Wednesday 25 April 2012

Amvale to operate Scunthorpe Hospital Park and Ride

It seems Amvale have won the contract for the Scunthorpe Hospital staff park and ride. From VOSA:


  • Registration Accepted
  • Starting Point: Glanford Park Car Park
  • Finish Point: Glanford Park Car Park
  • Via: Scunthorpe General Hospital
  • Service Number: Hospital park and Ride
  • Service Type: Limited Stop
  • Effective Date: 02-JUL-2012
  • Other Details: Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays

Thursday 19 April 2012

One change that didn't work out

There is one change that Stagecoach made earlier this month that very definetly hasn't been a success. From tomorrow (yes, a Friday!) the Interconnect 100  between Scunthorpe, Gainsborough and Lincoln will no longer serve Morton between 9am and 3pm, with a separate Gainsborough Town Service introduced (3/3a) to serve Morton at these times instead.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Stagecoach in Hull

Finishing my review of Stagecoach's operations in the region, today a look at Hull depot, and unlike south of the Humber, there are a lot of positives here. The April service changes generally weren't bad news, just the sort of changes that seem to happen every year in Hull. So I'm going to take a wider look at the past few years.

Over the past couple of years, Stagecoach have tried to improve the fortunes of many secondary routes, or find alternatives to replace them. The 20 has gone, replaced by changes to the 15, 28, 30 and K1, and in the case of the first three I'd argue that the cancellation of the 20 has boosted these core routes. The 30 has also been boosted by the new 30A Leads Road diversion, replacing the 31, and before that 38, along the road.

Many other secondary links remain part of secondary services, and often see regular changes, such as services to the Bricknell Avenue Estate and the city circular. Maybe April's service changes will be the answer to long term stability. Maybe not. Generally speaking secondary services and links seem to remain a challenge for Stagecoach.

Another challenge seems to be the nightbus network which is far from stable. From 24 hour services, to Friday cutbacks, to Saturday cutbacks and Friday improvements. From city centre starts, to the Welly Club, to Hull University and back to the city centre. I'm guessing the economic situation could have impacted on how many people go out at night, but whatever the reason for the regular alterations, surely the Nightbus network needs stability and promotion - a consistent product offering - to bring growth and hopefully allow previous cutbacks to be reversed in the future.

However away from secondary services, the core network seems to be holding up well. Some cutbacks, especially on Saturdays, have occurred in recent years, and efficiencies from better co-ordination of services did enable some PVR reductions - but nothing major. The controversial recast of the Greatfield and Bilton Grange network seems to have been a success, with significant investment in new buses for the 41/2 and most recently 43/54.

The new vehicles for the Greatfield/Bilton Grange services have just been part of the significant investment in the Hull fleet since 2009. New vehicles for the 1/2, 30, 41/2 and the 43/54 in the past three years, plus Hull has benefited from the 2009 relaunch of the 350 with new buses and an increased frequency. Significant investment like this is not made without reason.

The strong position, of the core network at least, in Hull is demonstrated by rising passenger numbers. In the past 9 years, bus use in Hull across Stagecoach and EYMS has increased by 30%. A success story.

Considering the size of the network in Hull, regular alterations and tinkering are inevitable. I'm curious for example if the 31 will be a success, I'm sceptical about the 10's future and need. Like all operations, the reductions in BSOG and fuel prices has had an impact. However from the outside it seems Stagecoach have a decent operation in Hull.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

292 re-registered

Selwyn Motors have re-registered the 292 with VOSA

Registration Accepted
Starting Point: Belton
Finish Point: Doncaster
Via: Epworth, Hatfield, Sandtoft
Service Number: 292
Service Type: Normal Stopping/Hail & Ride
Effective Date: 05-JUN-2012
Other Details: Saturday only

The 292 was cancelled with VOSA last week.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Stagecoach in Grimsby Cleethorpes

In the end, Stagecoach's Grimsby operation didn't see too many cuts in this month's service changes. It's also had investment in new buses for the 16 service to Wybers Wood. However it is 'what could have been' that indicates not everything in Grimsby is as good as it may seem.

Prior to this year, Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes had seemed a rather stable operation, the Humber Flyer excepted. Most of the fleet is low floor, there had been a significant batch of new vehicles in 2006 and the core network had seen little significant change. To the casual observer the operation seemed to be doing OK.

Then in February came this shocker, Stagecoach's initial plans for cuts. Late evening and Sunday services to be considerably cut, the 12 entirely and the Interconnect 3 to Lincoln from hourly to just 2 through journeys per day. All is clearly not well in Grimsby for Stagecoach, even if this was a 'worst case scenario' negotiating position that Stagecoach hoped never to implement.

The main way most of these cuts were avoided was a deal with North East Lincolnshire Council on concessionary fare payments. Short term this is clearly very good news. But longer term, could concessionary fare repayments be cut, or increased at a rate less than inflation? What happens then? More cuts? Has it actually done anything to solve the underlying issues that must be affecting Grimsby depot?

Some 'smarter' working has come from all of this on the Grimsby-Immingham and beyond corridor. Gone are the 150's and 250's duplicating 45's, mileage is reduced and hopefully passenger loadings consolidated onto fewer journeys.

On the other hand though take the late evening journeys on the 8, 9 and 46 - all originally proposed for the chop. All must be struggling, whether through declining usage, fuel costs and/or limited revenue from concessionary fares. However at say 10pm at night though, are OAP's really going to 'make or break' a journey? My guess is no, yet with increased concessionary fare repayment, they have been saved. Either I am wrong or the underlying issue with these services, either fuel costs or declining usage, has not been addressed. And in the case of the 8/9 at least, the mileage involved in the services is quite low.

Grimsby depot is clearly no 'basket case'. The 13/14 seemed to have benefited from the 'Kick Start' scheme back in 2006. The 16 has justified new buses. Yet I can't help but wonder if cuts will be back on the agenda within the next year or two. It seems to be that if not careful Grimsby could become another Scunthorpe with a steadily declining town network. Investment is needed, not necessarily in new vehicles, but in reviewing the network and promoting it. Kick Start worked for the 13/14, it now needs to be repeated network wide. Any further opportunities to reduce mileage but not the service level need to be taken. I'm sure the 12 could in part at least be replaced by other services for example (a 13 variation to Bradley Park, the 7 along Littlefield Lane and Humber Flyer via Queen Mary Avenue for example). Relying on concessionary fares reimbursement levels being maintained does not seem like a long term strategy. It's a short term fix and lets hope Stagecoach already know this and are working on growing passenger numbers.

Finally, one Grimsby service exempt from the threat of cuts this time around was the Humber Flyer. Why? Probably a combination of it's political sensitivity, and uncertainty about the impact of Humber Bridge toll changes. Yet surely it has been hit hard by fuel prices and the BSOG cut?

Thursday 12 April 2012

Selwyn Motors cancel the 292

From VOSA:

Cancellation Accepted: Operating between Belton and Doncaster given service
number 292 effective from 05-Jun-2012.

The 292 is a Saturday only 'shopper' service from Belton, Epworth and Sandtoft to Doncaster, and has been running for a number of years. It is Selwyn Motors only public bus service. I recall an industry magazine interview with the proprietor, possibly last year, in which he stated North Lincolnshire Council had refused to provide financial support for the service, so I'd be surprised to see a replacment.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Stagecoach in Scunthorpe

Now the details of Stagecoach's recent changes have been reviewed, I want to take a more general look at Stagecoach's operations in the region, starting with Scunthorpe. Scunthorpe wasn't too badly affected in April's changes. By my calculations the PVR (peak vehicle requirement) was only reduced by 2, and half of this was a tender loss.

However it could have been worse - Stagecoach had cancelled the 90 (PVR 2) but North Lincolnshire Council stepped in to save it on an emergency tender pending a longer term solution being found. No one can say Stagecoach haven't tried with their Brigg and later Crowle services, the 909, 909/910 then the 90; increased frequencies, and for Brigg a far quicker route. However it clearly hasn't worked.

