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.