Sunday 31 March 2013

Stagecoach in Hull Workers Services

Stagecoach in Hull are amending their weekday 677 service from Tuesday 2nd April; this is effectively a workers service for Cranswick Foods in Preston, but is also available for general public use.

Currently the service runs directly from Hull City Centre via Hedon Road to Preston, with some journeys starting at the Beverley Road/Clough Road junction. However from Tuesday services will now run from Hull Interchange up Beverley Road, along Clough Road, Leads Road, Sutton Road, Ings Road, Maybury Road and Marfleet Lane to rejoin Hedon Road and it's previous route. This offers direct links to Cranswick Foods from more areas of Hull, and also serves other employment areas around Sutton Fields Industrial Estate and Clough Road. The only major timetabling note is the withdrawal of the last evening bus in each direction, currently 1800 from the Interchange and 1845 from Cranswick Foods - the last bus is now 1655 from the Interchange and 1815 from Cranswick Foods.

Talking off Clough Road, Stagecoach are adding a new weekday workers service to serve the new Police Headquaters and other employment sites in the area - the 101 (again it is open to the general public as well). Like the 677 it will run from Hull Interchange up Beverley Road to Clough Road before continuing up Holwell Road to the North Point Shopping Centre. Journeys depart Hull Interchange at 0710, 0740, 0810 and 0840; in the return direction services start at Clough Road, departing at 1545, 1610 and 1740.

One thing - why the 101 route number. Wouldn't 676 or 678 have been better - or even 29 since it shares part of the route with the 28, and part with the 30?

Saturday 30 March 2013

31 Weekend Daytime cutbacks

From Easter Monday, Stagecoach service 31 between Hull City Centre and North Bransholme will see most of it's weekend daytime services axed. These currently operate half hourly in the morning and early afternoon inbound to the city centre, then half hourly in the late afternoon outbound from city centre - effectively acting as a relief to 'trunk' routes 30 and 32. It would seem relief is no longer needed.

The only weekend daytime journey's maintained are four North Bransholme-City Centre journeys on Saturday morning, at 0735, 0805, 0835 and 0905 - before the 32 reaches it's main 15 minute frequency.

Weekday peaktime journeys on the 31, and the daily hourly evening service remain. Stagecoach have said the 32 also has a revised timetable, but from a quick look I cannot spot any changes.

Friday 29 March 2013

The Circular becomes The Pointer

The Hull [City] Circular is a service which has seen frequent changes over the past few years, as Stagecoach have tried to make it work as a commercial service. From Tuesday 2nd April, 'The Circular' becomes 'The Pointer', a name which no doubt comes from the new route it will take, see this map. This change, which sees a contraction in the areas served by the route, is a reflection that the service seems to be no longer an attempt to link multiple major estates without the need to change in the City Centre, but instead an attempt to serve certain specific cross-city flows, along with links into the city centre itself. The concept of the city circular appears to be dead.

The Pointer will retain the current service 10 number used by The Circular, and in the western half of the city the route is little changed. Clockwise from the city centre the route continues to serve Princes Avenue, Newland Avenue, Hull University, Hall Road and Greenwood Avenue en-route to the Orchard Park Estate. Here the route will now omit the Tesco car park, but continue to run via the Sutton Park estate to Bransholme's North Point Shopping Centre, which as well as being a shopping centre, is also a key interchange point onto other bus services.

It is in the eastern part of Hull where the route has it's biggest change. Leaving North Point the service continues to run via Midmere Avenue, but will now serve Sutton Village instead of the western part of Howdale Road (reducing duplication of the 51) en-route to Dunvegan Road, Salthouse Road and Wilberforce College. From here the service will now run directly via Holderness Road back into the city centre, omitting the Bilton Grange and Preston Road Estates, as well as the Hedon Road industrial area - this section apparently saw few passengers.

While the route has got shorter, the frequency is improved over much of the route. Currently a half hourly Monday to Saturday service operates between Hull City Centre, the University and Orchard Park, with weekday only extensions along the rest of the route. The Pointer however will operate half hourly over the entire route, Saturdays included. This provides much enhanced connectivity between Orchard Park and Bransholme, and also reflects changes to other services in Eastern Hull.

After operation on Easter Sunday, the 52 service between Hull City Centre, Bilton Grange and Salthouse Road will be withdrawn. This had provided the 'fast' link between the City Centre and Salthouse Road, a role which the 10 takes over, on an even more direct routing. As a result associated service 53 is altered, and will no longer serve Dunvegan Road or the eastern part of Howdale Road, a role the 10 also takes over.  

What Stagecoach must be hoping for is that the 52's current passengers transfer onto other routes, including the 10, thus boosting those services. The Pointer now appears the serve the role of 13/15 'relief' route in West Hull, providing an Orchard Park-Bransholme link, connecting Wilberforce College with North Point for onward connections, and offering a fast route between Salthouse Road and Hull City Centre - all 'stitched together' for convenience. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do wonder how much 'cross Bransholme' traffic there will be? Does it matter though? 

Some other notes on the revised 10, the 10W diversion via Askew Avenue appears to be withdrawn - this had provided a Wilberforce College link from parts of West Hull. Anti clockwise journeys will also now operate directly into the Interchange inbound, rather than via the City Centre loop.

As I mentioned earlier, the 52 is being withdrawn. The link it currently provides along Marfleet Lane to Bilton Grange will be replaced by the new 54A, though the Bilton Grange-Wilberforce College link will not be replaced. The 54A will be a variant of the 54, the main link between Hull City Centre and Bilton Grange, operating via Marfleet Lane instead of Maybury Road. The 54A will operate every 20 minutes on weekday daytimes, and every half hour on Saturday daytimes - an extra bus per hour on weekdays compared to the current 52, but with no Sunday service.

The impact on Maybury Road isn't that severe, as the 54/54A combined goes from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes for much of the daytime on weekdays, thus Maybury Road will retain a service 54 every 20 minutes on weekdays, dropping to half hourly on Saturdays. Overall the change is surely a more cost effective way of serving Marfleet Lane, albeit adding a little complexity to the 54 in the process.

Finally the 52 currently forms a circular with the 53, which from Easter Monday becomes a stand alone service. It will continue to operate from Hull City Centre via James Reckitt Avenue, Lambwath Road, Ings Road and Savoy Road from where it will operate an anti-clockwise loop along Bellfield Avenue, Holderness Road, Salthouse Road and Middlesex Road (currently unserved) back to Savoy Road for it's return journey to the City Centre. Frequency remains half hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, alongside an hourly Sunday and Bank Holiday daytime service.

Extra Ferrybus

From 1st April (Easter Monday), Stagecoach will be operating an extra service 70 'Ferrybus' on weekends and Bank Holidays, at 0945 from the P&O Ferry Terminal at King George Dock to Hull Interchange, supplementing the existing 0800 and 0900 departures on these days. The return service, and the (non-Bank Holiday) weekday journeys are unaffected.

Current timetable
New timetable

Thursday 28 March 2013

Stagecoach in Hull Nightbus Changes

If I was to cover the recent history of the nightbus network in Hull, it would be a rather long blog post, with frequent alterations during the past few years. So I'll miss out the contextual history and go straight to the details of the changes Stagecoach are planning from from next week (April) in yet another set of changes. In summary the Friday night service is axed, and services will operate slightly later on Saturday nights (Sunday Morning) again, with a small number of extra services operating.

For the N2 to Hessle this means the current 0015 and 0115 from Hull City Centre, and 0040 from Hessle are replaced by journeys at 0000, 0100 and 0200 from Hull Truck Theatre and 0025 and 0125 from Hessle Sqaure. The route is unchanged.

The route of the N15 to Kingswood is also unaltered. The current 0020 and 0120 departures from Hull Truck Theatre become 0000, 0100 and 0200, while the current 2355 and 0055 from Kingswood Retail Park move to 0030 and 0130.

The N31 to North Bransholme has both a revised route and timetable. Instead off operating from Hull Truck Theatre, the service will now start on Lowgate, meaning the western part of Hull City Centre will be unserved. Departures from Lowgate will be at 0030 and 0130, compared to the current 0008 and 0108 from Hull Truck Theatre.

Like the N31, the N43 to Bilton Grange will also switch from Hull Truck Theatre to Lowgate. Lowgate departures will be at 0000, 0100 and 0200 compared to the present 0030 and 0130 Hull Truck Theatre departures.

Finally the N51 to Kingswood retains it's current route, with Hull Truck Theatre departures at 0023 and 0123 moving to 0000, 0100 and 0200, and the solitary current 0044 from Kingswood Leisure Park being replaced by services at 0024 and 0124.

One day hopefully Stagecoach will find out just what is the optimum service level, and then be able to offer some stability. To take a positive from these latest alterations, at least the Saturday night service is being slightly enhanced.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

450 Future

The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports North Lincolnshire Council is considering the future of service 450 between Brigg, Barton and Immingham (continues to Grimsby as the 45) from September 30th when it's current contract with Stagecoach to provide the service ends.

Apparently a report by council officers calls the places served "a difficult area to serve by bus" due to low passenger numbers for much of the day, and the length of the route. It is apparently the council's most expensive bus contract at £132,000 per annum (£435.16p per day), but the per passenger cost is £1.68, well below the £3 guideline. I say apparently because I can't find the report on the council's website, nor details of how to offer comments on the service. The deadline for comments is apparently April 20th. Am I going blind again when checking the council website?

Without seeing the report it's hard to respond in detail to North Lincolnshire Council's current thinking. It certainly is a long route however, and passengers for the Brigg schools provide a key source of revenue, which probably explains the reference to low passenger numbers for most but not all of the day. At such a large annual cost, it is understandable that the service is being reviewed, though the per passenger cost will hopefully avoid any major cutbacks.

The current linking of the 450 with the 45 between Immingham and Grimsby surely has to be the most efficient way of providing a through service to Grimsby? It's far better than duplicating the 45, which is what happened when the 250 operated between Barton and Grimsby. Hopefully this will not be lost.

If savings do have to be made I sometimes wonder how many people use the 0715 Immingham-Barton-Brigg on Saturdays. Would it be cheaper to operate the bus out of service directly along the A180 and A18 to Brigg?

Another potential saving could see the last bus from Brigg operate at 1530, and extend through to Goxhill on school holidays and Saturdays, as well as on schooldays. This could also serve New Holland, replacing the 1603 260 Villager journey. There would still be time for the bus to be back in Barton for 1715 to Immingham.

Being more positive, how about better promotion of the connection opportunities at Barton to Hull and Scunthorpe?

A final idea I would suggest is making the small diversion via Meadow Drive and Caistor Road in Barton, providing a fairly substantial residential area with a 6 day a week bus service. The old X21 between Hull and Cleethorpes briefly did this. The route should be suitable for double deckers, and might attract an extra passenger or two at minimal cost. Worth a try? Another brief diversion via Barton Tesco could be another option.

Brigg Town Service to Howsham and Cadney?

It seems changes could be on the way for the Brigg Town Service. Currently this comprises three routes, the 91, 92 and 93, operated by Hornsby Travel on behalf of North Lincolnshire Council. The services operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with the 91 also serving the neighbouring village of Wrawby on some journeys.

According to the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Cadney and Howsham Parish Council's have requested a link to Brigg, and North Lincolnshire Council have prepared plans to alter the Brigg Town Service to provide this. Apparently a consultation on these plans closes tomorrow, but I cannot find any reference to this on the North Lincolnshire Council website. Am I going blind?

Scunthorpe Subsidised Evening Peak Services Update

Back in October I reported that North Lincolnshire Council was considering the withdrawal of the subsidised 1735 service 38 and 1800 service 34 Scunthorpe Town Services, both operated by Stagecoach and running Monday to Saturday.