Why? In part this may be down to competition. Between Brigg and Scunthorpe the main service is Hornsby's established route 4 (and there is also tendered service 95). Stagecoach and RoadCar have no recent history of being the main provider of services between the two towns. The 365 which existed before the 909 returned was only every 2 hours, and it's been a while since the 'original' 909 operated. And between Scunthorpe and Crowle there is competition to a more limited extent from Sweyne Coaches, and tendered Saturday service 357 (operated ironically by Stagecoach). That competition has already seen Stagecoach withdraw from commercial services in Garthorpe, Luddington and Eastoft.

It's not just the 90 that faces competition. Within Scunthorpe Hornsby Travel have a significant presence on town services. Some are co-ordinated with Stagecoach (the 6), some have found gaps from routes given up by Stagecoach (the 22) while other duplicate parts of Stagecoach services (the 12 - and this has seen a boost from Stagecoach reducing services 33/34 to hourly). There is also competition for tendered services; Hornsby have the contract for services 16/35/60/94-95, all of which have been operated by Stagecoach/Road Car in the fairly recent past (the 35 in it's old 357? form).

Competition means a fragmented market. As well as Hornsby and Sweyne, Isle Coaches, Holloways Coaches and EYMS (the latter in co-operation with Stagecoach) also operate 'public' bus services in Scunthorpe.

All this means that Stagecoach don't have the dominance and scale they have in other places. This need not be a problem by itself, but a look at the fleet reveals a major lack of investment by Stagecoach since they took over Road Car in late 2005. Using the fleet list in the January/February edition of the Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire Transport Review, correct as off 15th January, Scunthorpe has a fleet off 33 vehicles. Only six of these where delivered new under Stagecoach (the 6 MAN/Enviro's for the 350 Humber Fastcat) of which two are outbased at Hull. Other than 3 recently cascaded 2005 Volvo B7RLE's (for the 103 to Lincoln) the rest of the fleet dates from before 2004 or before, i.e. at least 8 years old - thats 25 out of the 33 based vehicles, 75% of the allocation. I should note here the Interconnect 100 which serves Scunthorpe has newer vehicles, but is not operated by Scunthorpe depot.

Since January changes to the fleet have taken place with some 'newer' low floor double deckers arriving to replace Volvo Olympians, but I don't think the proportion of vehicles under 8 years of age has significantly changed. What this shows is a lack of investment by Stagecoach in the fleet in Scunthorpe and where the investment has occured it has been for 'out of town' routes - the 350 is just as much a part of the Hull network as it is the Scunthorpe network for example.

Which leads me nicely onto the town network, no investment in vehicles in over 6 years, and cutbacks which started under Road Car and continued over Stagecoach. For example, back in March 2003 High Leys Road had 5 buses per hour into Scunthorpe, now 2 per hour. The 15 minute frequency for Bolsover Road tried in 2005, now every 20 minutes. Dewsbury Avenue down from every half hour in 2005 to hourly now.

So competition, a declining network and lack of investment in the fleet. I don't know the finances of Scunthorpe depot but what I have described doesn't paint an encouraging picture. I hope I'm mis-interpreting all of the above and things aren't as bad as I'm describing. However it doesn't look good.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Holloways 55 Major Improvement

A change that didn't get reported in detail when it happened. On March 5th, North Lincolnshire Council tendered weekday service 55 between Scunthorpe, Appleby and Winterton was significantly improved. The service is operated by Holloways Coaches.

Prior to the change the service had been very basic. School and college holidays saw just one journey from Winterton to Scunthorpe at 0850, and a lunchtime Scunthorpe to Appleby return. School and college days saw a slightly enhanced service.

