From tomorrow, Monday 28th September, EYMS are reducing Hull to Willerby services 35 and 35A from hourly combined to every 90 minutes combined, with journey times slightly extended to improve punctuality. The 35 and 35A serve areas such as Willerby Parkway, Maplewood Avenue and Albert Avenue not served by the main Hull to Willerby services, and also provide a Hull Royal Infirmary link from Willerby Road, Wold Road and Spring Bank West.
Today, Sunday 27th September, has seen EYMS divert more services around the Hull City Centre "bus loop" on their inbound journey, improving access to areas of the City Centre located away from Paragon Interchange, such as Princes Quay and the Old Town. All Anlaby Road services (excluding EYMS journeys on the 350 Humber Fastcat?) will now use the City Centre loop except between 1500 and 1800 when they will operate direct to the Interchange via Ferensway.
Also today punctuality changes have been made to West Hull services 103, 105, 115, 151, 152, 153 and 154.
Some EYMS York services - routes 45, 45A, 46, X4, X46 and X47 - had a minor route change in York City Centre yesterday, Saturday 26th September, to operate outbound via Piccadilly instead of Merchantgate.
EDIT - This is not a route change, just a bus stop change from Merchantgate to Piccadilly. Thanks to the below comment for pointing this out
Yesterday, Saturday 26th September, Transdev York made slight revisions to service 36 between Sutton Upon Derwent, Elvington and York. Services now depart York 10 minutes later than previously with most services departing Sutton Upon Derwent 12 minutes later than previously.
This might be nothing new, but the Saturday service is now listed as "Saturdays and Bank Holidays", meaning the 36 is in the relatively unusual position of having a bank holiday service but not a Sunday service. This will be useful not just for villagers in Wheldrake, Elvington and Sutton Upon Derwent, but also for visitors to Elvington's Yorkshire Air Museum. Sunday and Bank Holiday service 18A operated by EYMS also serves the Museum, giving it a better service on Bank Holiday's than normal weekdays.
Most service 36 journeys have a 32 minutes layover in Sutton Upon Derwent, so it remains disappointing the time isn't used to enhance services to another nearby village, such as Newton Upon Derwent or Melbourne.
Transdev York weekday X36 also has a minor change to route via Piccadilly instead of Merchantgate in York City Centre.
EYMS made some changes to their Hull to Withernsea services yesterday - Sunday 6th September. The weekday 1550 service 75 from Keyingham to Hull and 1535 service 75 from Withernsea to Hull and have been replaced by a 1512 service 75 from Withernsea. The weekday 1637 service 77 from Burstwick to Hull has been replaced by a 1612 service 77 from Withernsea to Hull. Some other journeys have been retimed to improve punctuality.
Tomorrow - Monday 7th September - Stagecoach takeover the East Riding of Yorkshire Council contract for Monday to Saturday evening services on the 78 and 277 routes between Hull and Hedon from EYMS, who operate daily daytime services. There are a couple of small but very useful enhancements at the same time.
Departures on service 78 from Hull Interchange at 1810 and 2110, and from Hedon at 2019 and 2359 remain, as do service 277 departures from Hull Interchange at 1940 and 2320, and from Hedon at 1850 and 2150, however the 1850 277, 2019 78 and 2150 277 departures from Hedon will extend beyond Hull Interchange to Newland Avenue while the 2110 78 and 2320 277 departures from Hull Interchange will start back on Newland Avenue 15 minutes earlier. These extensions provide new access to the various restaurants and nightlife in the Avenues area of Hull. As a result the evening 78/277 services will now require more than one vehicle, but Stagecoach will have factored that into their bid.
There is also one further enhancement, a new 0005 Saturday night (early hours Sunday morning) journey on service 277 from Newland Avenue to Hedon. Arguably the villages of Bilton, Sproatley and Preston now have a nightbus service! I do wonder if diverting this journey via the Longhill estate would also be worthwhile as it's current last departure from Hull Interchange is at 2300 on EYMS service 56.
I'm not sure how much is Stagecoach's initiative and how much was in the East Riding of Yorkshire Council tender specification, but these changes are fantastic news for the communities on the 78 and 277 - small improvements can transform a basic evening service into something more exciting and useful. Lets hope these changes are well used and justified and similar improvements could be tried out elsewhere - some Barton Town Councillors for example want a later last service from Hull (currently 2125).
Yesterday, Saturday 5th September, was arguably the end of an era, as First operated their last services to and from Goole and truncated service 87 between Doncaster and Goole at Moorends. I'm not sure of the exact history of First, and Mainline before them, in Goole, but for many years they also operated the Goole Town Services which at one point included Sunday journeys to Swinefleet and Snaith. Now First in Goole is no more.
While Goole has lost it's bus link with Doncaster and other destinations south of Thorne, a Goole to Thorne replacement service 88 will be introduced by EYMS on Monday, ensuring Rawcliffe Bridge retains a bus service and that Goole and Rawcliffe continue to be linked by bus with Moorends and Thorne where onwards connections can also be made if required. It is also worth noting that for Goole to Doncaster travel the train is faster and more frequent that the First bus services ever where.
