Thursday 31 December 2009

Review 2009: A Great year for Barton (not so for Immingham)

At the start of the year, Barton had hourly services to Hull and Scunthorpe, and a roughly 2 Hourly service to Grimsby (plus others to Brigg, Goxhill and East Halton). The only time a low floor bus was guaranteed to visit the town was three days a week when the town service runs (though EYMS usually sent a Gemini on some 350 journeys).

By the end of 2009 Barton's bus service has been transformed. The 350 to Hull and Scunthorpe has doubled in frequency to half hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, while the service to Grimsby is now hourly as the 45B. The 350 is fully low floor operated, and the 45B often is too.

Back in March, Stagecoach and EYMS relaunched the 350 as the Humber Fastcat with a very distinctive orange livery. Stagecoach invested in six new MAN/Enviro 300 buses for the relaunch, and their Hull depot took on two diagrams for the first time. The route was also altered, diverting down Frodingham Road in Scunthorpe and also using the Hull City Centre Loop outbound. This latter diversion has been very much appreciated by me!

A welcome new weekly ticket was also launched, though the normal fares are rather high in my opinion, and EYMS increased their Barton to Hull return fares by over 20% at the time of the relaunch.

The relaunch seems to have been a success, at least short term; passenger figures are up 30% and it was shortlisted for a UK Bus Award. Hopefully stronger passenger growth will occur in 2010, considering the increase in number of services is far more than 30%, but it's a good start. Finally, while I don't want to be too downbeat, I hope the problems affecting the Humber Flyer don't spread to the Humber Fastcat.

The second major improvement to the bus services in Barton occurred in September when the Grimsby service 250 was replaced by the 45B. A far better timetable with earlier and later journeys plus an increased hourly frequency. For South Killingholme the increase was even better, gaining a new half hourly frequency. Meanwhile Habrough gained an hourly bus service six days a week, the first time it has had a 6 day a week daytime service for a number of years.

But unlike the Humber Fastcat, this change had losers as well as winners. Immingham, Stallingborough and Healing went from 3-4 buses an hour to just 2 as the 45 was reduced from every 20 minutes to half hourly and the 250 withdrawn. The link to Victoria Street Tesco was also axed, and the historic service to Immingham Docks withdrawn and replaced by services to the MIC Plant instead. Just to add to the bad news the 'new' 45 is no longer officially low floor, though in recent weeks my observations of the 45B at least indicate most service are now low floor operated.

Winners and losers - that happens a lot with service changes. As a Bartonian I've been lucky but for Immingham the cut seems savage. Hopefully in the future Stagecoach may reconsider the level of service they provide the town.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Review 2009: Scunthorpe-Doncaster Rail Blockade

Arguably the biggest rail story in the region in the past year was the summer blockade of the railway line between Scunthorpe and Doncaster (well Thorne Junction to be exact). This led to bus replacements being required while essential engineering work was carried out. However the timing and replacement services did raise some questions.

Firstly the timing, between June and September - the peak time for tourists going to Cleethorpes. This did attract some criticism in Cleethorpes, though bluntly the freight traffic on the South Humber Main Line is more important, and from a freight perspective summer was the best time for the blockade.

From my perspective the replacement services raised the biggest questions. Firstly the line between Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe was open, yet no rail service was provided. Secondly no use was made of Brigg Line to provide an alternative through service between North East Lincolnshire and Cleethorpes. The replacement services seemed to have cost and convenience for the rail industry as the priority ahead off what was best for the customer.

The work is done now, and the blockade is in the past. But hopefully more consideration will be given to trying to provide at least limited alternative rail services where possible in future blockades, where ever they are in the country. The Network Rail 7-day railway initiative is a good start with regards to weekend work, and hopefully some of the ideas from that can be applied to longer blockades.

As a final side note, North East Lincolnshire was totally cut off from the national rail network this past Christmas weekend as Network Rail replaced a bridge at Barnetby, which did cut the village in half and adversely affect some local businesses. Again though there is probably never a perfect time to do the work, and Christmas is probably the least worst time - from a railway perspective certainly.

Review 2009: EYMS takeover Veolia's Hull operation

March 2009 saw the withdrawal of Veolia from the region as their Hull operation was transferred to EYMS. This was part of a wider withdrawal from smaller operations by Veolia that has also seen their Lincoln depot closed and their York operation sold to Transdev (who are now in merger talks with Veolia, so Veolia may get York back!).

Veolia inherited the Hull operation when they took over Dunn Line, who had in turn bought Alpha Bus and Coach earlier in the decade. The main service was the operation of the Walton Street Park and Ride, but Hull City Council stopped funding the scheme in the Spring, which would have left the Hull operation with very little work. Other than that Veolia had various tendered services across Hull and East Yorkshire, some operating only a few days a week, others only a few journeys a day. Only the Hessle Town Service could be described as a regular Monday to Saturday operation, and even that only ran in the morning and early afternoon.

EYMS integrated the former Veolia work into their network, along with the former Veolia Hull fleet, which has led to some 'oddballs' within EYMS's fleet such as a MAN 14:220 HOCL/East Lancs Mylennium single decker. In a separate move, they also took on the Walton Street Park and Ride commercially.

Veolia's departure from Hull meant that apart from EYMS and Stagecoach only local independent operators remain in Hull, and until Lords Coaches took over Saturday services 173-5 in September, only EYMS and Stagecoach operated any local bus services in Hull. However in 2010 CT Plus (Hackney Community Transport) will set up a new Hull operation, which while not part of a large group like Veolia, are not an independent either.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Review 2009: Humber Flyer

Yet again the Hull to North East Lincolnshire bus service made the news in 2009. At the start of the year it operated from Hull to New Waltham via Humberside Airport, Laceby, Grimsby and Cleethorpes as service X1.

In April the service was relaunched as the Humber Flyer. It no longer operated beyond Cleethropes, and had a new route via Hainton Avenue and Weelsby Road in Grimsby before extending to Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes. Also the route in Hull was changed to operate down Boothferry and Anlaby Roads in Hull rather than the Clive Sullivan Way. The service was also 'technically' split into two at Humberside Airport, but in reality remained the previous through service.

Overall the relaunch was a positive move, with a new brand, and newly refreshed Volvo B10B/Wright buses transferred onto the route. There was a even a new mini website launched to promote the route.

However in November the troubles of the past resurfaced again and the threat of withdrawal has resurfaced. Buses over the Humber Bridge receive subsidies to partially cover the cost of bridge tolls, but the subsidies for the Humber Flyer are in doubt after the 4 contributors - Hull City Council, Humberside Airport and North and North East Lincolnshire Council's have not provided funding for 2009/10. Without this subsidy, Stagecoach claim the service is not viable due to it's high mileage and the fact that even with subsidy, the bridge tolls remain high. The comments on the original blog on this topic add extra information to the original post.

Some hope has been provided after North East Lincolnshire councillors passed a motion for their council to commit to it's share of the subsidy for the next three years. This is an encouraging step to save this very important, and politically sensitive, local link.

Review 2009: Hull Park and Ride

During 2009, Hull's two park and ride schemes have been one of the biggest news transport stories in the region.

At the start of the year it was Hull's original Walton Street scheme. The Walton Street site is unusual for a park and ride scheme as it is rather close to the city centre. In January Hull City Council announced plans to close the scheme as part of cost cutting measures. The service was operated by Veolia. In April, shortly after EYMS took over Veolia's Hull operation they stepped in to take over the service commercially for a trial period. As of December EYMS continue operation of the service; I would expect the trial peiod to be over by now so hopefully it is performing well for them and it's longer term future is secure.

Later in the year the newer Priory Park scheme, with purpose built facilities, made the news. Since it opened in 2003 it had been operated by EYMS under contract to Hull City Council. However in September it emerged that following a tender process the contract has been awarded to CT Plus, part of London based Hackney Community Transport. They are a new operator to East Yorkshire, though do have operations in West Yorkshire.