Now though the service operates every 90 minutes on weekdays; most journeys operate the full route from Scunthorpe to Winterton via Appleby before continuing via Thealby to operate a loop around Normanby and Burton and as the outward route back to Scunthorpe. This provides much enhanced links from Appleby to Scunthorpe, and a 'usable' link from Appleby to Winterton. In addition Burton, Normanby and Thealby regain links to Winterton, and here connections can be made to the 350 Humber Fastcat, with certain 55 journeys timed to connect into the 350. I recall there was a brief 3 day a week Hornsby Travel operate service from Burton to Winterton a few years ago serving this purpose - hopefully the revised 55 will be more successful than that.

It is also not the first time the 55 has operated beyond Winterton. Up to 10-15 years ago the service extended to Whitton.

Thursday 5 April 2012

EYMS 121/744/X21 to domestic driver hours rules?

Based on registrations showing on the VOSA website today, plus this from earlier in the week, it seems that from June the 121/X21 (Hull-Scarborough) and 744 (Bridlington-York) will be worked under domestic rather than EU driver hours rules.

It seems the 121 will be 'split' at Driffield and Bridlington, the 744 'split' at Pocklington and the Summer only X21 'split' at Beverley and Bridlington.

Stagecoach services Easter 2012

Stagecoach have released details of their services over this Easter Weekend.

Good Friday

Sunday service on all routes except the following, which will have a normal Friday service:
Interconnect 3 Grimsby-Lincoln
25 Grimsby-Binbrook-Ludford
Interconnect 51 Grimsby-Louth
150 Immingham-East Halton
450 Immingham-Barton-Brigg
Humber Flyer
(Does this mean that the 150 and 450 will not have through services at Immingham to Grimsby for the day, with the 45/46 running to a Sunday timetable?)

Sunday service on all routes except the Humber Fastcat and Humber Flyer which will have a normal Friday service

Normal Friday service on all routes

Easter Saturday

Normal Saturday services on all routes

Easter Sunday

Normal Sunday services on all routes

Easter Monday

Sunday service on all routes


Good Friday is a weird day for service levels, likely down to historical operating patterns, and in some cases these being enshrined in council tenders. One one hand North Lincolnshire Council is paying for a normal service on the 260 (Barton Villager) and 450, and the 1740 from Scunthorpe to Westwoodside 399 journey. Yet in Grimsby, Grange Estate is without a bus service.

I suspect the optimum service level for Good Friday, Easter Monday and other bank holidays is somewhere between a normal and Sunday service. A Saturday service is probably not the answer, as in some cases it is identical or almost identical to weekday services. A special timetable is probably more suitable, but with that comes the issue of informing customers when exactly the buses will run.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

TB3 to not serve Barrow Haven

According to Traveline East Midlands, from 8th May Holloways Coaches Tuesday and Thursday TB3 between Goxhill, Barton and Brigg shall cease to serve the small community of Barrow Haven. The timetable is unaltered.

EYMS 504 Minor Changes

From Monday 16th April EYMS service 504 between Bridlington, Buckton and Bempton has minor changes. The first journey from Bridlington (currently 0915, will move to 0910) will cease to run on weekdays, and become Saturdays only. Other journeys are retimed; most departures from Bridlington move from .15 to .10 past the hour, and from Bempton move from .38 to .30 past the hour.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Stagecoach in Hull Changes Overview

Here is a full overview of Stagecoach in Hull's service changes that came into effect yesterday (Monday 2nd April), including details on those that have not had their own separate post.

Services 1/2 (Hull-Boothferry Estate): Slightly revised timetable. Nightbus N2 has a reduced Saturday night timetable.

Service 10 (Circular): Revised route now serving Newland Avenue, Hull University, Orchard Park Tesco and Holderness Road but service withdrawn from Bricknell Estate, Sutton Village and Greatfield. Improved afternoon timetable and new 30 minute frequency between Hull City Centre and Orchard Park via Hull University; this section of the route now operates on Saturdays too.

Service 13 (Hull-Orchard Park): Almost all journeys now serve Orchard Park Tesco, Saturday frequency reduced from every 10 to every 15 minutes.

