the 42 being renumbered as 42C and returning to Hull as a service 40 (and vice versa) to provide a circular service around Greatfield.

And well done to Stagecoach for their new timetables - much clearer maps, details of night buses in all timetables and a great list of all destinations served from Hull by Stagecoach, listed with their service number. Also all services in one area have been grouped in one timetable (e.g. 13/14/15 in Orchard Park) and each timetable has been given it's own colour.

Publicity for buses on the South Bank

Now it's time for bus publicity on the south bank to be put under the spotlight. Operator wise Stagecoach is the only large operator and they produce timetables for all their services. Some include maps and tourist information, such as the 350 timetable, while others are just a timetable. Quite to easy to work out which are the most important services!

Scunthorpe town services are all included in one small guide with a map of summary of the 'out of town' buses. Hornsby services are also included in what is a useful little guide. Hornsby themselves also produce a timetable for their main out of town route, service 4 to Brigg - but it's just a timetable with not even a front cover.

So now for the councils, and first North Lincolnshire Council. They produce 7 timetable guides with timetables, a route description and a map of the services in timetable on the back cover. These cover all areas of the county apart from Scunthorpe town services (the Stagecoach guide does that). These are OK, the timetables are easy to read, there are details of connections at Barton and the bright coloured front covers are eyecatching but the way they are organised could be done better.

Currently all the Brigg timetables are in one guide - great. But for Barton you need three different timetables. Confusing. This is probably to remove duplication of timetables amongst different guides but in my opinion duplication is a sacrifice worth making for simplifying the number of guides. They you could have one for say Barton and the Humber Bank Villages, one for Brigg and Kirton, one for Winterton area and one for the Isle of Axholme. Thats only 4 guides to produce, and the number of timetables in more than one guide would probably be quite low.

Town maps would also be useful - these are included in the council's rural bus map - but that is just full of errors. See this post I made on the Transport East Midlands forum -
With that many mistakes its a way of confusing people and putting them off using the bus, rather than attracting them to the bus network.

Moving onto North East Lincolnshire they publish one bus timetable guide for the whole area, and it includes a summary of train services (though omitting the Brigg Line and Summer Sunday Barton line service) as well as bus stand information at Grimsby Riverhead Bus Station and an area map. A separate bus map is also produced; theres a couple of errors in that but overall not bad.

So at least basic information is produced on the south bank, and in some places it's a lot better than basic. But still room for improvement and proof reading.

Monday 18 August 2008

Publicity for Buses on the North Bank

Thought I would take a brief look at the publicity produced for bus services in the region, firstly on the North Bank in Hull and East Yorkshire.

Both main bus operators in the area; Stagecoach and EYMS publish timetables for all their services. These are clear and easy to read, and often include maps. Both companies use their 'house colours' for their timetables which means Stagecoach's are a bit more brighter than EYMS's - but crucially both do their job of informing passengers when and were services run.

Stagecoach also produce a handy map of their network with summary timetables of their main services. The frequency of other services are also shown.

Some other operators in the area also produce their own timetables - notably Yorkshire Coastliner with their excellent timetable guide with detailed town maps, tourist information and a guide on how to use the bus (for new users) as well as the timetable.

So what about the councils? First for Hull City Council - I've not seen a Hull City Council timetable for a few years (please correct me if I'm wrong) but then their is very little need for any. Hull is served by only three operators; EYMS, Stagecoach and Veolia. The first two produce their own timetables while Veolia's services are included in publicity provided by others, except the park and ride service 700 which is turn up and go when it is operating. However to bring the whole network together, Hull City Council produce an excellent bus map, complete with a summary of the frequency of every service in Hull.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council produce an A4 sized comprehensive timetable book of every service in the East Riding. It also doubles up as a business directory and I presume that is how it is funded. But it does the job - some maps would be useful though - and from my point of view an indication of which services are subsidised as the old East Riding timetable books of the late 1990's used to do. However many passengers don't care so not a major issue.

Overall services in Hull and East Yorkshire have some good publicity produced for them. Room for improvement but it could be a lot worse.

Big Bus Day 2008

Raising Money for the NSPCC, EYMS will hold their annual Big Bus Day on Saturday 6th September 2008 at the Hull Streetlife Museum. More Information -

More EYMS Service Change News

This should be the last installment in the recent bus 'cuts' saga in Hull and East Yorkshire. It has been announced that service 135 between Driffield and Sledmere will continue with a minor timing change. EYMS had handed this contract back to East Yorkshire Council who must have reawarded it to EYMS with an increase in subsidy.

East Yorkshire Council have also stepped in to ensure the contiuing operation of Saturday services on routes 173/174/175 between Hull and Withernsea - EYMS had intended to withdraw these commercial services.

Mysteriously EYMS has said that the revised service 1A is still to be confirmed by Hull City Council.

Other EYMS news includes retimings on service 246 (Hull-Beverley-Hornsea) and 744 (Bridlington-York via Driffield and Pocklington) as well as re-routings within Hull City Cehtre for services 33/34/44/45/47/115. The revised timetables for 41 and 154 have also been released; changes to these services were announced in July.

Finally Driffield Town Service 530 will be operated by a new operator (if you know who it is please leave a comment to this post) while some EYMS journeys on service 270 (Driffield-Beeford-Bridlington) will be operated by a new operator under contract to East Yorkshire Council. Again dont know who this new operator is but at a guess Manor Travel who already operate journeys on the 270. Not sure if these changes are a result of usual tendering or because EYMS have handed the contracts back because off fuel prices. Sorry for all the uncertainty but its a part of the region I'm not famillar with and I can't find any related press articles.

Saturday 9 August 2008

Hull Bus Cuts Salvage Operation Continues - and some increases including new all night bus services

Sorry for the long title but there is a lot to cover!!!

First of all the fate of the 9 and 1A - the 9 is axed while the 1A is reduced from hourly and diverted to serve the Boulevard area formerly served by the 9 (and 23/24). A big downgrade in service here. The new frequency of 4 return journeys has very poor co-ordination with EYMS's service 1C which it will still parallel for part of it's route. The 1A will still be operated by EYMS.

Now to the city circle service 23/24 which has become the 10/11 (still operated by Stagecoach) and will no longer serve Hessle Road, Marfleet or Victoria Dock, nor will it run on Sundays any more. But it's not as simple as that ... but complicated in this case means an improvement for some on weekdays.

The 10 will operate hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes via Spring Bank, Orchard Park, Kingswood, Sutton Park, Bransholme, Ings Road, Longhill, Bilton Grange and Greatfield. It will use the same number in both directions.

The improvement comes with service 11, again hourly but only on weekdays. It omits Longhill and Greatfield, following a different route to the 10 in East Hull. It will replace hourly Monday to Saturday service 52A from Hull to Sutton Village. Combined with the 10, certain sections of the city circle in North Hull will have a half hourly service.

It should be noted this is the 50th year of the City Circular service. The early morning circular services 25/26 have been withdrawn.

Now for Stagecoach's other service changes:
  • Increase in peak time frequency on the 13 to Orchard Park. Evening 13C buses will no longer serve Kingswood.
  • Service 14 to Orchard Park has an improved evening timetable, whatever that is, while the 15 gets extra morning peak time journeys and an increased Sunday frequency.
  • Service 30 to North Bransholme has an improved late evening timetable.
  • Service 32 to Sutton Park and Bransholme is increased to every 10 minutes in the afternoon peak but reduced to every 15 minutes (from every 12 minutes) on Saturdays.
  • Hourly service 38 to Garden Village and Sutton Village is diverted to terminate at Bransholme's North Point Shopping Centre rather than Salthouse Road.
  • Services 40 and 42C will be revised to offer a new circular service linking a medical centre to 'a wider area' operating every 20 minutes weekday daytimes every 15 minutes on Saturdays and hourly in the evenings.
  • Extra journeys on service 42 to Greatfield to ensure a weekday frequency of every 10 minutes.
  • Greatfield service 43 reduced from every 10 to every 15 minutes on Saturdays
  • Service 51 to Kingswood via Holderness Road will be upgraded to Frequento status with new buses
  • Service 63 to Cottingham will see two journeys withdrawn on weekdays and the Saturday service halfed from half hourly to hourly.

And the big news is that the N2 to Hessle and N51 to Bransholme will now operate all night on Friday and Saturday nights with hourly departures from Hull City Centre.

Stagecoach change details in their own words -

Come across a Hull City Council press release too which states that the 50 will operate as present. Hull City Council have done the best they can it would seem to retain services with no extra money. No area is left without a service I dont think. And on the whole Stagecoach are boosting their core commercial network, hopefully to help long term sustainability, with the all night services a very nice innovation - hope it works out well.

Hull City Council Press Release -,93203&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_id=1835&p_month=Aug-08&p_page_number=1

Friday 8 August 2008

Hull Bus Cuts Salvage Operation commences

A few weeks ago East Yorkshire Motor Services and Stagecoach Hull announced major cutbacks - or in most cases more correctly described as handing back contracts to operate tendered services.

The handed back services included Stagecoach's 49 to Victoria Dock and Bilton Grange plus EYMS's 90 to Victoria Dock and 50 to Marfleet. The City Circle services were also diverted away from Victoria Dock.

Now Hull City Council have decided how these area will be served in the future. The 49 has been saved, albeit on a reduced daytime frequency of every 70 minutes. It will now be operated by EYMS. In addition a new service 46 will operate Monday to Saturday daytimes only between Hull City Centre, the Marina, Victoria Dock and Marfleet every 75 minutes. This too will be operated by EYMS. It should be noted that Victoria Dock is also served by EYMS's infrequent commercial service 78 between Hull and Hedon.

The Hull Daily Mail has a report about this today - well sort off - it lacks any specific details but says:
Last month, East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) and Stagecoach in Hull announced cuts to services 1A, 9, 23, 24, 49, 50 and 90 in the city, citing the rising cost of fuel as one of the main reasons behind the move.
Following the announcement, the council launched a passenger survey in a bid to see which routes were priorities to save.As a result, five of the seven at-risk routes are either continuing as they currently run or being adapted to fit into other services.

So the 49 is being continued and we know that the 23 and 24 will become the 10 and 11 (see earlier blog posts). The 90 and part of the 50 look to be replaced by the new service 46. So that would leave the 1A and 9 to be axed. The 1A duplicates the hourly 1C but the 9 serves areas in Hull that along with changes to the 23/24 will be left without a bus service. Will have to wait and see if I have correctly guessed what will happen.

Monday 28 July 2008

A Bus Ride to Hull

Needing to go to shops outside of Barton today I caught the 350 bus to Hull this morning. The service links Hull, Barton and Scunthorpe operating hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes with reduced frequencies in the evening and on Sundays and Bank Holidays. It is operated by Stagecoach in Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and Veolia/Dunn Line/Alpha Coaches (Sundays only).

The main daytime service uses three buses - two from Stagecoach's Scunthorpe depot and one East Yorkshire bus. Stagecoach use Volvo/Wright full size single deckers while EYMS use a double decker - a Volvo Olympian, Plaxton President or Eclipse Gemini. Catching the 0910 from Scunthorpe in Barton Market Place, the service was operated by an EYMS Olympian. I chose this service on purpose for the better view from a double decker and also to ensure I got a seat. By the time we left Barton we had about 65 passengers on board - and then picked up a few more on the North Bank. Rather glad it wasn't a Stagecoach single decker!!! Good healthy mix as well of families, OAP's and those aged in between.

In Hull the service operated along Boothferry Road and Anlaby Road and is limited stop in certain places. It creates the spectacle of passing bus stops with passengers who let the service go by, and then driving straight past stops with passengers trying to hail the bus down. No doubt the restrictions are to aid time keeping (rather important with train connections to keep at Barton) and to minimise revenue abstraction from other services. But for the sake of a couple of passengers would it be better to remove these restrictions? It would also open up new stops to South Bank passengers such as the KC Stadium - Barton does have a lot of Hull City fans, though not me.

A couple of passengers got off at Hull Royal Infirmary - why isn't this a timing point? More and more hospital patients from the South Bank have to go there, both routine, and emergencies from the Barton area as well (it's the nearest hospital). Potential to attract more passengers if they knew about it.

Anyway getting into Hull we didn't pull up into the allocated stand since the next 350, being operated by an EYMS President was on stand. It didn't look to have many passengers on but it was early for shoppers to be going home (1025). It should be noted that the 350 has a good stand at Hull Bus Station being one of the nearest to the Shops, Travel Centre and Fernesway.