This decision caused a lot of local outrage. In times of recession especially, some could not understand why the contract was awarded to an 'outside' operation as opposed to a local company. The decision came under review and scruitiny but it appears that the decision stands and a VOSA entry indicates an early February operator changeover.

So EYMS started the year with the Priory Park scheme and ended the year with the Walton Street scheme. Hopefully with the Walton Street scheme being operated commercially for a while now, and the new Priory Park scheme contract seemingly having been finalised, Hull's Park and Ride schemes will enjoy a less newsworthy year.

Thursday 24 December 2009

EYMS gain Goole Town Service?

Posts on the South Yorkshire Transport Forum indicate that EYMS will takeover operation of the tendered Goole Town Service from First South Yorkshire from Monday 15th February. Some welcome news for EYMS, but doesn't help First's problems in South Yorkshire.

Saturday 19 December 2009

EYMS Changes: Why they are hapenning

So far I have mostly posted about the impact and details of EYMS's February changes. But why are they happening? EYMS's press release explain's their reasons.

Firstly the issue of the national free concessionary travel scheme. A fantastic idea in principle, but there have been considerable funding issues. The idea is for bus companies to be 'no better no worse' off than in the days of half-price concessionary travel. Bus companies used to get the half price adult fare the concession paid, plus a contribution from local councils (reimbursement). Now bus companies get an increased contribution from local councils, but this is often less than the total of the previous half price fare plus smaller council contribution. So bus operators loose out.

Some would argue that increased passenger levels make up for this. But the increase in passenger levels needed for bus companies to be 'revenue neutral' is often very, unrealistically, high. Furthermore, as EYMS have faced, in some cases there is no spare capacity for increased concessionary travel, and with the reimbursement rate being low, it is not worthwhile investing in extra capacity. This can lead to unhappy full fare paying passengers, not wanting to stand, switching to other forms of transport such as the car or train.

EYMS quote an example from North Yorkshire where another operator receives £1.48 for a concessionary traveller compared to the full adult fare of £5.50. They also note that even full buses can be unprofitable when most passengers are concessions. Not hard to imagine with such low levels of reimbursement.

So the concessionary travel scheme has these underlying problems that have been around for a while. For EYMS, the 'straw that has broken the camel's back' seems to have been the decision of Hull City Council to reduce their reimbursement by £160,000 a year. This comes after a £350,000 annual decrease in reimbursement from councils in North Yorkshire. It should be noted that council's are allocated money by Central Government to pay for concessionary travel, and thus it is the government underfunding the scheme nationally that causes councils to make cuts.

Secondly EYMS have been hit by the loss of the profitable Priory Park Park and Ride contract in Hull. Profits from this and other services have been 'cross-subsidising' other loss making services.

So overall a tricky time for EYMS. With the large budget deficit in the UK, increased funding for concessionary travel at a national level seems very unlikely so no easy solutions any time soon. But this may ignite the row over the award of the Priory Park contract to CT Plus. EYMS's explanation would imply that had they kept the contract the service cuts may be less severe.

EYMS Cottingham and Willerby Service Changes

Following up to Monday's VOSA entries, EYMS have issued a press release summarising most of their February service changes. These include a number of changes in the Willerby and Cottingham areas.

Firstly service 109, introduced in August linking Bricknell Avenue, Cottingham and Castle Hill Hospital will be axed (unless new council funding is found). This service duplicates part of Stagecoach service 110, though St. Margarets Road in Cottingham will loose almost all it's service as a result (the exception being a morning peak journey on service 61). As I mentioned back in August, maybe service 110 could be routed via St. Margarets Road?

Service 154 between Hull City Centre, Willerby, Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham Green and Cottingham Station will be curtailed to terminate at Castle Hill Hospital but shall be interworked with service 115 between Castle Hill Hospital, Cotttingham Green, Endike Lane and Hull. This shall preserve links from the 154 route to Cottingham Green, plus create new links from Willerby to Endike Lane and Hull University. However it shall mean Cottingham Station shall no longer have a bus service, which EYMS says currently sees little custom.

Furthermore service 154 shall gain a new hourly Sunday service, matching it with service 115's hourly Sunday service. The Monday to Saturday daytime and early evening service on routes 115 and 154 already match, both operating every 20 minutes in the daytime with a limited early evening service.

Route 64 between Hull, Setting Dyke, Cottingham Green, Castle Hill Hospital and Willerby shall terminate at Castle Hill Hospital from February. Cottingham, Castle Hill Hospital and Willerby currently have 5 buses an hour (services 64/154/180), and the reduction to 4 an hour (115/154 every 20 minutes and 180 hourly) is probably not a major issue Monday to Saturday daytimes. However evening links will be lost, except for limited early evening 115/154 journeys. Sunday daytimes shall be covered the the new 154 Sunday service (see above).

Route 64 currently continues as service 47 at Willerby into Hull via Kingston Road, Willerby Road and Spring Bank, which shall now loose their link to Castle Hill Hospital and Cottingham. The Willerby Road corrdor shall also see other changes, which do simplify the current complex network, but lead to some reductions.

Currently services 44, 45 and 47 link Hull and Willerby every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes but shall be simplified to just service 44 from February, albeit running every 20 minutes. Changes to service 35 shall retain 4 buses an hour from Willerby to Hull via the Willerby Road corridor. EYMS also mention that combined with service 154, Hull to Willerby shall have a service every 10 minutes, so maybe the 44 and 154 will be co-ordinated from February?

The 47 runs the same route as service 44, with the separate number indicating that it continues as a service 64 to Castle Hill Hospital. But with the 64 no longer serving Willerby (see above), the variation is no longer required. The 45 additionally serves Willerby Parkway and Well Lane but shall be replaced by changes to service 35 (see below).

Wold Road and Wymersley Road currently have a bus every 15 minutes into Hull City Centre, Monday to Saturday daytimes. The 33 operates via Spring Bank West and the 35 via Albert Avenue and Hull Royal Infirmary. From February Wold and Wymersely Road's shall retain 4 buses an hour into Hull City Centre. The 33 shall be increased to run every 20 minutes, with the 35 reduced to hourly. Like Willerby, the current even spread of buses shall be lost.

The 'new' 35 shall start in Willerby and operate via Well Lane, Willerby Parkway, Kingston Road, Wymersely Road, Wold Road, parts of Spring Bank, Albert Avenue and Hull Royal Infirmary into Hull City Centre. It's reduced hourly frequency shall mean a reduction in service for Albert Avenue, and less buses from Wold Road to Hull Royal Infirmary, but opens new links to Hull Royal Infirmary from parts of Willerby.

Another effect of these changes is that there shall be a service every 10 minutes from Hull to County Road South via Spring Bank on routes 33 and 44. Currently it is every 7/8 minutes on services 33/44/45/47, but with some 15 minute gaps when service 35 operates. So a gain at some times, a loss at others.

Indeed that seems to be the case overall. Some benefits, some losses. Apart from St Margarets Road in Cottingham, and links between Cottingham and Willerby in the evening, I can't see any major complaints about this package of changes. Most of the service reductions appear, to me at least, to be inconvenient, rather than a major loss of service. Though maybe those affected will think otherwise?

Overall the Willerby changes save 2 buses. Full details will be made available in January when new timetable are released. Other changes affect services 1C and 41. And as some comments have pointed out, I incorrectly stated that EYMS would no longer have any commercial services wholly within Hull after February. I of course forgot the 33, 62 and 700. So thanks for pointing that out.

Friday 18 December 2009

EYMS: Confirmed 41 and 1C axed

As a follow up to Monday's post, the BBC confirm EYMS routes 41 and 1C will be axed from February. The reasons given are the loss of the Priory Park Park and Ride contract, plus the concessionary fare scheme. The two services are loss making and have been 'cross subsidised' from profits on other routes - probably including the lost profitable park and ride contract.

The loss of the 41 is less severe than the loss of the 1C. The 41 operated from Hull to Greatfield and Bilton Grange every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, competing with Stagecoach's more frequent services such as the 43 and 54. The only part of the 41 route unserved by Stagecoach is the Newbridge Road area - they withdrew their service 40 back in July.

The 41's withdrawal will no doubt please Stagecoach, who partly justified their July changes as an attempt to combat falling usage of bus services in the area. However the loss of competition may not be well received, and residents of Newbridge Road will not welcome the news either. The people of East Hull are very passionate about their bus services, as shown by their anger at October's Hull Bus Forum, and it wouldn't surprise me if there is 'loud' opposition to the 41's withdrawal. Bilton Grange and Greatfield seem to be very 'difficult' teritory for bus operators, in sharp contrast to many other parts of Hull.

As for the 1C, a number of areas will be left unserved. The service currently operates hourly from Sibeluis Road via Pickering Road, Fiveways, Askew Avenue, Hessle Road, Hull Royal Infirmary, Hull City Centre, Wincolmlee, Beverley Road and Compass Road to Kingswood. It is the only service serving Pickering Road, Askew Avenue, Wincolmlee and Compass Road, while Sibeluis Road only has the infrequent remains of the 1A as an alternative.

The 1C was started by EYMS earlier this decade after Amvale withdrew from bus operations in Hull, and prior to the 2008 cuts to bus service in Hull, the western section of the 1C was supplemented by hourly service 1A to give a half hourly frequency. Now the frequency could be nothing at all.

I say could be, because there maybe significant pressure on Hull City Council to fund some form of replacement. The service carries a lot of OAP's, and even for those with good mobility, some parts of the route such as Wincolmlee are a long distance from alternative services. However at the last Hull Bus Forum (before this week's news), the Hull City Council representative said cuts to the supported bus service budget will happen next year, meaning some very hard decisions could have to be made.

The withdrawal of the 1C and 41 will also mean that EYMS no longer have any commercially operated services that operate entirely within the Hull City boundary.

Monday 14 December 2009

Major EYMS Service Changes - February 2010

Today, the VOSA website shows major changes from EYMS in the Hull area from February 7th. However readers should beware that further VOSA entries may follow in the coming days, and some services are on joint registrations, and therefore while mentioned below may not actually see any changes. As a result the list below is just an indication of what may change.

Services cancelled:
1A/1C (Sibelius Road-Hull-Kingswood)
41 (Hull-Greatfield-Bilton Grange)
109 (Bricknell Estate-Cottingham)

Services due to see changes:
33/34/44/45/47 (Hull-Wold Road/Willerby)
56/57 (Longhill-Hull-Hessle)
64 (Hull-Cottingham-Willerby)
66 (Hull-Hessle)
102/105 (Hull-University-Cottingham)
115 (Hull-Cottingham)
151/152 (Hull-Anlaby-Willerby)
154 (Hull-Willerby-Cottingham)

Thursday 10 December 2009

Stagecoach Scunthorpe Area Christmas/New Year Services

Stagecoach have released details of Christmas and New Year services in the Scunthorpe area:

Christmas Eve - normal service with early finish
Christmas Day/Boxing Day - no service
Sunday 27th/Monday 28th - Sunday service
Tuesday 29th/Wednesday 30th - normal service
New Years Eve - normal service with early finish
New Years Day - no services

Furthermore to the post on EYMS Christmas/New Years Eve plans, and specifically service 350 on Christmas and New Years Eve, the 1925 Hull to Scunthorpe and 1910 Scunthorpe to Hull shall not operate throughout. Both shall terminate at Barton before returning to their origin, with connections available for through travellers. This shall see EYMS operate the 1950 Barton to Hull, normally Stagecoach operated. Similarly Stagecoach shall operate the 1952 Barton to Scunthorpe, normally EYMS operated.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes Christmas and New Year Services

Stagecoach Grimsby/Cleethorpes have released details of their Christmas and New Year services.

Christmas Eve - Normal service until early evening
Christmas Day/Boxing Day - No services
Sunday 27th - Normal Sunday service
Holiday Monday 28th - Sunday service
Tuesday 29th/Wednesday 30th - Saturday service, except for routes 3, 25, 45, 51 and 150 that shall have a normal weekday timetable. Service 366 will not operate
Thursday 31st - Saturday service except for routes 3, 25, 45, 51, 150 and 366 that shall have a normal Thursday service. All services shall end early evening
New Years Day - No services

Stagecoach Hull Christmas and New Year Services

Stagecoach Hull have released their Christmas and New Year Service Details. Off note are new New Years Eve evening services, which I think I have read are financially supported by Hull City Council.

Christmas Eve - normal weekday service until 2000
Christmas Day - no services
Boxing Day - usual basic hourly daytime service on routes 1, 2, 13, 14, 15, 28, 30, 32, 42, 43, 51, 54
Sunday 27th - normal Sunday service with extra 32F and 51F journeys to the KC Stadium
Bank Holiday Monday 28th - Sunday service
Tuesday 29th/Wednesday 30th - Saturday service with no nightbuses (though the 350 Humber Fastcat will be a weekday timetable, Stagecoach Hull diagrams on this service are the same on weekdays and Saturdays)
New Years Eve - Saturday service (weekday service on 350) until 2100. Then a special timetable on routes N2/N15/N32/N43/N51 from 2100 to 0310 with no other services operating. There are special fares on these nightbus services
New Years Day - no services

Full details here (would have been nice for Stagecoach Hull to explain that the 350 will have a weekday service, even if it doesn't affect Hull depot).

701 Priory Park P+R Operator Changeover Date

Looks like CT Plus will take over the Priory Park Park and Ride Service from current operator EYMS in early February. The tender award by Hull City Council has been very controversial, with CT Plus (ultimately) being a London based operator, wheras EYMS is locally based in Hull.

From VOSA:
Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Priory Park & Ride (terminal) and Priory Park & Ride (terminal) given service number 701 effective from 01-Feb-2010.

Thursday 26 November 2009

EYMS Christmas/New Year service 2009

It's that time of year again - Christmas and New Year service plans are being made public, and EYMS are first. More detail on this link, but a quick summary:

Christmas Eve - Normal Thursday service with early finish
Christmas Day - No services will operate
Boxing Day - Usual limited hourly daytime service on route 34 (Hull-Willerby), 56 (Hull-Longhill) and 64 (Hull-Cottingham-Willerby)
Sunday 27th - Normal Sunday service
Monday 28th (Bank Holiday) - A normal Sunday service

Now it starts to get a bit complicated, mainly due to Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday only shopper services ...

Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th - A Saturday service except:
106 and 107 (Nightbuses) - No service
182 (Beverley-Hessle) - the 1430 departure from Beverley shall not operate
196/198/199 in the Pocklington area shall run a normal Tuesday and Wednesday service
270 (Driffield-Beeford) shall operate a normal weekday service
350 (Humber Fastcat) - A normal weekday service shall operate (this is a Saturday service with an extra early morning journey)
700 and 701 (Hull Park and Ride) - A normal weekday service shall operate
747 (Pocklington to Hull) - A normal weekday service shall operate
X47 (Hull-York) - The Friday and Saturday only journeys shall not run

The following shall run on Tuesday as normal, but not on Wednesday:
134 Driffield-Skerne
S1/S2/S3 Market Weighton area services
Service 135 from Driffield to Sledmere shall not operate on Wednesday, and on Tuesday only the 0910 and 1140 departures from Driffield shall operate

The following shall run on Wednesday as normal, but not on Tuesday:
124 Driffield-Bridlington
143 Melton-Beverley
160/162 Goole area services
241 Aldbrough-Beverley

Onto New Years Eve (Thursday 31st) and a Saturday service with late finishes shall operate except:
Normal Thursday service on routes 124 and 134 in the Driffield area
Normal weekday service on routes 270 and 747
Normal weekday service on route 350 with early finish
Normal weekday service on park and ride routes 700 and 701
No services on nightbuses 106 and 107
No service on routes 143, 160 and 162
The Friday and Saturday only journeys on route X47 shall not operate, nor will the 2335 departure from Beverley
The 1430 departure from Beverley on route 182 shall not operate
Only the 0910 and 1140 departures from Driffield shall operate on service 135

New Years Day - No service
Saturday 2nd January - Back to normal!!!

