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 EYMS have hande the route 90 contract back, and the city circle is being withdrawn from the area (see later) leaving just a few infrequent buses to Hedon on EYMS - and these don't serve The Deep.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 The Sunday service will be withdrawn and the service shall be renumbered from 23/24 to 10/11.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 However Askew Avenue is already seeing 1 bus an hour being withdrawn (EYMS's 1A).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 ...

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