Wednesday 31 August 2011

14's Loss is 13's Gain

Stagecoach Hull are making changes to services 13 and 14 to Orchard Park from Monday 5th September. Currently these services both operate every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on Saturdays.

From next week however the 13 will operate every 10 minutes on Saturdays as well as weekdays (not that Stagecoach promote this enhancement). Two journeys per hour on the 13 Monday to Saturday daytime will extend to Orchard Park Tesco, following the route taken by evening and Sunday services. Seems like a useful new shopping link for very little extra mileage.

However the 13's gain appears to come from the 14's loss. The weekday service 14 frequency drops to the Saturday frequency of every 15 minutes. I am 99% certain the 13 and 14 interwork at Orchard Park 'Pint & Pot', and therefore with only 4 14's an hour but 6 13's, I guess the opportunity was taken to run 2 13's an hour 'independently' and extend them to Tesco.

The cutback to the 14 is not a major loss - it's still frequent, and Beverley Road also has the Stagecoach 28 plus EYMS services.

Stagecoach in Hull Service 51 Changes

From Monday 5th September Stagecoach in Hull will be altering service 51 which links Hull City Centre to Kingswood via Holderness Road and Bransholme.

Alternate late afternoon journeys on weekdays from Hull will terminate at Bransholme North Point, operating as service 51B. This retains a 10 minute Hull-Bransholme frequency while reducing Kingswood extensions to every 20 minutes.

On Saturdays the daytime frequency will be reduced from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes

677 extra journey

Not that Stagecoach have mentioned it in their September service changes list, but weekday Stagecoach in Hull service 677 will gain an extra 1800 Hull-Cranswick Foods Preston service and 1845 return, extending to Beverley Road/Clough Road, from Monday 5th September.

New timetable

When an "improved early evening timetable" isn't totally improved

Stagecoach in Hull say that 1/2 to Boothferry Estate will have an "improved early evening timetable Monday to Saturday" from 5th September. Is that true - Yes in part, but mostly No.

Taking service 1, departures currently leave Hull Interchange at 1800, then every 15 minutes until 1900, then every half hour Mon-Thu, and every 15 minutes Fri/Sat. Yet from September that becomes every 20 minutes between 1800 and 2100 then every half hour. So thats a worse services between 1800 and 1900 (1 less bus per hour), and from 1900 onwards on Friday and Saturday (1 less bus per hour). The only benefit is between 1900 and 2100 Monday to Thursday (1 extra bus per hour). The same cutbacks also affect service 2, and journeys from Boothferry Estate back into Hull are similarly affected.

If cuts need to be made, fine, but surely better to be totally honest about them. Whats wrong with saying "a early evening revised timetable including extra journeys Monday to Thursday after 1900". Don't have to admit directly to cuts, but equally not misleading anyone.

Stagecoach in Hull cut Service 32 weekday frequency

From Monday 5th September, the weekday frequency of Stagecoach in Hull's service 32 to Bransholme will be cut from every 12 minutes to every 15 minutes, matching the Saturday frequency. Weekday peak times continue to see buses operating every 10 minutes.

Chnages to the N32 nightbus will be covered in a separate post.

350 Humber Fastcat thoughts

Just a few little things:

1. Stagecoach now call the Barton Interchange, Barton Rail Station, in their timetable, but continue to use Interchange in the journey codes section. Not that it makes much difference, but I wonder why the change?

2. Stagecoach's new timetable has the incorrect timings for EYMS's 2110 Scunthorpe-Hull, which since May has run 3 minutes later between Barton and Hull to maintain a train connection. Again not the most important thing in the world, but the timetable is slightly incorrect. EYMS and Stagecoach not talking? Though to be fair EYMS still have the wrong timings on their website too.

3. EYMS have not noted Stagecoach's new evening journeys on the 350 on their website. Not surprising I suppose as they do compete with EYMS, but an example of the joint operation not being displayed in public. EYMS don't actually display times for any Stagecoach 350 services on their website, having withdrawn the link to the Stagecoach pdf timetable. Use their website and the 350 only runs every 3 hours!

Is the Hull City Circular service viable?

Another set of service changes in Hull, and once again the City Circular service 10 is included. Over the past few years since Stagecoach took the service on commercially it has seen regular changes as Stagecoach try to cut costs and/or increase usage. For a time in late 2008/early 2009 the city circular was half hourly on weekdays, with a service 11 variant, and hourly on Saturdays. Since then Bricknell Avenue Estate has been added to the route, Kingswood removed to speed up journey times and peak time services via the University of Hull trialled. Earlier this year the Saturday service was withdrawn and now further cutbacks to an already basic weekday service are planned from Monday 5th September.

The 1325 clockwise service from Hull Interchange will terminate at Greatfield, the 1425 will cease to run and the 1525 will now start from Bransholme North Point at 1610. Anti-clockwise the 0745 from Hull Interchange now departs at 0730, the 1410 terminates at North Point rather than running full route and the 1510 short to Bilton Grange is withdrawn.

It's clear Stagecoach have been trying with the service, but the regular changes, cutbacks, and seemingly failed initiatives to increase usage lead me to wonder, does the Hull City Circular have a viable future? It's the sort of service which is 'sensitive', providing cross city links, and therefore not easy to withdraw, but it appears to be struggling. It is worth mentioning that I'm not familiar with usage of the service, but if it didn't exist would the City Circular be missed?