Finally one odd thing about the Christmas Eve/New Years Eve early finishes. On the 350 (Humber Fastcat), the 2110 from Scunthorpe and 2125 shall not run. However the buses for these journeys will be in Scunthorpe/Hull respectively from working their previous journey, and will need to return 'home' to Hull/Scunthorpe. So why not run them 'home' in service?

New train service from Goole to London

With December's new rail timetable, First Hull Trains are moving their Sunday 10:12 departure forward to leave an hour earlier at 09:10. However instead of taking the normal route via Howden and Selby, this service will route via Goole, and call at the town's station. No services from London will be routed via Goole.

Wednesday's Yorkshire Post reported this was due a signal box not opening early enough for this service in the Selby area, and that talks are underway with Network Rail to open the signal box earlier to enable the service to take the normal route via Selby in the future. So the people of Goole better take advantage of their link to London while they can.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Deja Vu - Humber Flyer under threat again

Earlier this year, Stagecoach relaunched the Humber Flyer bus service between Hull, Humberside Airport, Grimsby and Cleethorpes. The New Waltham extension was dropped, a new route introduced between Grimsby and Cleethorpes, Volvo B10B's cascaded onto the service and a 'technical' break in the route introduced at Humberside Airport. Overall it seemed like a good set of changes, and from my observations of the Humber Flyer in Hull generally it gets good loadings.

Now though this politically sensitive route is under threat. Since Stagecoach originally planned to axe it in 2005/6, the service has been operated with financial support from North East Lincolnshire Council (£10,000 per year), North Lincolnshire Council, Humberside Airport and Hull City Council. However for 2009/10 no funding has been provided by the 4 partners.

Without this funding, Stagecoach is threatening to withdraw the service blaming high mileage and high bridge tolls. Despite 35% toll reductions it still pays £47,800 a year in tolls to the bridge board.

The Humber Flyer provides the only direct bus service between North East Lincolnshire and Hull. providing access to the Hull Royal Infirmary as well as Hull City Centre. Should the Humber Flyer be withdrawn, passengers will need to catch a bus or train to Barton, and change onto the other bus service over the Humber Bridge, the 350 Humber Fastcat service. In complete contrast to the Humber Flyer, this service saw a frequency increase and relaunch earlier this year.

The link to Hull Royal Infirmary is particularly sensitive with the transfer of many NHS services from the south bank to Hull, and the need for car travellers to pay bridge tolls to access them. For some at least, the bus is cheaper than the fuel, bridge toll and car parking costs of driving.

The Humber Flyer is also the only bus service to Humberside Airport, Great Limber and Keelby. Great Limber and Keelby do have access to Call Connect Plus and RuralLinc demand responsive services, but surely Keelby at least deserves a 'fixed' service into Grimsby. As for the airport, it would be very poor not to have any bus service calling at it.

Hopefully a solution will be found, almost certainly involving the 4 funding partners providing their share of the funding for 2009/10. Maybe Stagecoach could find ways to reduce the cost of the service, though their comments about high mileage do make sense. Between Laceby and Hull, the service only passes through three villages (Keelby, Great Limber and Melton Ross) plus Humberside Airport. For a large part of the route the dual carriageway A15 is used. This means there is very little opportunity to pick up passengers, and certainly doesn't help make 'the books balance'.

And this threat by Stagecoach also links into the bridge toll debate. There maybe a 25% reduction for buses, but if tolls were reduced to a nominal charge (£1 for cars), bus tolls would similarly reduce to a nominal level, a far bigger reduction than the current 35% discount. But should buses, as public transport, pay at all for bridge use?

This service is too important to loose. A solution needs to be found, and quickly.

Friday 6 November 2009

Councils cut funding for Kirton evening service

As expected the evening service on service 353 between Scunthorpe, Scotter and Kirton on Fridays and Saturdays was withdrawn after last weekend when the service became route 103. North Lincolnshire Council decided to pull the funding, primarily due to the high cost per passenger (£6.61) of the subsidy they were paying operator Stagecoach. The average 9 passengers per trip were also travelling for reasons not considered as priority.

Lincolnshire County Council provided 25% of the funding for the evening service and they had no objections to the withdrawal.

You can read the detailed North Lincolnshire Council report recommending the withdrawal here.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Stagecoach 94/366 changes - details

The expected changes to service 94 and 366 between Scunthorpe, Brigg and Lime Sidings have now been made public by Stagecoach. From 2nd November, the 94 will be split into two services; the 95 between Scunthorpe and Brigg, and the 94 between Brigg and Lime Sidings (Glentham on Saturdays). Though unless it is to avoid confusion for passengers in Scawby, I'm not sure what this acheives.

Anyway the new 95 seems to be largely the current 365 route between Scunthorpe and Brigg, operating via Ashby, Lakeside and Scawby (not sure about Sturton). Currently the 94 operates directly between Scunthorpe and Brigg, via just Lakeside. The remaining 94 between Brigg and Lime Sidings via Scawby, Sturton, Hibaldstow and Redbourne does not appear to have a changed route. Overall this new 95 route maintain links from Scawby to Ashby and from North Greetwell to Ashby and Scunthorpe, as well as providing a direct Scawby to Scunthorpe service (as opposed to the current 94 route via Brigg).

The new timetable for the 94/95 still offers the same number of services from Lime Sidings, Redbourne, Hibalsdstow and Sturton to Scunthorpe, though there is one less service a day to/from Brigg on schooldays.

As for Scawby, there is an extra late afternoon return service (1625 from Brigg/1735 from Scunthorpe) on service 95 only. The 1735 from Scunthorpe provides a peak time link currently provided by service 365. The morning peak service is provided by a diversion to new service 909 that also caters for college students in Scunthorpe. There is also an afternoon return on service 909 for college students, but this runs in college holidays as well as college days.

If you've followed all that well done. Basically Scawby keeps the current basic daytime service on route 94/95, with some new peak time extras on the 95 and 909, and looses the roughly two hourly 365. Overall a big service reduction.

However, to further complicate matters, the above only applies on weekdays. On Saturdays the one journey each way, starting in Glentham rather than Lime Sidings continues, operating as service 94 to Brigg and service 95 between Brigg and Scunthorpe. However the Saturday 95 does not serve Scawby, running direct from Brigg to Lakeside, though additionally operating via Ashby unlike now (the new Saturday 95 route is the same as the new 909 route).

So Scawby passengers either have to go via Brigg on the 94/95, or catch the 366. But the 366 doesn't go via Scawby ... well it will be from November. This Saturday service from Goxhill and Ulceby to Brigg and Scunthorpe currently operates directly via Lakeside between Brigg and Scunthorpe. Though from November it will be diverted via Scawby, Sturton and North Greetwell between Brigg and Lakeside - though unlike the new 95 it will not serve Ashby. The 366 will provide two return journeys to partially replace the 4 services provided by service 365 on Saturdays. The weekday 909 journeys via Scawby also appear to run on Saturdays.

What a complicated mess. Nothing like simple, easy to understand services. And just add extra confusion as yet there is no news item on the Stagecoach website about the 366 change, nor any confirmation of the 365 ending. Only if you search for the timetables do you find out about these.

Monday 19 October 2009

Stagecoach 94/366 Changes

With the introduction of new Stagecoach service 909 next month, and the associated withdrawal of service 365, the villages of Scawby, Sturton and Wrawby loose their main bus service to Scunthorpe. However there are some potentially interesting variations on the VOSA website today for services 94 (Scunthorpe-Brigg-Lime Sidings/Glentham) and 366 (Scunthorpe-Brigg-Ulceby-Goxhill):

Variation Accepted by SN: Operating between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Gainsthorpe given service number 94/95 effective from 02-Nov-2009. To amend Route and Timetable.
Variation Accepted by SN: Operating between Scunthorpe and Goxhill given service number 366 effective from 02-Nov-2009. To amend Route and Timetable.

The changes could be minor, but these two services provide the only other daytime links from Wrawby (366, Saturdays Only), Scawby (94) and Sturton (94) to Scunthorpe. So maybe they will see an enhancement to compensate for the loss of the 365?

Saturday 3 October 2009

X62 October Changes

Following the July changes to Stagecoach service X62 between Hull, Brough, Goole and Leeds, that aimed to provide a better spread of journeys, further changes will occur from Monday 19th October. The Traveline East Midlands website has a new timetable that shows an extra weekday journey, 2 extra Saturday journeys, and timetable changes every day of the week.

Current weekday timetable
Hull D. 0640 0940 1140 1340 1640
Leeds D. 0830 1130 1330 1530 1830
New weekday timetable
Hull D. 0630 0830 1030 1230 1430 1630
Leeds D. 0830 1030 1230 1430 1630 1830

Current Saturday timetable
Hull D. 0640 0940 1140 1340 1540 1740
Leeds D. 0830 1130 1330 1530 1730 1930
New Saturday timetable
Hull D. 0630 0830 0930 1030 1230 1330 1430 1630
Leeds D. 0830 1030 1130 1230 1430 1530 1630 1830

Current Sunday timetable
Hull D. 1020 1445
Leeds D. 1205 1630
New Sunday timetable
Hull D. 1020 1520
Leeds D. 1210 1710

As can be seen the weekday service is now two hourly throughout the day. The Saturday service is the same, but with the addition of two extra round trips for Saturday shoppers. The late Saturday departure from Leeds at 1930 is brought forward an hour, but the early Hull commuter departure in the morning remains, despite the lack of an afternoon peak return service (1630 is early, 1830 is late).

Finally, maybe this timetable change will see the introduction of the coaches announced with the July change?

See also this post on the history off the X62.

The new 909 - Full Details

The timetable for the new Stagecoach service 909 between Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Brigg is now on the traveline east midlands website. The basics are an hourly service Monday to Saturday daytimes, with the Scunthorpe-Doncaster part of the route operating until mid-evening (last departure from Doncaster at 2035).

As for the route, the new 909 will operate from Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange via the Lakeside outlet shoping village before going up the M18, and then the A18 from Thorne. It will serve Gunness and Scunthorpe Tesco Extra before arriving in Scunthorpe. Towards Brigg the service will serve Ashby, Scunthorpe's Lakeside Retail Park before operating directly to Brigg via the A18 (except a college service that will serve Scawby).

Therefore Scawby and Sturton will loose their main bus service to Brigg and Scunthorpe. This is the 365 which is
being withdrawn at the same time as the 909 starts in November. The 365 operates roughly two hourly with peak journeys, but Scawby and Sturton will be left with the rather basic service 94 that has no peak time journeys. (They also have a Dents Coaches Friday only service to Lincoln and a PC Coaches service 160 service to Brigg on a Thursday, plus some evening journeys on Hornsby Travel service 4 divert to Scawby and Sturton).

Wrawby also looses out - with the 365 being withdrawn, it only has a Scunthorpe link on a Saturday and college days from November, though the 68 Wolds Villager service plus the Stagecoach 450 retain frequent links into Brigg (plus the three day a week Hornsby Travel 91 service).

But what villages loose out on is Brigg's gain. The new 909 provides a much faster link into Scunthorpe than either the 365 offered, or Hornsby Travel's service 4, which operates via Broughton, offers. And the 909's hourly frequency is much better than the 365 it replaces. Indeed Hornsby will now have some serious competition to contend with.

While the Brigg end of the route looks to be an attempt to replace what was probably a marginal commercial service (the 365) into an attractive 'express' service, the Doncaster part of the route is new. It provides new links from Scunthorpe to Doncaster's Lakeside, while it will also compete with the train between Scunthorpe and Doncaster. Though as has been mentioned on the South Yorkshire Transport Forum, wouldn't the best time to have launched this service have been during the recent rail blockade when the train service between Scunthorpe and Doncaster was bustituted?

And for those wondering why the high route number, 909, well this new service isn't all that new. From 1994 to (i think) 2003, Stagecoach ran a 909 between Hull, Grimsby, Humberside Airport, Brigg, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Meadowhall and Sheffield. The Hull to Grimsby sections survives, as the Humber Flyer, and now we have the Brigg to Doncaster section restored. However the old 909 didn't serve Ashby and it also used the M180 between Junctions 1 and 2, unlike the new 909 that will use the A18 instead.

If the new 909 is a success, would an extension to Humberside Airport, to link up with the Humber Flyer be out of the question?

And one question this does raise is, with the 909 not serving Kirmington, Melton Ross and Barnetby, will there be a replacement bus from these places to the Scunthorpe Colleges, a link currently provided by the 365?

Unless you live in Scawby, Sturton or Wrawby the new 909 is great news, and it is nice to see Stagecoach trying to provide a new Doncaster link, and a better Brigg service. Though as often can happen with service changes there are losers as well as winners.

New service 103 - more details

As a follow up to this previous post on the new 103 service between Scunthorpe, Kirton and Lincoln, replacing current service 353, the traveline east midlands website now has a map of the new route,which indicates services will operate directly from Messingham to Kirton, avoiding Scotter (apart from a college service). With the withdrawal of many service 101 journeys in November, this means Messingham retains two buses an hour to Scunthorpe (combined with hourly service 100) but Scotter will not.

The traveline east midlands timetable also does not show the current Friday and Saturday evening Scunthorpe to Kirton service, which therefore I guess is withdrawn?

Improved service 356

Details of the new timetable for Stagecoach service 356 between Scunthorpe, Crowle, Luddington and Garthorpe have been released on the traveline east midlands website. The current irregular service has been replaced with a more clockface two hourly service, though with some longer gaps. All journeys, except the Friday/Saturday evening service, now serve Garthorpe (currently many terminate at Luddington). Overall the new timetable seems to be an improvement and will hopefully attract extra passengers to this service.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Increased council subsidy for Normanby Enterprise Park Services

Back in July I posted about the renewal of the de minimis funding by North Lincolnshire Council for certain weekday daytime extensions of Hornsby Travel service 4 between Brigg to Scunthorpe up to the Normaby Enterprise Park. At the time it was noted these services were seeing declining use.

That decline is continuing, meaning falling revenue for Hornsby Travel. In addition they are also facing rising costs and as such have increased the price they will operate the journeys for from £41.55 to £60 a day from November. Hornsby also cite that the extensions prevent the operation of a clockface timetable between Scunthorpe and Brigg at certain times of the day as another reason for the price increase (Hornsby must think this looses them revenue).

Tendering these journeys in the open market has been dismissed by the council as unlikely to cite much operator interest, and the fact they operate through to/from Brigg via Broughton and Ashby and regarded as 'helpful to users'.

With the journeys regarded as important to provide access to jobs, North Lincolnshire Council have decided to accept Hornsby Travel's price increase to £60 a day and agreed to fund the journeys until March 2011, but with a review in March 2010. Extra publicity will also be carried out to try and attract extra users.

Click here to read the full council report.

