Saturday, 21 February 2015

Not A Lot Of Love For The X62

A year ago the Stagecoach X62 between Hull, Brough, Goole, Glasshoughton and Leeds was relaunched with 'Love Your X' branding. The number of return journeys was increased from 7 to 9 Monday to Saturdays and from 2 to 4 on Sundays as part of the relaunch. The relaunch came after a period of relative stability for the service, which has been prone to regular timetable changes over the past decade. September saw some minor pruning to the timetable, with a 'bold' attempt at a very early 0450 Hull to Leeds service and 0645 return cancelled, plus some Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday daytime journeys dropped.

On Monday (23rd February) however the X62 timetable is substantially reduced to 3 return journeys on weekdays, 4 on Saturdays and 2 on Sundays. Stagecoach have given up on the Leeds commuter market with remaining weekday departures from Hull at 0910, 1110 and 1510, returning from Leeds at 1130, 1400 and 1730. The weekday journeys also run on Saturdays along with a 1710 Hull to Leeds and 1930 return. Sunday departures from Hull are at 1010 and 1540, returning from Leeds at 1230 and 1800.

It would seem passengers simply didn't Love their X - either that or their 'Love' wasn't enough to generate an acceptable margin for Stagecoach. What was a comprehensive marketing initiative from Stagecoach would appear to be a failure. After seeing the new timetable I have to wonder if last year's Love Your X relaunch was a final attempt by Stagecoach to make the X62 work as an all-day service? The new service level is the lowest I can recall for at least a decade (there is a post I made in 2009 which contains some timetable history from the 00's).

I don't know for sure what is behind the X62's problems, but I would expect the train service between Hull, Brough and Leeds to be a significant factor. It's quicker, more frequent, starts earlier, finishes later, and when (hopefully not if) the route gets electrified, will only get more attractive - maybe even a doubling of frequency to half hourly. The X62 is also probably heavily focused on travel to Leeds and Glasshoughton and not to Hull which could lead to light loadings during the morning to Hull and in the afternoon from Hull.

Hopefully there is a future for the X62. Whatever the future holds though, at least Stagecoach showed the X62 some love last year with their relaunch and improved timetable. Substantial timetable cuts are far more 'acceptable' when the operator has been proactive and tried new ideas out first.


Anonymous said...

The seats used on the coaches are not comfortable for a near 2 hour journey and another factor is the endless diversions through piddly villages causing irritation and the potential for delay should something go tits up in one of these back water places with narrow roads. The fare is a massive £12 return (poor considering how long the journey is and how uncomfortable the coach is) unless you knew to book through the megabus website which offered a cheaper more realistic fare, I suspect many users and potential but put off users didn't know of this option. Finally what the hell is it with Hull, nothing to tempt people to go there for a day except the Humber Bridge and The Deep, shops were shocking as well as empty (apart from the new centre next to bus station, but that's not exactly BIG), the old part of Hull looked like it had been abandoned, Leeds on the other hand knows what's needed to attract people, spend spend spend, build build build, attractions attractions attractions, simples!

Joe said...

Hull has less stuff because it's under funded compared to all other big cities in terms of spending person.

Anonymous said...

You need more aggressive councillors/MPs to put up a fight, don't stand for it, grill these numpties running Hull and demand to know why Hull is such a downtrodden dump! Your paying tax for them to do what's best for Hull which clearly their not. The excuse of spending per person is plausable, but come on, Hull is big enough to get the funding so it doesn't feel and look like a ran down back water town, e.g. Rawtenstall.

Anonymous said...

I have been a regular user of the X62 service since it started. And in the last 15 or so years the service has seen some considerable timetable changes, but the service has never been as poor and irregular as it is now. A year ago there were 9 buses per day in each direction, now there are just 3 on weekdays and 4 on a saturday. Why is this? Funding cuts maybe? What happened to the rumoured expansion of this service (According to the Stagecoach drivers) to provide faster journey times between Hull-Leeds and an extension to provide a service to Manchester Airport (At present Hull dosn't have this) Surely a future European city of culture has the funding in place to provide better services, and not to put visitors off by cutting services. Also Goole (A sizeable port and market town) is now almost cut off from Leeds as unlike Hull, the town dosn't have a frequent train service to Leeds, so what are the townsfolk here supposed to do? To think the government wants to get us out of our cars and back onto public transport seems ludicrous now