First 87 had provided an hourly Monday to Saturday daytime services, however EYMS 88 is less frequent with 8 weekday and 6 Saturday return journeys. The weekday service is generally every 90 minutes with first departure from Goole at 0725 and last departure at 1740. From Thorne the first departure is at 0806 and the last at 1820. This allows for commuting and the timetable has been designed to meet the needs of Goole College students as well. The Saturday timetable is clearly designed to be run with less resources, with services every 80 minutes except for a 130 minute gap at lunchtime. There is a good spread of journeys throughout the day with departures from Goole between 0850 and 1620 and from Thorne between 0930 and 1700.
The EYMS 88 timetable is far from perfect and not very memorable, especially on Saturdays, however it is a lot better than nothing and for First to have cancelled the 87 north of Moorends indicates the demand for an hourly services may not have been there. Hopefully over time the service can be improved and at least there are commuter friendly services as well as shopper and college student friendly services.
So while it's goodbye First in Goole, EYMS continue to grow their presence. From just operating services from Hull (and the Wed/Sat 160/162) at one point to operating the town service, Scunthorpe service, Thorne service and Sunday Selby service as well.
Labour London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan is apparently proposing to set up a 'not for profit' organisation to bid against foreign owned bus operators for London bus routes, if he is elected. The Evening Standard reports he is concerned about money spent of buses going to "subsidise the cost of a bus ticket in other European cities", a reference to ownership of various London bus operators by Deutsche Bahn, Abellio and RATP Group (he is also concerned about money being spent on dividends).
This sentiment isn't new, and has been expressed before with regards to the ownership of certain rail franchises. Personally so long as British companies have equal access to foreign markets I don't have an issue with it, but many do.
I can't help but think introducing bus franchising in England outside of London will be to the benefit of foreign owned companies more so than British ones. First have exited the regulated London market, and Stagecoach did at one point; while returning since it has been kept separate from the rest of their UK operations. Clearly neither business is keen on the franchised model and are far more comfortable in a deregulated operating environment. National Express also exited the capital some years ago and even Go Ahead who are a major operator in London would prefer partnerships outside of the capital. Independent operators could see the loss of significant parts of their business if their current commercial routes are franchised and they are unsuccessful in bidding for them. It is also worth noting that in many places the incumbent operator with potentially the most to loose is British.
The big British bus groups will adapt - they will have to otherwise they would have to significantly downsize. Rotala are enthusiastic for franchising. I'm sure some British independents will embrace a franchised model while others would accept it and get on with it.
However I can see foreign owned companies being the big beneficiaries. They know the franchising model and are comfortable with it and will embrace it. If a large or medium sized independent operators wants to sell up it could be Abellio, Transdev, RATP, Tower Transit or Comfort DelGro that will purchase. They would also have the resources to set up new operations from scratch in any areas likely to have a large franchised operation. What is a threat to First and Stagecoach is an opportunity to yes Rotala, but also to Abellio, Transdev, RATP etc.
If Arriva get refloated on the London Stock Exchange by Deutsche Bahn that could change things a bit given their large London and continental European franchised operations, but even still I do wonder if the biggest winners will be overseas based companies. That is not a problem to me, but it maybe to others.
Tomorrow, Sunday 6th September, Stagecoach launches it's simplibus network in Hull. I've already written extensively about the changes as first announced, so this post focuses on the timetables that were released later.
Simplibus 1 and 2: Hull-Boothferry Estate The biggest changes of note are a new 0500 departure from Hull Interchange on weekdays, half an hour earlier at present, and the first four Saturday morning service 2's continuing as service 10 to North Bransholme, as happens on weekday mornings. The service 1W weekday morning variation via Smith and Nephew now starts at 0530 rather than 0645. Otherwise there are just some minor retimings and slight changes to when the 'every 10 minute' Monday to Saturday daytime frequency starts and ends.
Simplibus 3: Orchard Park-Hull-Greatfield Not much to add. The first three Saturday morning services from Greatfield will operate via Smith and Nephew, as happens on weekday mornings. The only comment to add is that first Sunday departure from Orchard Park on service 3 is at 0800 compared to 0835 on the old service 13, while from Greatfield it is at 0800 compared to 0735 on the old service 43.
Simplibus 4: Orchard Park-Hull-Bilton Grange. Again not a huge amount to add. The first weekday departure from Hull Interchange to Orchard Park is at 0625 compared to 0710 on the old service 14, while the last Monday to Saturday departure from Hull Interchange to Orchard Park is at 2335 compared to 2310 on the old service 14. The last Sunday departure from Orchard Park is at 2300 compared to 2230 on the old service 14.