Low Floor Buses on the 37/38 in Scunthorpe

Like many parts of Scunthorpe, the Foxhills, Berkeley and Crosby areas have seen many changes and reductions to their town services in recent years. Curently Stagecoach provide these areas with roughly hourly Monday to Saturday daytime services on routes 37 and 38, though with some afternoon gaps. These are operated on a commercial basis by Stagecoach, though they are marginal, and therefore operated with high floor double deckers and linked to school and college services that require double deck capacity.

This has led to local residents to call for low floor buses to be used on the services, though Stagecoach have been unable to regularly allocate such a vehicle due to there being no low floor double deckers being based at Scunthorpe, and the services not being able to financially support an investment in such a vehicle.

Now North Lincolnshire Council are to provide Section 106 Grant funding of £7500 to enable low floor operation of most journeys on services 37 and 38 (the exception being two services linked directly to schools/college services). This will involve the replacement of an older double deck bus in the Scunthorpe fleet with an additional low floor vehicle.

A full council report on the situation can be read by clicking here.

Nice to see a sensible solution being found to improve marginal services.

350 Humber Fastcat Qualifying Agreement

Not that it has stopped a co-ordinated timetable and relaunch back in March, but North Lincolnshire Council have agreed to a qualifying agreement which legally allows Stagecoach and EYMS to co-ordinate with each other to timetable their journeys on route 350 (Hull-Barton-Scunthorpe).

One interesting item in the report though is a 30% rise in passenger numbers on the 350 since the March relaunch.

Friday 25 September 2009

The return of GNER

One of the first posts ever made on this blog, back in June last year, was titled 'The race to link South Humber with London'. It examined four proposals to link Grimsby, Cleethorpes, and in one case Scunthorpe as well, to London.

Since then the National Express East Coast proposal to provide a single daily return Cleethorpes to London service by extending a Lincoln to London service to start/finish up in North East Lincolnshire has been confirmed - even though by the time it starts National Express will no longer be running the franchise.

Meanwhile nothing has been heard about the other proposals from Humber Coast and City Railway, First Hull Trains and Grand Union. Either these proposals have been dropped, or put on the 'long term' pile. The Humber Coast and City proposal is no longer listed on it's promoters website (Renaissance Trains).

Just reminding you off that Grand Union proposal - it was for a Cleethorpes to Kings Cross service calling at Grimsby Town, Habrough, Scunthorpe, Thorne South and Doncaster. And the Managaing Director of Grand Union at the time was Ian Yeowart.

Now a new company called Alliance Rail Holidays has revealed plans to bring back the Great North Eastern Railways (GNER) name, last used by Sea Containers when they held the East Coast franchise, for a new Cleethorpes to London service, calling at Grimsby Town, Habrough, Scunthorpe, Thorne South, Doncaster ... and Retford. And guess who is a director of Alliance Rail - Ian Yeowart. The proposed service would operate four times a day.

However Mr Yeowart has done more than propose some off what he proposed while at Grand Union - he has unveiled plans for trains from across the North of England to London using the GNER brand on the East Coast, and the GNWR brand on the West Coast. More details are in this article, and map. Plus there is one service proposed that doesn't go to London ...

One of the GNER routes is planned to be a new Hull to Liverpool service calling at Brough, Howden, Selby, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Rochdale, Manchester Victoria, Eccles, Newton Le Willows and St Helens Junction. The proposed frequency is unknown.

So are these plans a good idea? The Cleethorpes to London service would provide a higher frequency than the new service via Lincoln. It also serves Habrough, Scunthorpe and Thorne South, offering new London links from these stations. Oddly Barnetby is omitted from the proposals. Meanwhile the Hull to Liverpool service, provides new links from East Yorkshire, not just to Liverpool, but to Bradford and Halifax too.

However before you get too excited, the likely timescale for any service to start is 2013, and the plans have yet to be approved, and paths need to be found. There is a lot of competition proposed with franchised operations, so expect stiff objections from them, and from the Department for Transport should be expected.

And personally I doubt the whole proposed network would start at once - probably just one route initially. Trying to launch 3 GNER routes and 3 GNWR routes at once would probably be taking too much on at once. Mr Yeowart should know how hard it can be to launch one route from his time at Grand Central.

Another consideration as well is finance, especially with new trains proposed for the services. The backers of Alliance Rail are currently unknown. They will need deep pockets though to fund what is being proposed.

What is proposed is great, if it happens.

Thursday 24 September 2009

EYMS new 107 announced

EYMS have now officially announced their new 107 service from Hull University to Cottingham, and as expected it is an early Sunday morning (Saturday night) service for clubbers at the uni nightclub going back to university accomodation in Cottingham.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

More Hull to Cottingham evening buses

From Monday 28th September, EYMS are increasing the Monday to Saturday evening frequency of service 105 between Hull City Centre, Hull University, Cottingham and The Lawns Halls of Residence to operate every 20 minutes, matching the daytime frequency. Currently the service operates half hourly in the evening. It seems this increase will apply all year round, not just in university semesters.

More improvements to evening services also coming soon with new route 107.

Sunday 20 September 2009

353 becomes a better 103

The VOSA registration indicated a change of number, and it looks like that will happen. The Lincolnshire County Council journey planner has the new timetable for Stagecoach service 103, from 2nd November.

The 103 is the current 353 service between Scunthorpe, Scotter, Kirton and Lincoln. It's very irregular and a number of journeys are part or wholly funded by either Lincolnshire County Council or North Lincolnshire Council.

The new timetable shows there will be Scunthorpe to Lincoln services every two hours Monday to Saturday with extra short Scunthorpe to Kirton services to give an hourly frequency on this section. No indication is given if the enhancement has received any council financial support.

It is also unclear if the new service will continue to operate via Scotter, or route via the Lakeside Retail Park instead. Scotter is only given as a timing point on Scunthorpe Colleges services, but the Burringham Road timing point given on all journeys may indicate all services will operate via Scotter. Furthermore all the short Scunthorpe to Scotter workings on service 101, designed to give Scunthorpe to Scotter a half hourly service combined with the 100 and 353, are to be withdrawn, meaning just a few Scunthorpe to Gainsborough journeys remain on the 101. This could mean the 103 is the replacement for these short workings, or it could mean Scunthorpe to Scotter is reduced to an hourly service.

Finally, the new timetable does not show the existing Friday and Saturday evening buses between Scunthorpe and Kirton. Have these been withdrawn, or just omitted since they run in North Lincolnshire only and it is a Lincolnshire County Council journey planner?

No doubt the Stagecoach timetable, when released, will reveal all.

Finally this is not the first time an hourly Scunthorpe to Kirton service has been tried. A few years ago Road Car tried an hourly service 358 via the Lakeside Retail Park. It didn't last long. Better luck this time Stagecoach.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

More new low floor double deckers for EYMS

After buying 20 new low floor double deckers this year, EYMS have now ordered another 10 at a cost of £1.75 million to convert all of it's main Hull routes to low floor status. It will mean that around 75% of the EYMS group fleet will be low floor. The new vehicles will be Volvo B9B's with Wight Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.

The main services to benefit will be the 151/152 group to Anlaby, Kirk Ella and Willerby (the 153, also part of this group, is usually low floor operated already) and the Hull to Hornsea services, though from what I see off these services, they are sometimes low floor operated currently.

However I see there is no reference to the 60/60A/61/62/64 group of services between Hull, Setting Dyke and Cottingham in the press release. While the 64 went low floor earlier in the year, the other services in this group seem to be anything goes, and some 62's are worked by 'out of town' depots such as Elloughton and Beverley. So will this go low floor as well, or is it not regarded as a main group of services?