Looking at the route in detail, clockwise from the city centre, it duplicates the 13 between Hull and Orchard Park, except for the diversion into the Bricknell Avenue Estate. This part of Hull is only a recent addition to the City Circular, and it too does not appear to be good bus territory. It's services have been chopped and changed over the past few years too, and I guess was added to the City Circular to try and get one good service out of two bad services. The Estate currently has the hourly weekday 10, and the hourly Monday to Saturday 110 between Hull and Cottingham, of which the diversion into the Estate receives council funding.

If the 10 didn't exist, would the 110 be enough - it's certainly deemed enough on a Saturday. And even if it was not deemed enough it does not need the 10 to give the Bricknell Avenue Estate a half hourly service into Hull. Extra short journeys on the 110 or a half hourly 110 along the whole route could do that.

However it should be noted that the Bricknell Avenue Estate is home to Wyke College. I am not at all familiar with travel patterns to/from the college, but suspect this may generate some traffic to Orchard Park and Bransholme. Even still these passengers could change in the City Centre, or extra college buses be provided, including a limited daytime service for those with part days at college; the 10 would appear to currently need either 3 or 4 vehicles, such a service to the college would only need 1.

The next major link the City Circular provides is Orchard Park to Bransholme via the Sutton Park Estate. Without the City Circular such links could be made by changing at Kingswood or on Beverley Road. Or possibly the newly extended Orchard Park Tesco journeys on the 13, or the newly extended 28A journeys to Kingswood could be further extended to maintain Orchard Park-Bransholme links.

The 10 is the only service along a small part of Cheltenham Avenue in Sutton Park, but if this road requires a service then possibly the K1 could be diverted to service it.

Links between Bransholme and Midmere Avenue/Sutton provided by the 10 are duplicated by the 51 and 32 respectively; the next major destination served by the 10 is Salthouse Road, also home to Wilberforce College. Salthouse Road to Bransholme passengers could change from the 53 to the 52 to complete their journey, and there is also the college day lunchtime 123 between Beverley, Bransholme and Wilberforce College. Essentially other options exist.

The City Circular then serves Bilton Grange, Greatfield and Preston Road. Passengers from these areas wishing to reach Bransholme could either change in Hull City Centre, or on Holderness Road. The 10 does provide access from these areas to Wilberforce College, but again other options exist. Bilton Grange has the 52 to Wilberforce College, and Greatfield/Preston Road passengers can connect onto the 52 on either Holderness Road or at Bilton Grange (using the 43/54).

Finally the 10 does have a role for some local journeys within Bilton Grange, Greatfield and Preston Road. It is the only service along part off Hopewell Road, but if that needs a service the 50 could be extended. The 10 also links Falkland Road and Preston Road Medical Centre, but some 46 journeys could be diverted from Marfleet to serve Falkland Road instead.

Changing isn't ideal, but that combined with alterations to some other services lead me to believe, as an outsider, that if the City Circular didn't exist it would not cause any major hardship. Withdrawing services is not easy, and I've witnessed the anger of Greatfield residents at a Hull Bus Forum in the past, but if Stagecoach ever concluded the 10 was no longer viable, I think Hull could live without it.

Any comments welcome.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Stagecoach in Hull September Service Changes

Stagecoach in Hull have released details of their September service changes on their website. Not had time yet to review the changes in detail, but some very major network revisions, especially in the Bransholme and Kingswood areas.

Thursday 11 August 2011

360 truncated to Barton

The Traveline East Midlands website shows that from September Stagecoach's college day service 360 to Scunthorpe will no longer serve East Halton, Goxhill or Barrow. Instead all services will start from Barton. While Barrow passengers can connect onto the 360 at Barton using service 250, this option is not available from East Halton, while Goxhill passengers would need to use the train to Barton and face some very long connection times.

Humber Fastcat Gets Hourly Evening Service

Traveline East Midlands shows that from Monday 5th September, Stagecoach are adding one extra journey in each direction Monday to Saturday between Hull, Barton and Scunthorpe on the 350 Humber Fastcat, giving an hourly evening service. There will be a new 2010 service from Scunthorpe and a new 2025 from Hull. A very welcome, if slightly surprising enhancement, and one that may be off use to myself.

Based on the timetables it would appear that Scunthorpe depot will operate the extra journeys, and the current 1 hour layover of a Scunthorpe vehicle in Hull during the evening will cease.

If this is successful, hopefully Stagecoach and EYMS will look at the uneven Sunday timetable, designed to connect to a train service that runs 4 months of the year. Some later evening services, at least on Fridays and Saturdays would also be nice. But lets see how the new mid-evening journeys do first!

16 now on Fridays too!

Hornsby Travel Scunthorpe Town Service 16 is now operating on Fridays as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays, since the start of the month.

Service 16 timetable

Hornsby won the North Lincolnshire Council contract for the service from Stagecoach almost a year ago.

EYMS September Service Changes

EYMS are making various relatively small changes to services from Sunday 4th September.

Service 246 gains an extra Sunday journey in each direction between Hornsea and Beverley. Other journeys will also be retimed.

Retimings also include the X46 between Hull and York, as well as the 746 between Market Weighton, Pocklington and York. Some under used 746 journeys are withdrawn.

Service 743 between Pocklington and Driffield will now serve George Street in Driffield, and some journeys will also serve Kirkburn and Tibthorpe.

Meanwhile the Monday to Friday 0645 Pocklington-York and 1715 Pocklington-York services on route 195 are withdrawn. These are currently commercially operated but relied on interworking with lost East Riding of Yorkshire Council contracts to be commercially viable. I have noticed the loss of some Woldgate College work to Transdev York on the VOSA website - is it this which has caused the withdrawal of these journeys? An oddity is that the weekday 0900 York-Pocklington 195 remains, despite the lack of a return journey on Mondays and Thursdays. Also the commercial Saturday peak time journeys remain.