North Lincolnshire Council have now made what is essentially a 'use it or lose it' plea, saying that if more people use the services, it "will help to ensure their future". So time will tell.

The case for 1800 34 isn't exactly helped by in part it duplicating the 1800 32A - something that should really be changed if the 1800 34 is retained, by slightly altering the times of one of the services to provide a better spacing between journeys.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Stagecoach Easter 2013

Stagecoach have announced their service plans for the upcoming Easter period:

Good Friday - Normal service in the Scunthorpe area, including the 350 Humber Fastcat to Hull, and on the 25 from Ludford and Binbrook to Grimsby. Saturday service on all other services in North East Lincolnshire, including the Humber Flyer to Hull. All other services in Hull to operate a Sunday service.

Easter Saturday and Sunday - Normal Services
Easter Monday - Sunday Service in all areas

Last year local services in North East Lincolnshire operated a Sunday service on Good Friday, so a Saturday service is a notable improvement.

Thursday 14 March 2013

EYMS Easter 2013

EYMS have announced details of their service plans over the Easter weekend:

Good Friday - Sunday service, including Moorsbus and the Spurn Ranger, except the 350 Humber Fastcat and Goole Town Services which will have a normal Friday service.
Easter Saturday and Sunday - Normal services
Easter Monday - Sunday service on all routes, including Moorsbus and the Malton Dodger

(NB - some further exceptions apply for Scarborough and District services)

Friday 8 March 2013

What's Happening to the 8? 355 Returns

Back in September you may recall Arriva service 8 between Selby and Goole was diverted via Hook on Wednesdays and Fridays, replacing the 355 Airmyn-Hook-Goole service. However from mid-Aprilthe 355 will return. Today the following registration appeared on VOSA:

  • Registration Accepted by SN
  • Starting Point: AIRMYN VILLAGE
  • Via:
  • Service Number: 355
  • Service Type: Normal Stopping
  • Effective Date: 17-APR-2013
  • Other Details: Wednesday and Friday only One journey in each direction

I presume this will operate via Hook. What is surprising is that despite changes to the 8, which is a North Yorkshire County Council tendered service, the journeys from Hook appear to still be operating - so why the need for the 355 to return? Below is the description of the changes to the 8 as detailed by North Yorkshire County Council in their service change document.

"Most journeys will now be operated by Utopia. The 1224hrs Selby to Goole is replaced with 1335hrs Selby to Drax, the 1435hrs Selby to Drax is withdrawn, the 1635hrs Selby to Drax school holidays is retimed to 1600hrs. The 0810hrs Drax to Selby school holidays is retimed to 0847hrs, the 0927hrs Drax to Selby is withdrawn, the 1330hrs Goole to Selby is replaced with a 1402hrs from Drax to Selby. The route in Goole is amended to serve the Hospital on inward journeys. There is no change to the school day service from Pollington to Selby College and return."
Applying the above to the weekday timetable (is the Saturday timetable unchanged?), the 8 will retain the folllowing journeys:
0835 Pollington-Selby (School Days)
0847 Drax-Selby
0922 Selby-Goole (via Hook on Wednesdays and Fridays)
1030 Goole-Selby
1122 Selby-Drax (Mon, Tue, Thu)
1122 Selby-Goole Tesco (Wed, Fri)
1150 Drax-Selby (Mon, Tue, Thu)
1221 Goole Tesco-Selby via Hook (Wed, Fri)
1335 Selby-Drax
1402 Drax-Selby
1600 Selby-Drax (School Holidays)
1635 Selby-Pollington (School Days)
As you can see the Hook journeys appear to be unaffacted, based on the details provided by North Yorkshire County Council. However if so, why the need for the 355? And if the above is correct Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays will have just one, pretty useless, journey to/from Goole arriving at 1014 and departing 16 minutes later. I don't think the final details of what is happening are yet in the public domain