Service 14 (Hull-Orchard Park): All journeys now serve Orchard Park Tesco.

Service 15 (Hull-Orchard Park-Kingswood). Slighty revused timetable with an extra morning peak journey. Nightbus N15's Wednesday night journeys axed, Friday night service reintroduced and Saturday night service cutback. New journeys from Kingswood.

Services 28/28A (Hull-Kingswood): 28's extended from Kingsbury Way to Kingswood Retail Park and operating as a circular with service 28A. Some extra morning peak 28's from North Point into Hull City Centre.

Service 30 (Hull-North Bransholme): Generally alternate services diverted via Leads Road as service 30A, replacing 'old' service 31. Reduced late evening service Monday to Saturday, and less buses to Wawne at peak times.

Service 31 (Hull-North Bransholme): Previous service between Hull and Kingswood axed. Revised to run between Hull and North Bransholme via parts of the 32 route plus Sutton Road and Holwell Road. Operates half hourly in the weekday peak and during weekend shopping hours, plus hourly in the evening daily. 31F and N31 replaces the 32F and N32. Nightbus N31 has a new Friday night service compared to the old N32, but a reduced Saturday night service.

Service 32 (Hull-Bransholme): Weekday peaktime services reduced from every 10 to every 15 minutes and Monday to Saturday evening services from half hourly to hourly. The 'new' 31 provdes a replacement.

Service 38 (Hull-Bransholme): Service reinstated hourly to replace old 31 via Garden Village. peak time services extend to Kingsbury Way as 38A, replacing old 31A.

Service 41 (Hull-Greatfield): New hourly Monday to Saturday evening and Sunday daytime service.

Service 42 (Hull-Greatfield): Now operates via Portobello Street rather than Maybury Road. Monday to Saturday evening and Sunday daytime frequency cut from half hourly to hourly.

Service 43 (Hull-Greatfield): Slightly revised timetable Nightbus N43 gains a Friday night service but has a reduced Saturday night service.

Service 46 (Hull-Marfleet): Revised timetable, but no change to frequency.

Service 51 (Hull-Kingswood): Slightky revised timetable. Nightbus N51 has a reduced Saturday night timetable but gains a new journey from Kingswood.

Services 52/53 (Ings Circulars). 52A's will start/finish at North Point and the changeover point from service 53 to 52 moves to Bellfield Avenue.

Service 54 (Hull-Bilton Grange). Faster journey time with new route via Maybury Road instead of Portobello Street.

Service 110 (Hull-Cottingham). Minor timetable alterations.

Service 677 (Hull-Cranswick Foods Preston): 0735 from Hull withdrawn. Evening services from Cranswick Foods no longer serve Beverley Road.

(Almost) all services to Tesco

Since yesterday all journeys on Stagecoach's 13 and 14 from Hull City Centre to Orchard Park have been extended to Orchard Park Tesco (except the 2 early morning 13's from Greenwood Avenue). Until last week only daily half hourly journeys on the 13 (operating as 13a/13b) and evening and Sunday 14a/14b served Tesco.

The Saturday daytime frequency on the 13 has been reduced from every 10 minutes to every 15 minutes, as has the late afternoon (1430-ish to 1730-ish) weekday frequency from Orchard Park.

EYMS June Changes

Some EYMS changes due in June

VOSA - Bus Registration Search Results: PB0000328/253 - EAST YORKSHIRE MOTOR SERVICES LTD, 252 ANLABY ROAD, HULL, HU3 2RS
Variation Accepted: Operating between Hull and Nafferton given service number 121/121D effective from 03-Jun-2012. To amend Timetable.
Variation Accepted: Operating between Pocklington and Bridlington given service number 743/744/744S effective from 03-Jun-2012. To amend Timetable.

Hull Nightbus Changes

From this coming Friday night, Stagecoach are making extensive revisions to their nightbus network in Hull, including more Friday night/Saturday morning services but the withdrawal of Saturday night/Sunday morning services after 0130 on all routes, as well as the N32/43 extensions from Hull University and the Welly Club.