From Bilton Grange the first Saturday departure is at 0605, 25 minutes earlier than previous service 54. On Sundays the first departure is at 0730 rather than 0830. From Hull Interchange to Bilton Grange the first weekday departure is 90 minutes earlier at 0530 rather than 0700.
Simplibus 5: Hull-Orchard Park-Kingswood Nothing further to note other than the current Monday to Saturday evening and all day Sunday through journeys to East Hull continue (onto renumbered services 11 and 12).
Simplibus 6: Hull-Kingswood This is the brand new service in the network, operating Monday to Saturday daytimes every half hour, with departures from Kingswood between 0620 and 1750, and from Hull Interchange between 0736 and 1806. The service will serve both the Leisure and Retail Parks in Kingswood.
Simplibus 7 and 8: Hull-Sutton Park-Bransholme-Kingswood The first departure from Hull Interchange Monday to Saturday is at 0617 rather than 0655 on the previous service 29, and on Sundays at 0820 rather than 0855. On weekday mornings there are three service 8 departures from Kingswood, which is otherwise only served on evenings and Sundays. The first two Saturday morning services from North Point will operate via Smith and Nephew as on weekday mornings.
Simplibus 9: Cottingham-Hull-Bransholme Only further note to add is that only hourly Monday to Saturday daytime journeys will extend beyond North Point to Kestrel Avenue; these will be the 'short' journeys that terminate at Hull Interchange rather than the journeys operating through to Cotttingham.
Simplibus 10: Hull-Bransholme-North Bransholme-Wawne There is a new 2340 departure from Hull Interchange to Wawne, half an hour later than at present.
Simplibus 11: Hull-Bransholme-Kingswood The first three Saturday morning journeys start at North Point rather than Kingswood, but operate via Smith and Nephew, as on weekday mornings. The first Saturday departure from Hull Interchange is 30 minutes earlier at 0655 rather than 0725.
Simplibus 12: Hull-Sutton-Bransholme Only further item to note is the first three Saturday morning departures from North Point operating via Smith and Nephew matching the weekday timetable.
Simplibus 13: Hull-Salthouse Road-Bransholme-Orchard Park In Orchard Park most services will operate a clockwise loop, serving Greenwood Avenue, Ellerburn Avenue, Hall Road and Beverley Road. College time journeys serve the full length of Hall Road (i.e., starting at the Cottingham Road roundabout), though seemingly on all weekdays. The last departure from North Point on Monday to Saturday is at 1732 (1730 Sat) as opposed to 1805 (1815 Sat) on previous service 10. The first Saturday departure from Hull Interchange is at 0854 rather than 0810.
Simplibus 14: Hull-Greatfield Nothing further to note.
Simplibus 16: Hull-Marfleet This service has seen a significant change to the initially published timetable, as it has been rerouted via Newbridge Road to replace service 41, and therefore no longer serving Victor Street and Belmont Street. The first Saturday morning departure from Marfleet is significantly earlier at 0637 rather than the previous 0802 on service 46.
Hopefully in conjunction with my initial post that has covered everything! Please post a comment if it hasn't.
Yesterday, East Riding of Yorkshire Council submitted a joint devolution proposal with the City of York and North Yorkshire County Council (but not Hull City Council). In the proposition document, the following included:
"Responsibility for franchised bus services in the devolved geography for integrating smart ticketing across all local modes of transport, including integrated smart ticketing extension to the Transport for the North connected cities ticketing initiative."
If ticketing is the sole motivation, then franchising is using a sledge hammer to crack to a nut. The big bus groups have committed to a smart ticketing initiative and EYMS are part of the proposed Hullcard scheme - I'm sure something could be worked out voluntarily to meet the specific desires of this proposal without destroying the ability of operators to innovate and invest in a deregulated market that has given East Yorkshire an (on the whole) excellent network of services. And without the need to administrate a franchising scheme, money that could be better spent supporting enhancements to the bus network and reversing some of North Yorkshire's extensive cuts to tendered services.
There was also a Greater Lincolnshire expression of interest submitted covering North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire, which is far less well developed and references "Improving transport links regionally, nationally and internationally". Until the expression of interest becomes a more detailed proposal then it's uncertain what this could mean in practice.
A couple of final thoughts:
Hopefully councils will take a close look at the partnerships in South Yorkshire which have potential to achieve a far more stable, co-ordinated and integrated network without removing operator's ability to innovate and develop services
I wonder if Hull could end up regretting not pursuing a Humber approach to devolution? In the North East Lincolnshire Council statement they went as far as stating they were not bound yet to any geographical arrangement and I sense North Lincolnshire Council could have been convinced. However right now Hull has been snubbed by Leeds in it's Greater Yorkshire bid, and snubbed by York, North Yorkshire, and most significant of all East Yorkshire, with their bid that leaves Hull isolated in submitting it's Greater Yorkshire bid with no support from other Yorkshire councils. Unfortunately probably not going to happen, but it would be great to see a Humber-wide proposal emerge from the current mess.