Monday 9 September 2013

LinQ Revisited

Earlier this month I previewed the new Saturday night LinQ service in Hull, operated by Stagecoach. I had thought the service had received some sort of funding, as it would make more sense for Stagecoach to strengthen frequencies on existing services instead, making existing evening services stronger.
"I'm wondering if Stagecoach have received some funding for this service as an attempt to connect many key locations in Hull's evening/night life economy? From Stagecoach's perspective I would have thought however it would make more sense to strengthen Saturday evening frequencies on existing routes such as the 15 along Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue, and the 51 along Holderness Road and Ings Road. Both routes also serve Kingswood, another important leisure destination. It will be very interesting to see how the LinQ performs." 
Today I see Stagecoach have been speaking to the Hull Daily Mail about the new service, and the article gives the impression it is a commercial venture by Stagecoach. Good to see them trying to develop new opportunities and support the night time economy of Hull.

It seems the service has two main aims - to link East Hull to the Avenues, and to serve the Old Town area of Hull City Centre - both the Avenues and the Old Town are key areas of nightlife. However I'm still a bit sceptical that LinQ is the best way to do this. The Old Town can easily be served by slightly re-routing existing city centre services that don't currently serve it.

The direct East Hull to the Avenues link isn't something any existing evening routes offer, but LinQ only serves a limited part of East Hull anyway. Stagecoach are also hoping other East Hull travellers will catch existing services to connect with the LinQ, but if so, then why not just promote existing connections available at Paragon Interchange? Is it really so inconvenient to travel into the City Centre en-route to the Avenues? On a cold rainy night wouldn't it be better to wait in an undercover staffed Interchange than at an exposed on-street bus shelter? Other options to improve cross-Hull connectivity could be to consider offering - and promoting - cross Hull evening services similar to the N15/N51 nightbuses. Stagecoach could also consider starting the N43 in the Avenues area before serving the City Centre.

By Stagecoach;s own admission "it's very much a tester", with the service only guaranteed until the start of next year. Initially Stagecoach are aiming for 600 travellers a night, with sustainability reached if 1000 travellers use the service each night. If LinQ is successful, it could also operate on extra nights.

Stagecoach's intentions are good, but personally I'm not convinced they are implementing them in the best way. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Hull Daily Mail report is incomplete as it only mentions that the service runs from 6pm until 9.30pm. The fact that it continues every ten minutes (in the opposite direction) until after 11pm and then every 50 minutes until 1.30am is overlooked. This has led to some readers commenting that the new service won't be any good if it finishes at 9.30pm