Sunday 21 September 2014

End of the LinQ

After a year of operation, Stagecoach axed their Saturday evening/night LinQ service at the end of August.

The service had operated from North Point to Mecca Bingo on Clough Road via Holderness Road, Hull City Centre and the Avenues. Between North Point and Holderness Road the route was either via Midmere Avenue, Spring Cottage and Salthouse Road (LinQ 1) or Wawne Road, Sutton Village and Ings Road (LinQ 2). Services to Clough Road operated every 10 minutes in the early evening, then every 10 minutes from Clough Road late evening and every half hour from Clough Road between 2330 and 0200. Services alternated between the LinQ 1 and LinQ 2 routes.

As a partial replacement, Stagecoach have linked up evening journeys on the 15/new route 16 with services 32 and 51 to offer cross city journeys via Hull Interchange without the need to change buses. In East Hull the 32 and 51 serve many of the areas covered by the LinQ, including Holderness Road, Sutton Village, Spring Cottage, Midmere Avenue and North Point, plus some additional areas including Summergangs Road, Bellfield Avenue, Noddle Hill Way, Bodmin Road and Kingswood. These links run either 6 or 7 days a week, offering through services from East Hull to the Avenues on more than just Saturday evenings.

At this point it is probably worth explaining new service 16; it operates via the service 15 route between Hull Interchange and Cranbrook Avenue before omitting Orchard Park and operating directly to Kingswood Leisure Park via the part of Greenwood Avenue only served by service 14 and Beverley Road. From Kingswood Leisure Park it operates directly to the Retail Park before extending to Kingswood Health Centre, who's only other service is at weekday peak times. The 16 operates half hourly Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes, combining with the 15 to provide a 15 minute frequency over common sections of route. The 15 had operated every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday early evenings and Sunday daytimes so for Orchard Park and parts of Kingswood only served by service 15, frequency is halfed at these times. Was the 15 underused in these areas at these times? The 16 appears to serve less populated areas and has no journey time advantage over the 15. I'm struggling to understand the point of the service. While it would mean some 'double backing', Kingswood Health Centre could be served as extensions of the 15 if required.

With the exception of the late evening service on the 15 'corridor' via the Avenues being doubled with the addition of the 16, no frequencies are increased anywhere in Hull to accomodate the loss of the LinQ service. I can only guess this reflects usage of the LinQ. Similarly those parts of East Hull who's only evening service was provided by LinQ - Ings Road and Salthouse Road - gain no replacement. Neither is the 'nightbus' element of LinQ replaced, leaving just the 15 and 51 providing a limited nightbus service in some of the areas previously served by LinQ. It seems like LinQ failed, but at least Stagecoach gave it a go.

Finally worth noting some other changes to the 15. All inbound services daily after 1400 will operate directly via Park Street to Hull Interchange, Saturday afternoon services now operate via Kingswood Leisure Park, the last departure from Kingswood Retail Park on weekdays is now 25 minutes earlier at 2310 rather than 2335, while the 'N' prefix has been dropped from the Saturday nightbus service. From Hull Truck Theatre the 0200 is dropped (last bus now 0100), and from Kingswood there is a new 0000 departure but the 0130 is withdrawn (last bus now 0030).

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