Having got my shopping very quickly I caught the 1125 return operated by Stagecoach and Volvo/Wright single decker. Counting the passengers getting off I think there were only 34 - just over half the service an hour earlier - a surprising big difference. Even more surprising was the 20 or so passengers on the journey back to Barton - I thought there would be far less since it was still early for shoppers to return home.

On leaving Hull the bus goes around via the Prospect Centre - great - apart from the fact it doesn't stop there. To try and improve time keeping for train connections, the Friends of the Barton Line want the service diverted via Park Street but that depends on bridge strengthening. Might as well go this way since the current Prospect Centre route serves no purpose.

Overall the 350 is a popular service with capacity issues at times - I've caught a Stagecoach single decker to Scunthorpe on a Saturday before that had about 10 standees leaving Barton. Double deckers are the answer but when there are strong winds these are banned from the Humber Bridge. EYMS have a large fleet from which to find a single decker instead but the spare buses at Stagecoach's tend to be double deckers.

So the solution is to increase frequency to half hourly with single deckers. This plan was revealed by Stagecoach East Midlands MD in an interview with a trade magazine last year. A higher frequency should hopefully attract new customers - 55 minutes is a long wait if you missed the last bus, 25 minutes less so. Hopefully East Yorkshire would retain double deckers though for tourists wanting a ride over the Humber Bridge.

Finally a note on publicity - there is now a dedicated timetable, and it is available at Hull Interchange. In the past it was just a Nortth Lincolnshire Council timetable or a RoadCar leaflet available on the South Bank only. Stagecoach also mention the service in their Hull Bus Guide though actually showing it on the map would be good too since it is part of the Hull Bus Network and does have North Bank customers.

Monday 14 July 2008

More cutbacks in Hull - now Stagecoach

More cutbacks in Hull to report I'm afraid - now it's Stagecoach's turn to hand back two contracts - the 9 and 49 routes, operated for Hull City Council. There will be changes to others too. Fuel prices being blamed. Now before I continue, this information is based off a press article since there appears to be no details on the Stagecoach Hull website yet (could be my computer playing up though).

Details of EYMS's cutbacks -

The first 'contract handed back' (I say that beacuse Hull City Council could retender the service) is the 9 which links Hull City Centre and Hull Royal Infirmary with Boulevard, Hawthorn Avenue, Asda on Hessle Road and The Junction retail park. It operates every 70 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. Most of the route is duplicated by the 23/24 City Circle but routes but not for much longer, which I will come to later. So this area goes from 2 to no buses per hour.

The other contract handed back is the 49 between Hull City Centre, Victoria Dock, the Preston Road Estate and Bilton Grange. It operates every 40 minutes or so Monday to Saturday daytimes. Much of the route in Bilton Grange and the Preston Road Estate is not served by other buses. Victoria Dock is ... but maybe not for much longer. EYMS have hande the route 90 contract back, and the city circle is being withdrawn from the area (see later) leaving just a few infrequent buses to Hedon on EYMS - and these don't serve The Deep.

Now for the city circle changes. It will no longer serve Hessle Road, Askew Avenue or Spring Bank West in West Hull, nor Marfleet and Victoria Dock in East Hull. The Sunday service will be withdrawn and the service shall be renumbered from 23/24 to 10/11. From this it can be guessed the new route will take buses from Hull up Spring Bank to join the current route in the West of the City, and the service will operate via Preston Road instead of via Marfleet and Victoria Dock.

The implications for Victoria Dock and Boulevard have already been discussed. However Askew Avenue is already seeing 1 bus an hour being withdrawn (EYMS's 1A). With this move it will go from 3 to 1 bus an hour, the 1C operated by EYMS. Meanwhile with EYMS serice 50 under threat, Marfleet could be left with just Hedon and Withernsea services operating on the main Hedon Road.

Since the city circle is a subsidised service it is assumed these changes will reduce operating costs to a level that Stagecoach can sustain on their current subsidy. Maybe a reduction in the number of buses required?

Other changes include withdrawing two journeys on the 63 service between Hull and Cottingham plus unspecified changes to the 13, 14, 15, 28, 30, 32, 38, 40, 42, 42C, 43, 51 and 52A.