Saturday 12 September 2009

909 back to Doncaster

It looks like the new 909 will be more than a local service between Brigg and Scunthorpe, but will also be extending to Doncaster, on a separate VOSA registration:

Registration Accepted
Starting Point: Scunthorpe
Finish Point: Doncaster
Service Number: 909
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 02-NOV-2009
Other Details: Monday to Saturday. Hourly. Hail and ride on sections where traffic and safety conditions allow

Tuesday 8 September 2009

New EYMS Service 107

EYMS have applied to VOSA to start a new service 107 on Sunday mornings. Pure speculation by me, but it could be an early morning services taking clubbers from the University nightclub back to The Lawns halls of residence - the University nightclub is closer to Inglemire Lane than the main University bus stop on Cottingham Road.

Registration Accepted by SN
Starting Point: Hull University
Finish Point: Cottingham (The Lawns Centre)
Via: Inglemire Lane & Cottingham Green
Service Number: 107
Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 04-OCT-2009
Other Details: Sunday Morning - 2 Journeys from Hull University to The Lawns

It will be the only bus service down Inglemire Lane.

The 107 route number was last used for a Cottingham to Kingswood Monday to Saturday evening service that ended back in 2003.

Return of the 909

Something very interesting has appeared on VOSA today - the return of Stagecoach 909 from November, but only between Scunthorpe and Brigg:

o Registration Accepted
o Starting Point: Scunthorpe
o Finish Point: Brigg
o Via:
o Service Number: 909
o Service Type: Normal Stopping
o Effective Date: 02-NOV-2009
o Other Details: Monday to Saturday. Hourly. Hail and ride on sections where traffic and safety conditions allow

The previous 909 service ran from Hull and Grimsby to Sheffield via Humberside Airport, Brigg, Scunthorpe and Doncaster and was operated by Stagecoach Hull, Grimsby Cleethorpes and Chesterfield.

In what maybe a related move, the Stagecoach service 365 between Scunthorpe, Ashby, Scawby, Brigg and Wrawby is being cancelled, from 2nd November. The 365 operates roughly every two hours Monday to Saturday, with peak time extra services on weekdays.

Other Stagecoach Scunthorpe area changes due in November according to VOSA, are on service 356 to Crowle/Garthorpe, services 101/601 to Gainsborough, and Scunthorpe town services 33/34, which were reduced in frequency earlier this year.

And finally changes are due to service 103 between Scunthorpe and Lincoln - is the 353 getting renumbered?

Variation Accepted: Operating between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Lincoln given service number 103 effective from 02-Nov-2009. To amend Timetable.
Variation Accepted: Operating between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Hemswell given service number 103 effective from 02-Nov-2009. To amend Timetable.

A few bits and pieces

A few bits and pieces to tie up:

The latest EYMS newsletter says EYMS will no longer operate the Saturday services on routes 174/5 (Withernsea-Hull), as well as on route 173, which it was already known would be pasing to a new operator from this week. That new operator does appear to be Lords Coaches, and not Pearsons Coaches as had previously been mooted.

The new 933 service operated by East Coast Travel in Bridlington is a schools service taken over from EYMS according to a comment.

And in addition to the new 136 service, a new service 134 will operate twice a day on Tuesdays and Thursday from Skerne to Driffield. The operator will be EYMS, and replaces part of service 270. Thanks to a comment poster for this information.

Monday 7 September 2009

An information request

A while ago I saw this on VOSA:

o Registration Accepted by SN
o Starting Point: Bempton
o Finish Point: Bridlington
o Via: Buckton
o Service Number: 933
o Service Type: Normal Stopping
o Effective Date: 08-SEP-2009
o Other Details: Monday to Friday

I've not found this service on the traveline website. Does anyone know anymore about it? Is it a schools service or in competition with EYMS?

If you do have any information I would be grateful if you could post it as a comment on this blog post.

New Service 136: Bridlington-Skipsea-Driffield

Today (Monday 7th) sees a new service numbered 136 start between Bridlington and Driffield via Skipsea, Beeford and North Frodingham, operated by Phoenix Buses. There are 4 Driffield to Bridlington services, and three in the other direction, plus 1 Beeford to Driffield working, and two Bridlington to North Frodingham journeys. All journeys operate Monday to Saturdays and the timetable allows for shopping trips to both Bridlington and Driffield, plus commuting to/from Bridlington.

These links have most recently been provided by services 130 and 270, latterly operated by Manor Travel, and the new 136 service seems to provide a more simplier timetable. The EYMS 130 journeys between Hornsea, Skipsea and Bridlington continue unaltered, as does the remaining EYMS journey on service 270 from Driffield to Beeford at 1710 on weekdays.

I must admit this is not an area I am that familar with so if anyone has any further details or comments about these changes, please leave a comment.

Hessle Town Service Changes

From today (Monday 7th September), the Hessle Town Service, numbered 183 has a new route and timetable. It will now serve the Sainsbury's supermarket at Priory Park and the Acorn Way area of Hessle. The frequency remains half hourly Monday to Saturday mornings and early afternoons.

The 183 is operated by EYMS, and was inherited from Veolia earlier this year, though EYMS had operated it previously. As a side note the EYMS timetable front cover picture could maybe do with changing - the '183 Hessle Square' display looks to have been photoshopped on, and the location of the picture in Hull Cuty Centre isn't served by the 183.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

EYMS loose the Priory Park Park and Ride

The Hull Daily Mail has published an article saying it expects the new contract to operate Hull's Priory Park Park and Ride service (numbered 701) to be awarded to London based social enterprise, Hackney Community Transport, which trades as CT Plus. (This news was also posted on the East Yorkshire Buses Yahoo Group last week).

The Priory Park scheme opened in 2003 and it has been operated by EYMS under tender to Hull City Council since then. Hull City Council also funded the Walton Street scheme in Hull until earlier this year when EYMS took over the operation commercially after the council pulled the funding.

There already seems to be some local anger as to why Hull City Council are not supporting local businesses in the recession, though the council point out the need to balance quality and value for money.

Hackney Community Transport (HCT) operates in London, and also in West Yorkshire where it provides schools and AccessBus services for WYPTE. Their move into Hull gives the city a third operator of sufficient size to provide some serious competition for EYMS and Stagecoach, something lost when Veolia sold their Hull operations to EYMS earlier this year. I would guess HCT will be looking to scale up their Hull operations over time, through either schools, mobility, social services and/or local bus contracts.

Friday 28 August 2009

Major Changes to Grimsby-Immingham/Barton services

From Monday 7th September, Stagecoach are making some very big changes to services between Grimsby, Immingham and Barton. There are big improvements for some, and reductions for others. But first it's probably best to describe the current services.

The main Grimsby to Immingham service is the 45, which operates every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. Most services start from Victoria Street Tesco in Grimsby, and some early morning services also serve Cleethorpes. There is a peak time service from Habrough and South Killingholme and a college day variant, the 45C that operates via Franklin College. Evening and Sunday services are provided by hourly route 46 from Immingham to Cleethorpes via the Willows Estate and Grimsby Town Centre, which seems to be unchanged in these changes.

Grimsby to Barton flows are handled by the 250 which operates every two hours or so Monday to Saturday via Immingham, South Killingholme, Ulceby and Barrow. This service is interworked with the 450 between Barton and Brigg, and is a former RoadCar route. The 250, combined with the 45 gives Immingham up to 4 buses an hour to Grimsby.

The changes from Stagecoach merge the 250 into the 45 service, which reduces from every 20 minutes to half hourly - almost halfing the number of buses between Grimby and Immingham. The 45 will no longer serve Victoria Street Tesco, but most journeys will extend to South Killingholme, increasing it's services from every 2 hours to half hourly.

From South Killingholme there are two variants - the 45b hourly to Barton, doubling the service frequency here, and the 45h to Habrough, giving it an hourly bus link to Grimsby, and a vast improvement from it's only current daytime bus service on route 150.

There is also a further variant however, the 45m. This does not serve South Killingholme, but instead serves Stallingborough MIC Plant, and the Queens Road area of Immingham, near to the former Loco Shed. However it does not go onto the dock estate, meaning the end of buses onto the docks, afacility the current 45 provides at peak times. The 45m generally only operates at weekday peak times, and some early morning journeys start back in Cleethorpes. Also the 45C College Service still operates, and there are occasional Grimsby to Immingham journeys numbered plain simple 45.

All sounds rather complicated, but the main Grimsby-Immingham-South Killingholme service is generally clockface, as are the Habrough and Barton services. The use of letter suffixes will also help identify where each service goes, though it makes the timetable very confusing to look at.

So is it a good move - if you live in Barton, Barrow, Thornton Curtis, Wootton, Ulceby, South Killingholme or Habrough, then yes. The new 45b Barton service for example enables the bus to be used for commuting to//from Grimsby, something not possible with the 250. But passengers in Immingham, Stallingborough and Healing will regretably see a major reduction in services.

Service 150 between Grimsby, Immingham, Habrough and East Halton will continue with two return journeys Wednesday and Friday plus an odd one way East Halton to Grimsby journey five days a week. However I wonder if the Habrough diversion is needed now with the new 45h?

Finally the 45b looks to be interowking still with the 450 on weekdays, and the new Stagecoach timetable lists connections onto this, and the 350 Humber Fastcat service at Barton. Well done to Stagecoach for doing this and trying to promote connections.

Revised times in Grimsby: Services 2, 13 and 14

Earlier this year service 2 was brought back in Grimsby to serve the Gilbey Road area and Europarc Industrial Estate and Business Park. However this also meant a reduction from a 6 day a week half hourly service to a limited hourly 5 day a week service with a large afternoon gap. From Monday 7th September the service shall have slightly revised times and a new 1605 departure from Europarc to Grimsby.

Also seeing revised times are services 13 and 14.

Better bus service to Franklin College

From Monday 7th September, Stagecoach are improving the bus service to Franklin College in Grimsby, diverting half hourly service 7 via the College as part off a revised route on the Grange Estate

Improved Laceby Peaktime service

From Monday 7th September, Stagecoach are improving the early morning and peaktime Laceby service with the extension of some journeys on service 7 between Grange Estate, Grimsby and North Sea Lane to the village. This will fill gaps in services 3 and HF that currently provide the main Laceby service.

This is not the first time service 7 has served Laceby. In the late 1980's (and maybe at other times too) a different service 7 between Bradley Crossroads, Central Parade and Grimsby was extended to Laceby in the evenings.

While this move improves the Laceby service at certain times off day, the daytime service from Laceby is very badly spaced - two buses within nine minutes then nothing for 51 minutes.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Service 173 - New Operator

Service 173 links Withernsea and Hull, operating via villages including Burton Pidsea, every Saturday. There are two services from Withernsea, and one from Hull. The service is operated by EYMS, and until last year was operated on a commercial basis. However in last year's bus cuts it was proposed for withdrawal until East Yorkshire Council stepped in to secure it's continuing operation.

Now the service looks to have a new operator. According to this VOSA entry, it is Lords Coaches:

Registration Accepted by SN
Starting Point: Withernsea
Finish Point: Hull
Service Number: 173

Service Type: Normal Stopping
Effective Date: 12-SEP-2009
Other Details: Operates on Saturdays only

This seems to contradict a comment on this blog last week that the new operator would be Pearsons Coaches. That comment also indicated that the Saturday peak time 174/175 services, which serve many off the same villages as the 173, would also be taken over by Pearsons Coaches. (The 174/5 also run on weekdays on a commercial basis by EYMS).

The VOSA entry is probably correct, though the 174/5 could have been included on the same registration as the 173. Whatever the situation though, the new operator will be the only independent operator operating a registered local bus service within Hull, which is currently a Stagecoach/EYMS only zone. And if it is Lords Coaches it will be their only registered local bus service.

If anyone can confirm the new operator, and if the Saturday 174/5 service is included in the new tender, please use the comment feature.

Friday 21 August 2009

Two new EYMS routes

From 1st September, EYMS are introducing two new Monday to Saturday services.

The 34 will link Holme upon Spalding Moor to Market Weighton, with connections onto service X46 for Hull, Beverley and York. The services operates hourly in the morning/early afternoon, with later afternoon journeys on a Saturday. It is not the first time such a link has been tried - back in 2002, East Yorkshire Council funded a very similar weekday service, the 740, also operated by EYMS. Since that ended a Friday only service by Thornes Independent has been the only link from Holme to Market Weighton.

Meanwhile the new 242 service provides one journey into Beverley in the morning from Hedon, with a lunchtime return. The service also serves Preston, Sproatley, Bilton and Skirlaugh amongst other villages en-route. Between Skirlaugh and Beverley the new service is similar to Monday and Wednesday service 241 from Aldbrough, and the departures from Beverley are only 4 minutes apart.

No information is provided if the services are commercial or tendered, though I suspect the later.

Sunday 16 August 2009

X62 History Again

In June this blog attempted to give a recent history of the X62 service that links Hull, Goole, Freeport Castleford and Leeds, and there was some useful information posted by an anonymous commenter. What may have helped though was if I remembered the old timetables/maps I had that could help give some insight. So now I've gone through my collection to create this brief recent history.

Back in August 2002 the timetable had departures on Monday to Saturday at (operator in brackets):

Hull - 0625 (EY) 0905 (SH) 1010 (EY) 1230 (SH) 1340 (EY) 1550 (SH) 1710 (EY)
Leeds - 0825 (EY) 1050 (SH) 1155 (EY) 1410 (SH) 1525 (EY) 1740 (SH) 1855 (EY)

SH=Stagecoach Hull
Only the 0625, 0905 and 1710 from Hull and 1740 and 1855 from Leeds served Brough.

So departures throughout the day with EYMS carrying the commuters to Leeds and both operators carrying the shoppers to Leeds. Stagecoach had the main evening commuter departure from Leeds at 1740 and East Yorkshire the main return departure for shoppers at 1525. Overall EYMS had four return workings and Stagecoach three return workings.

Just over a year later, in September 2003, EYMS had diverted their journeys via Howden in an attempt to attract extra passengers. However the number of journeys stayed the same (sorry no timetable, this information is from a Hull Bus Map).

Moving onto March 2005 and the service was Stagecoach only. EYMS had dropped their services by now and Howden was no longer served, though all services now served Brough. Stagecoach had increased their services from 3 return journeys to 4 on weekdays and 6 on Saturdays. (again no timetable, information from a Hull Bus Map).

By September 2007 the Monday to Saturday frequencies had remained the same, though two Sunday and Bank Holiday journeys had been added. The timetable was very much Leeds shopper orientated, as can be seen below.

Monday to Friday
Hull - 0920 1020 1320 1630
Leeds - 1105 1235 1520 1815

Hull - 0820 0920 1020 1320 1420 1630
Leeds - 1005 1105 1235 1520 1630 1815

Sunday and Bank Holidays
Hull - 1020 1445
Leeds - 1205 1630

November 2007 saw revised departure times Monday to Saturday, with all service from Hull departing at half past the hour and Leeds at twenty past the hour.

And that leads us back to the present, with the current timetable that reintroduces commuter services again (in the morning at least), and provides a better spread off journeys throughout the day. An extra weekday service has also been added, as can be seen below:

Monday to Friday
Hull - 0640 0940 1140 1340 1640
Leeds - 0830 1130 1330 1530 1830

Hull - 0640 0940 1140 1340 1540 1740
Leeds - 0830 1130 1330 1530 1730 1930

Sunday and Bank Holiday services where not altered.

Only time will tell if the new timetable is a success. I personally wonder if providing a morning commuter service to Leeds, but no return service (1530 is too early, 1830 too late) will work. Finally the coaches meant to be used on the service since last month have yet to appear and the service is in the hands off Volvo/Paladin single deckers. Lovely .... not.