The N2 between Hull City Centre, the Boothferry Estate and Hessle sees a revised timetable. 2 journeys from Hull and 1 from Hessle continue to operate on Friday night/Saturday morning but 2 services each way on Saturday night/Sunday mornings are cut, so that Friday and Saturday night services are now identical. This means the last bus from Hull City Centre moves from 0300 to 0115 on Saturday nights.

The N15 between Hull City Centre, Hull University, Orchard Park and Kingswood has lost it's two Wednesday night journeys from Hull University to the City Centre. The Friday and Saturday service has a new route; it now starts from the Hull Truck Theatre on Ferensway, not the Witham and operates via Princes Avenue not the Welly Club on Beverley Road. Services are extended beyond Orchard Park Tesco to Kingswood's Leisure and Retail Parks.

The N15 regains a Friday night services with 2 journeys in each direction (last departure 0120 from Ferensway). Saturday nights have the same timetable, which means an 80 minutes earlier last departure from Ferensway but new services from Kingswood. Some journeys on the N15 will interwork with the N51 in both Hull City Centre and at Kingswood.

The N32 between Hull University, Newland Avenue, the Welly Club, the City Centre and North Point is replaced by the N31, which starts at Hull Truck Theatre and then follows the route of the revised 31 to North Bransholme, giving the estate a new nightbus service. 2 journeys operate from the Truck Theatre at 0008 and 0108 on both Friday and Saturday nights. The N32 did not operate a Friday night service when it was axed, but the Saturday service is cut from 3 to 2 journeys on the new N31.

The N43 to Greatfield and Bilton Grange will now start at Hull Truck Theatre, with the extensions from Hull University and the Welly Club withdrawn. Again Friday night services are reinstated, but Saturday night services cut back from 4 to 2 journeys and an earlier last bus from Hull City Centre (0135 from George Street compared to 0310).

Finally the N51 from Hull City Centre to Kingswood via Holderness Road and North Point has a revised timetable. Services now leave Hull Truck Theatre at 0023 and 0123 on both Friday and Saturday nights, 23 minutes later on Friday nights but 1 hour 47 minutes earlier on Saturday nights, with 2 less journeys. One new journey from Kingswood is also introduced, again operating on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Overall its better on Fridays, and for getting home from Kingswood. Not so good on Saturdays, or if you want to come from Hull University or the Welly Club.

Monday 2 April 2012

EYMS takeover 156 on temporary basis from Colins of Goole

From EYMS twitter, it seems they have been operating Sunday tendered service 156 between Goole and North Cave via Howden and Gilberdyke on a temporary basis due to "problems with the operator who's meant to run it". That operator is Colins of Goole.

A further tweet says EYMS are waiting to see if they have won a new contract for the route from this weekend onwards.

Phoenix Buses 136 minor change

From East Riding of Yorkshire Council's website:

Future bus service changes: Phoenix Buses, Service 136 Driffield to Bridlington - There will be some minor changes to the afternoon service from Monday 16th April 2012. The 1500 from Driffield will now depart at 1510 and the 1600 from Bridlington will now depart at 1620.

Route swap

From today, Stagecoach have 'swapped' the routes of services 42 (Hull-Greatfield) and 54 (Hull-Bilton Grange) in East Hull. The 42 will now follow the 54's previous route via Portobello Street, while the 54 will follow the 42's previous route via Maybury Road, shortening journey times to Bilton Grange.

With regards to timetables, the half hourly Monday to Saturday evening and Sunday daytime frequency on the 42 shall be reduced from half hourly to hourly in favour of a new hourly service on co-ordinated service 41, thus maintaining the half hourly frequency for Wingfield Road and Falkland Road, and providing new evening and Sunday links for Newbridge Road and Ellis Street on the 41 route.

The 54's route changes has meant a revised timetable - in addition extra morning peak services shall operate from Hull Interchange.