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 This is unaffected but the 1A will be withdrawn - with the exception of a route variation within Hull City Centre this is the same route as the 1A between Hull and Sibelius Road and provides a half hourly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.

No comments: