Friday 28 February 2014

Alliance Rail/GNER Cleethorpes-London Service Application

It's been in the planning stage for a few years, but Alliance Rail yesterday (27th Feb) formally announced an application to operate up to four trains per day between Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Doncaster and London Kings Cross from December 2017, using the GNER brand. Services would be operated by Hitachi Super Express Trains (the trains being developed as part of the Intercity Express Programme). Their website also indicates that services would stop at Habrough. Earlier plans for stops at Thorne South and Retford seem to have been scrapped, and the lack of a Barnetby stop remains a surprise.

EYMS Driffield Depot To Close

EYMS have confirmed the closure of their Driffield depot, potentially by June subject to union and staff consultation, as reported by the Hull Daily Mail. EYMS has had a presence in Driffield since 1926. The closure is being blamed on central and local government funding cuts, with EYMS looking to reduce overheads to avoid significant cuts to services, and in turn job losses.

Despite the closure, only minor changes will be made to services, as all routes currently operated from Driffield depot will be reallocated to depots in Hull, Bridlington, Scarborough and/or Pocklington. As a result there will be no reduction in the number of drivers needed, and EYMS note most of Driffield's 33 staff (28 drivers) will have the opportunity to relocate. The changes that will be made include reductions in evening services on route 121 between Hull and Scarborough as buses will no longer be travelling back from Hull or Bridlington to Driffield at the end of the day.

Clearly this is sad news, but preferable to cut overheads than cut services. If EYMS was part of a larger group would Driffield depot have survived this long with just 15 buses and the main service (the 121) serving four other towns/cities with EYMS depots?

EYMS have given assurances to staff that no other depot closures are currently being considered.

EYMS Service 504 April Change

EYMS are amending service 504 in April. From VOSA:

Variation Accepted: Operating between Bridlington Bus Station and Bempton given service number 504 effective from 28-Apr-2014. To amend Route and Timetable.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

East Yorkshire Bus Cuts Coming?

East Riding of Yorkshire Council are to cut £240,000 from the concessionary bus travel scheme, with two further years of cuts expected totalling £750,000. EYMS Chairman Peter Shipp says that while he hopes not to cut any routes entirely, evening, Sunday and off peak journeys will have to be reviewed, and fare rises may be necessary.

See this Driffield Times and Post article for the full story.

Saturday 22 February 2014

North Lincolnshire Bus Cuts in 2016-17 ?

North Lincolnshire Council's proposed 2014-18 Budget includes a £68,000 saving in "bus subsidy procurement" in 2014-15 and a £100,000 reduction in subsidised bus services in 2016-17, with the development of community transport, I presume as a replacement for the affected bus services.

North Lincolnshire has not seen any major cuts to tendered services in the past few years (and the 260 Villager gained a Saturday service). Bigger cuts were actually made in 2006. 10 years after those cuts, further cuts could be coming.

The budget is presented to a full council meeting on 25th February, and the report can be accessed on this page.

Friday 21 February 2014

EYMS 1E March Changes

January saw the introduction of Hull City Council tendered service 1E, operated by EYMS, between Mizzen Road in North Hull, the city centre and Sibelius Road in West Hull. However it has struggled to run to time, and from Monday 3rd March will be revised.

Currently in West Hull all journeys serve the Royal Infirmary, Rawling Way, Hessle Road Boyes, Boulevard, Selby Street, St George's Road, Hessle Road Asda, Hawthorn Avenue, North Road, Askew Avenue and Pickering Road en-route to Sibelius Road. From next month the 1E will omit Hawthorn Avenue and North Road, instead operating directly from Hessle Road to Askew Avenue via the railway flyover. The 1E is reduced from hourly to operate every two hours, with new service 1D operating in the alternate hours. Service 1D will follow the 1E route between Mizzen Road and Hessle Road Boyes before operating directly along Hessle Road to Asda, omitting Boulevard, Selby Street and St George's Road. After serving Hessle Road Asda service 1D shall provide a replacement service for Hawthorn Avenue and North Road before joining the 1E route to Sibelius Road.

As a result Boulevard, Selby Street, St George's Road, Hawthorn Avenue and North Road go from having an hourly service to having a two hourly service. Compared to recent service standards that level of service is still good, and with a shorter route hopefully the revised 1D/1E will do better at keeping to time.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Love Your X

Today (Saturday 15th February) saw the start of a new timetable for Stagecoach's X62 Ridings Express - or as it is now branded - Love Your X - between Hull, North Ferriby, Brough, Goole, Eggborough, Glasshoughton Junction 32 Shopping Outlet and Leeds.

The service has been increased from 7 return trips Monday to Saturday and 2 on Sundays to 9 Monday to Saturday and 4 on Sunday.

Monday to Saturday Old Departure Times:
Hull - 0630, 0930, 1030, 1200, 1400, 1500, 1700
Leeds - 0900, 1200, 1300, 1430, 1630, 1730, 1910

Monday to Saturday New Departure Times:
Hull - 0450, 0630, 0910, 1010, 1110, 1330, 1430, 1530, 1740
Leeds - 0645, 0845, 1125, 1225, 1325, 1540, 1640, 1740, 1940

Sunday Old Departure Times:
Hull - 1030, 1530
Leeds - 1230, 1730

Sunday New Departure Times:
Hull - 0910, 1010, 1430, 1530
Leeds - 1125, 1225, 1640, 1740

What stands out most is the new 0450 from Hull to Leeds, particularly on Saturdays, which seems to be a bold move catering to very early-bird commuters and those connecting further afield at Leeds. It won't have any 'feed' from local services in Hull. The 0645 return from Leeds, and retimed later last departure from Hull, allows Stagecoach to offer a commuting option into Hull.

It's not just an improved timetable that has been introduced; double deckers have been replaced by coaches, the service has been rebranded, promotional offers started in association with shops in Hull and at Junction 32, and a new Megarider X weekly ticket introduced.

For most of the past decade the X62 has seen fairly frequent timetable changes - this post covers up to 2009. However since an October 2012 change (and that was only for an amended weekday timetable), the timetable has been constant. I presume that timetable has been a success and given Stagecoach the confidence to invest further in the X62 with today's relaunch. Good luck to them.

North Lincolnshire Council 'Review of Contracted Services'

North Lincolnshire Council have issued a public notice that within 28 days from 10th February, a Key Decision will be made in relation to a 'Review of Contracted [Public Transport] Services'. Part, if not all, of the associated report is however exempt from being made available to the public.

I have not found any further information on the council website about what exactly is being considered.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Service 50 makes a welcome return

Back in September Hull City Council replaced tendered Monday to Saturtday daytime service 50 with new route 58, oeprated by EYMS. It continued to link Hull City Centre with Laburnum Avenue,  James Reckitt Avenue, Ings Road, Holderness Road Morrisons and Broadway Drive. However it did not serve the southern end of Holderness Road as the 50 had done, instead operating via Beverley Road, Clough Road and Chamberlain Road; it also did not serve Jalland Lodge in Bilton Grange as the 50 had done.

This change did not go down well, as many users of the 50 wanted to go to the shops, banks and other facilities on the southern end of Holderness Road. The aim of the 58 was to offer daytime links to employment sites on Clough Road but I guess these links haven't been well used, and the users of the 50 weren't happy with having to go to Hull City Centre or Morrisons when they would sometimes rather shop on Holderness Road.

At the last Hull Bus Forum, the city council representative called the change a "mistake", and from Monday 10th February it is being reversed with the 58 being replaced by returning service 50, again operated by EYMS. The timetable is reduced with less journeys; the 58 had 7 from Hull and 6 from Broadway Drive while the 50 will have 4 from Hull (5 on Saturdays) plus a 'short' extra from Jalland Lodge to Morrisons and 5 from Morrisons (6 on Saturdays). The operating period is also slightly reduced. The early 0810 from Hull is cancelled, first departure from Hull now 1020 (probably no need for the 0810 now the route no longer serves Clough Road) and the last journey from Hull Interchange is 1640 rather than 1730 - that should please passengers who complained at the Hull Bus Forum the 1600 was too early and 1730 too late with the old 58 timetable.

At least Hull City Council have recognised their mistake and returned the service to what passengers seem to want. Goes to show though that it's not just bus operators that can misjudge public opinion. In those areas such as Tyne and Wear where authorities wish to introduce Quality Contracts and plan the bus network themselves, is the public sector necessarily going to understand bus passengers wishes any better than private sector operators?