Sadly it seems to be same few areas seeing most of the cuts. Hull City Council could retender all services how they are now, but that would require a huge increase in their bus budget. More likely they will have to make difficult decisons on what services to keep subsidising and which to drop altogether. These services may see low usage, but local uproar at cuts may not be a good thing politically. Glad I'm not a councillor right now ...

New Air Humberside Forum

The Air Humberside Forum has moved to I'm afraid previous members will have to re-register. The old forum can still be visited to see past posts.

Saturday 12 July 2008

EYMS cuts

East Yorkshire Motor Services has announced a series of cutbacks to it's network, and one improvement, in response to it's announcement last week that fuel prices threaten marginal services. Concessionary Fares are also a factor in these cutbacks.

However there seems to be un-informed over dramtisation of the situation in some places since most of the affected services are tendered or part supported by Hull City Council or East Riding of Yorkshire Council. EYMS are handing contracts back in because the subsidy they are paid no longer covers the costs - it is entirely possible they will win the contract back at a higher subsidy. The problem comes that to keep alll axed services going more subsidy will be needed that at current. Without an increase in the council budget for bus services some cuts are likely but most of the cuts wil hopefully be salvageable.

The cuts are proposed from 31st August, and are outlined below, with some thoughts on them.

The 90 between Hull, The Deep and Victoria Dock estate will be axed. It operates every 30-60 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. However most of the route is also served by Stagecoach service 49 which operates every 30-40 minutes between Hull and Bilton Grange. Victoria Dock is also served by EYMS's own 78/79/80 group of services to Hedon that operate every 30-90 minutes and the hourly 23/24 city circle bus operated by Stagecoach. Hull City Council will have to decide if remaining services provide adequate provision, if these services need increasing or if the 90 needs retaining.

Next on the cuts list is the 50 between Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull, James Reckitt Avenue, a Morrisons Supermarket and Marfleet. There are 5 journeys Monday to Saturday daytimes and for large parts of the route it is the only bus service. This would indicate low demand, but withdrawing it would remove easy access to the bus network for many people. Hull City Council will have to weigh up these factors in deciding if to issue a new tender for it.

Now for a route that while technically chopped, in reality is a frequency reduction. The 1C is operated hourly by EYMS between Kingswood, Hull, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hessle Road, Anlaby Park and Sibelius Road. This is unaffected but the 1A will be withdrawn - with the exception of a route variation within Hull City Centre this is the same route as the 1A between Hull and Sibelius Road and provides a half hourly frequency on this section. With it gone frequency will be down to hourly. The 1A/1C is partly funded by Hull City Council but if this support is for the whole route or part of it is not known.

The question for Hull City Council is, is an hourly service enough? Parts of the route also see other services, with the 1A/1C being exclusive only to parts of Pickering Road and Sibelius Road.

Next up is the 602 - a link between Hull and British Aerospace in Brough, and the second British Aerospace bus to be axed this year.
Just one British Aerospace bus now remains from a once extensive network.

The final axed route is the 135, a service is rural East Yorkshire linking Driffield with villages including Sledmere and Wetwang. Since Im unsure if East Riding of Yorkshire Council have any demand responsive bus schemes in the area I won't comment on the likelyhood of the service continuing.

However those cuts are not everything. The Saturday journeys on the 173/174/175 group of services between Hull, Burton Pidsea and Withernsea are axed. They provided peak time and shopping links into Hull. This leaves just weekday peak time journeys. These services are comercially operated. Some of the affected villages are also served by the 220/221 Hull-Hornsea services, and Pearsons Coaches service 76C from Preston and Humbleton to Withernsea. East Riding of Yorkshire Council has to decide if this is enough provision for the area.

The final cutback affects every 15 minute service 41 between Hull Royal Informary, Hull, Greatfield and Bilton. It will reduce to every 20 minutes and no longer serve Hull Royal Infirmary - a recent innovative way to attract extra customers and a useful link sadly lost. It appears Greatfield isn't great bus teritory but it's a shame EYMS can't afford to be innovative like Stagecoach to tackle the problem

That is it ... for now. At the end of the EYMS press release Peter Shipp warns if the situation does not improve further cutbacks will come

One bit of good news though, the 154 between Hull, Willerby and Cottingham serving both the Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital will increase from half hourly to every 20 minutes.

