Saturday, 7 December 2013

LinQ Changes

Last Saturday (30th November), Stagecoach in Hull altered their Saturday night LINQ service that commenced on 7th September as a circular service; between 1800 and 2100 operating clockwise from Clough Road via Holwell Road, Sutton Road, Cavendish Road, Ings Road, Holderness Road, Witham, George Street, Alfred Gelder Street, Carr Lane, Ferensway, Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue back to Clough Road, and from 2130 operating anti clockwise. The frequency was every 10 minutes until 2300 then after a few 'short journeys' between Clough Road and Hull the anti-clockwise service resumed on a 50 minute frequency until 0130.

The circular route is now no more. The LinQ service now operates from North Point via two alternative routes to Holderness Road, Witham, Alfred Gelder Street, Carr Lane, Hull Interchange (journeys from North Point only), Spring Bank, Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue to Clough Road Mecca Bingo. The focus remains on connecting East Hull to the City Centre and the Avenues nightlife, with 6 services an hour from North Point departing between 1800 and 2100 (an even interval 10 minute frequency operates from Holderness Road onwards. Then from 2130 and 2300 a 10 minute frequency operates from Clough Road back to North Point until 2300, followed by 2310 and 2320 Clough Road to Alfred Gelder Street short journeys then a half hourly Clough Road to North Point service between 2330 and 0200 - an improvement on the previous 50 minute service.

Between North Point and Holderness Road, services operate alternatively via Midmere Avenue, Howdale Road, Dunvegan Road and Salthouse Road as LinQ 1 or via Wawne Road, Sutton Road, Gillshill Road, Cavendish Road and Ings Road as LinQ 2. While Ings Road was on the original LinQ route the other areas were not, thus the new routes provide a greatly enhanced Saturday evening/night service to these areas - most notably for Salthouse Road who's previous evening service comprised a solitary 2340 Hull-North Point journey on service 10, 6 hours after the previous departure at 1740.

These changes certainly seem to be an improvement, more buses post midnight, more areas served, easier early evening connections to other services by now serving Hull Interchange. Interesting the circular services has gone; I guess there will be a lot of 'dead' running between Clough Road and North Point though maybe Stagecoach want the option of running to/from their depot on Foster Street on some journeys instead?

I had been sceptical about whether the LinQ service was the best option to improve Saturday evening/night services in Hull, and had thought improving existing services would be a better option, creating a more simple network, and I still think that would be better. However that could mean using more resources as it would need enhancements to the 10, 15, 51 and maybe the 32/32A  and 53 as well. Not for the first time it's a question of network simplicity versus resource efficiency.

Stagecoach's changes do however 'deal' with one point I had raised back when the service was introduced in September:
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?

Now some key areas of East Hull no longer need to connect to access the LinQ, which I think can only help the LinQ's future. And I still can't fault Stagecoach for trying to improve Saturday evening/night services. It's a commendable initiative.

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