AND after writing all that some quotes from the Hull Daily Mail which do show that there has been some over dramatisation:
Hull City Council is conducting surveys to determine whether to put the contract
to run the services in its area out to tender.
East Riding Council has
revealed the contract to run services in its area will go out to tender.

In some ways the over dramatisation creates headlines and draws attention to the plight of bus operators - but it does create potentially unnecessary worry. It's a shame - with fuel prices it rising it should be a chance to attract people to the bus, not withdraw or reduce their local service.

Friday 4 July 2008

Fuel Costs put marginal bus services under threat

Peter Shipp, the owner, Chairman and Chief Executive of EYMS, the main bus operator in East Yorkshire has called on the government to remove the requirement for bus operators to pay fuel duty - the current rebate does not cover all the duty charged on fuel. If not marginal routes are at risk along with more fare rises. From the EYMS press release:

“To restore the 9p shortfall would go some way towards helping
operators with the horrendous rises in fuel costs we are all suffering at the
moment and which risk more fare rises and service cuts. We have already
had to increase fares by about 5% in May, but we are now paying about £55,000
more for diesel each week than in January 2007, and at best the fares increase
can bring in only about one-third of that weekly amount.”

“We are also having to look very carefully at some marginal and
loss-making bus routes, and we shall be making an announcement shortly.
Such routes have in the past been supported by the profits we make on other
routes, but those profits are now being slashed and our ability to subsidise the
poor routes is greatly reduced.”

This blog agrees with Peter Shipp - the government want more people using public transport - scarpping the rebate will help to maintain services and therefore public transport passengers.

Stagecoach have also been forced to increase fares on the X62 Hull to Leeds service due to the rising fuel prices.

Barton Town Service Changes

From next week (7th July) changes will be made to the Barton Town Service (route 254). It will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays instead of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and should be upgraded to a low floor bus. There will be changes to the times and the Bowmandale service shall now operate via Horkstow Road instead of Millfields. The service is operated by Hornsby Travel of Ashby under contract to North Lincolnshire Council with further financial support from Barton Town Council.

While on the subject of town bus services in Barton, it would be nice if the Caistor Road Estate in Barton could have a 6 day a week service again. For a short period the X21 (remember that - it ran between Hull and Cleethorpes) operated via the estate. Considering it is a 2 minute detour surely it can't be that hard to do and wouldn't affect journey times too much. The ideal to service to divert would be the weekday Villager service between Barton and Goxhill but that is timetabled with no slack at all so would require the hourly pattern to be abandoned.

Therefore Stagecoach's 250 Barton to Grimsby service may be a better option. It's only every two hours, not low floor, and doesn't serve Tesco (but does serve the nearby railway station and could easily be extended) but would provide a 6 day a week service. It could also be easily timetabled to leaving Grimsby a couple of minutes earlier and getting back a couple of minutes later.

This would also allow the town service to be increased to other parts of the town, and it could also provide extra journeys to the Caistor Road Estate to supplement the 250, and maybe serve parts of the estate not currently served. Furthermore the town service could extend to Victoria House allowing a Friday variation to the Villager service to be withdrawn.

Just an idea of how bus services in my home town could be improved with no extra resources.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Beverley Town Bus Route Restored

Last month I reported that East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) were withdrawing commercially operated Monday to Saturday services on Beverley Town Service route 522.

Now reports on the East Yorkshire Buses Yahoo Group say a replacement service is being offered by Acklams Coaches on a subsidised basis. However there is reportedly an issue with the tendering process and if it was carried out properly.

Monday 30 June 2008

Stagecoach East Midlands Annual Performance Review

An attempt to get some free publicity and look good or being a responsible organisation updating stakeholders on progress? I'll let you decide after reading Stagecoach East Midland's Annual Performance Review.

Stagecoach East Midlands covers Stagecoach Hull, Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes, Stagecoach Lincolnshire (former RoadCar business) and Worksop and Mansfield depots. So East Midlands isn't the best name but geographically it makes sense as a grouping.

Getting onto the report it starts by outlining what Stagecoach has done in the area last year. Hull is seeing good growth of 3% compared to last year carrying 17 million passengers. Investment in Frequento services with new or cascaded low floor buses seems to be paying off.

Grimsby and Cleethorpes have seen higher growth at 10% and the report mentions the X1 New Waltham to Hull service via Grimsby which after past threats to it's future is performing well with a 15% increase in customers.

However no such claims for Scunthorpe which may indicate poorer performance. The report comments on changes to 'minimise the impact of loss making routes in Crosby and Berkeley'. Sadly the report makes no mention of interurban routes such as the 350 (Hull-Barton-Scunthorpe) or Lincoln services from Scunthorpe and Grimsby.

The report notes that £1 million has been added to the fuel bill in the last year and comments the trend is likely to continue. More fare increases on the way?

The report continues to cover issues such as Health and Safety, the environment and staff. Sadly the 'Looking Forward' section does not include any improvements or investment in the Humber region but commercial considerations could prevent that, or plans may not be finalised. From an interview in a trade magazine last year with the Stagecoach East Midlands Managing Director, we know investment was being considered, including doubling the 350 to half hourly with new buses (Something I would certainly welcome, but thats something for another time).

Stagecoach attempt to increase bus usage in Greatfield (Hull)

While this blog will not normally over fare or ticketing issues, a new offer from Stagecoach Hull has caught my eye - the Greatfield RouteRider. It allows for 7 days unlimited travel on the main bus routes that serve the Greatfield estate in east Hull - the 40, 42 and 43 (plus variations 40A and 43C). It will be available for £5 in July.

Stagecoach say the reason for the new offer is that services to Greatfield do not see the same 'positive growth in bus usage' that other parts of the city see. It is pleasing to see an operator trying to rectify the situation rather than concentrating elsewhere in the city and letting these services decline.

Thursday 26 June 2008

National Express East Coast has officially announced its plans for a Cleethorpes-London Kings Cross service which would be provided by extending one of it's new Lincoln services. In the absence of an official press release on the NXEC website full details are provided on The Railway Centre website

The plans have not yet been approved.

The extended services would call at Cleethorpes, Grimsby Town and Market Rasen - but not Barnetby (or Habrough). How attractive would this service be to people in the likes of Barton, Brigg and Scunthorpe? If you have to drive into Grimsby, or down to Market Rasen you may as well drive to Doncaster and have a choice of times and indeed operators. For the few extra minutes a stop at Barnetby would take another market could be opened up to London.

If you live in Barton, Brough is also rather useful except for the small issue of a bridge toll ...

Bringing this back to my earlier post on the competing proposals to link the South Humber area to London this plan has the advantage of not taking up any capacity on the East Coast Main Line since Lincoln services are happenning anyway. But if fails to serve North Lincolnshire and other proposals offer more frequency. The Office of Rail Regulation must decide if the South Humber area has the demand to support more services, and precious East Coast Main Line paths, compared to various parts of Yorkshire and the North East.

Monday 9 June 2008

EYMS withdraw a Beverley Town Service (apart from Sundays)

From Monday 23rd June East Yorkshire Motor Services are withdrawing the commercialy operated journeys on Beverley Town Service 522 to Normandy Avenue. The comercially operated journeys were on Mondays to Saturdays and operated every hour. The decision is blamed on increased congestion and rising fuel prices. Service X46 between Hull and York serves this part of Beverley as well and will continue to operate.

The Sunday service, of two journeys, remains as it is supported by East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Other Beverley Town Services are also unaffected.

EYMS Changes to service 180

From Sunday 22nd June East Yorkshire Motor Services are diverting most journeys on route 180, which links Hessle and Beverley via Willerby and Cottingham, to serve Willerby Parkway. Times will also be revised, which will also help reliability according to EYMS

Stagecoach close Louth depot

Outside the Humber Region, but will have an affect on North East Lincolnshire, is the announcement that Stagecoach in Lincolnshire will shut it's depot in Louth at the end of August due to poor financial performance. The depot has three main services

10: Lincoln-Louth-Mablethorpe (occasional journeys operated by Lincoln depot)
41: Louth Town Service
51: Louth-Grimsby (occasional journeys operated by Grimsby depot)

However apart from these the only other services operated from the depot are mainly school contracts, which will be surrendered. The replacement of many market day and off peak services by demand responsive Call Connect services is being blamed for the decision, since these services improved utilisation of school buses and staff. Staff and buses are being relocated to Grimsby and Skegness depots.

So what will this mean for bus services? Well the 10 is likely to be the route transferred to Skegness depot though complicated interworking or lots of dead mileage may be needed. It would not surprise your author to see Lincoln depot take on additional workings on this service. The 10 is a bit of an exception in Lincolnshire as a rural route subsidised by the County Council that they have not axed and replaced by Call Connect services, but instead recently enhanced in frequency.

The 51 will probably be all operated by Grimsby depot and this may mean changes to early morning and evening times to allow for operation from the Grimsby end rather than Louth end. However daytime frequencies and times probably won't change. This service is interworked with the 41.

Full details of the changes will probably emerge over the summer.

Tuesday 3 June 2008

The race to link South Humber with London

No service since 1992, and now 4 proposals have emerged to link the South Bank to London ... It could only happen in the world of the railways. Shouldn't complain though becuase an important rail link looks certain to be restored. So who's the competitiors in the race?

Firstly there is a proposal which first came to light in 2006, from a company called Humber Coast and City Railway, set up by Renaissance Trains, who founded both Hull Trains and WSMR. Their plan is to link Cleethorpes with Stratford (site of the 2012 Olympics) via Lincoln, Peterborough and Cambridge. Very little of late has been heard about this plan, which may mean it is no longer under consideration, or work is continuing out of the public eye.

Then earlier this year three separate proposals/aspirations were submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) - from Hull Trains, National Express East Coast and Grand Union. At the same time they presented proposals for various other new services on the East Coast Mainline and the ORR has to decide which propoals to allow since all cannot be accomodated.

Hull Trains proposed a new Cleethorpes to Kings Cross service; like the Humber Coast and City proposal it would operate via Lincoln and Sleaford to Peterborough but then via the East Coast Main Line to London Kings Cross. Parkway stations in South Lincolnshire were a big part of the plan.

National Express East Coast (NXEC) proposed extended some of their new Lincoln-London Kings Cross services to start at Cleethorpes. The Lincoln-London leg is a franchise commitment that will definetly happen.

Grand Union presented a proposal to operate from Cleethorpes to London Kings Cross calling at Grimsby Town, Habrough, Scunthorpe, Thorne South and Doncaster.

So those are the contenders, but who will win? Not going to try and guess that but heres a few thoughts ...

The Humber Coast and City Plan avoids abstracting revenue away from existing operators and apart from in Peterbourough doesn't use the congested East Coast Main Line. So thats likely to go down well with the rail industry. But that comes at a price. going from Cleethorpes to London via Lincoln, Sleaford, Peterbourgh and Cambridge is a very long route and it wouldn't surprise me if a change at Doncaster would be faster.

And is Stratford the best terminus? Sure, its a very important part of London, and great for the Docklands. But not very good for Central London. A Stratford-Cambridge/Peterborough link might be useful for commuters who already have Central London links, but I can see a Humber/Lincolnshire-Stratford link not getting that much use. Leisure travellers will mostly want Central London and many business travellers too. Finally, the West Anglia Main Line from Cambridge to Stratford is very congested too.

Now for Hull Trains. Again not the quickest route to Peterborough but at least it goes to Kings Cross. Nice plans for parkway stations in South Lincolnshire but not the strongest of the four proposals.

So the two strongest contenders in my opinion. Firstly National Express East Coast (NXEC). Their proposals use no additional East Coast Main Line capacity, simply extended trains with paths already allocated on the East Coast Main Line. Going via Lincoln and Newark is just about the most direct route possible. A very good proposal.

But the Grand Union outline plan isn't bad either. Again a fairly direct route and it serves Scunthorpe and Thorne (park and ride potential). A slight oddity is serving Habrough over Barnetby - as nice as Habrough maybe Barnetby is the bigger station - but time to change that, or even better serve both. Revenue abstratction from Doncaster maybe an issue however, and sister company Grand Central's major problems won't help at all - they can't currently run existing services never mind new ones.

Of course as well as the pros and cons of each proposal there are other issues such as the small matter of sourcing rolling stock. And the ORR may decide other areas of the country need new services more than South Humber and award track capacity to those services instead. However it is great to see a vote of confidence in the area by the four companies wanting to provide new services to the South Humber Bank. Good Luck to them all.