Sunday 23 April 2017

Great news for Inglemire Lane, not so much elsewhere

Easter Sunday saw Stagecoach revise services 9/9A and 5. The 9 links Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham, Hull Interchange, Garden Village and North Point, while the 5 links Hull Interchange with the Avenues, Orchard Park and Kingswood.

Service 9 sees the biggest changes. In West Hull the service had been operating hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes routing via the Bricknell Estate and Chanterlands Avenue. It still does operate hourly, but via Endyke Lane, Hall Road, Inglemire Lane, Cranbrook Avenue, Newland Avenue and Princes Avenue. Endyke Lane, Cranbrook Avenue, Newland Avenue and Princes Avenue already have EYMS services every 20 minutes to Castle Hill Hospital via Cottingham, however the Bricknell Estate and Chanterlands Avenue no longer have a link to Castle Hill Hospital and Cottingham. The peak time service has also been withdrawn which may impact those with early or late appointments at Castle Hill Hospital; the first arrival at Castle Hill Hospital is now 0900 weekdays/1000 Saturday rather than 0749, and the last departure is at 1600 rather than 1800. Apart from one morning EYMS service 61C, the 9 is also the only service along St Margarets Avenue in Cottingham.

Service 9A, which had previously operated only in East Hull, is now extended into West Hull. It will follow the service 9 route from Hull Interchange to Inglemire Lane, then 'loops' via the southern part of Hall Road, Fairfax Avenue (not served since the 23 was withdrawn in November), the Hull City Council part of the Bricknell Estate - replacing service 9, Hotham Road North and Hall Road again back to Inglemire Lane, Hull Interchange and East Hull. The 9A in West Hull will operate hourly Monday to Saturday off peak, co-ordinating with the 9 to provide a half hourly Hull to Inglemire Lane service, with less frequent peak time journeys. Some peak time journeys will operate as service 9 due to their route in East Hull.

While the Hull City Council part of the Bricknell Estate does regain links to the Avenues, the route into Hull Interchange is less direct and longer, taking around 42 minutes inbound as opposed to around 28 minutes (timing points on the old 9 and new 9A aren't exactly the same in the Estate so not directly comparable). The apparent 'loop' on the route map also seems to include a 28 minute wait on Grammar School Road each hour to maintain the even interval frequency with service 9 over common sections of route.

This wait makes it even more disappointing that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) part of the Bricknell Estate becomes unserved - Lythe Avenue and St Mary's Avenue. ERYC had been providing 6p per passenger journey towards this part of the route - the balanced scorecard used by ERYC to decide what got cut in their reduction in bus subsidies at the start of April was weighted against routes that received less than 25p per passenger journey, probably on the basis that operators maybe able to convert such services to commercial operation without any major changes. Stagecoach evidently don't agree and the area becomes unserved - despite a vehicle and driver appearing to be waiting for 28 minutes an hour in a very nearby residential area.

The December revised ERYC proposals refer to the contract as "Bricknell Avenue-Cottingham" so maybe the funding was not for a service into Hull? It might just about be possible for the 9A to do Bricknell Estate to Cottingham and back in 28 minutes off peak (but not Castle Hill).

Whatever the contract was exactly for, these changes are not good news, unless you are on Fairfax Avenue, need access to the Avenues and University, or are on Inglemire Lane. I think I'm correct in writing that new Hull University halls of residence have been opened on Inglemire Lane, and the Lane also serves the Northern part of the university campus and some residential areas. So it is good to see Stagecoach trying to tap into a new market, and I doubt the 9 is a runaway commercial success - not only had ERYC been contributing, but Hull City Council still do for the Hull part of the Bricknell Estate and in parts of East Hull - so Stagecoach making changes as funding is reduced is perhaps understandable. However with all the negatives I can't get too excited by this service revision.

The times of services 9 and 9A in East Hull are also revised throughout the day, but with no change to the frequency - half hourly 9 at peak times and half hourly 9 and 9A combined during the off peak period. Inbound into Hull Interchange the Saturday 1602 9A from North Point now operates at 1555 Monday to Saturdays, providing a later last weekday 9A from North Point. The 1632 and 1732 service 9's from Noddle Hill become a single 1700 from North Point - the Noddle Hill peak time variation no longer operates in the afternoon. From Hull Interchange the 1545 service 9 to Noddle Hill becomes a 1550 to James Reckitt Avenue only and the Saturday only 1615 9A becomes the Monday to Saturday 1620 service, providing a later last 9A from Hull Interchange on weekdays. The service 9's from Hull Interchange at 1645, 1720, 1750, 1820 and 1850 to Noddle Hill now use the daytime route to North Point, and the 1645 moves to 1650.

Service 5 only has minor changes apart from Monday to Saturday evenings when it is substantially revised. At these times the route in Hull City Centre will be revised to terminate in the Old Town at the Market Place, with inbound journeys stopping at Paragon Square instead of serving Hull Interchange - the Paragon Square stop is on the opposite side of Ferensway to the Interchange. This provides access to one of the main areas of nightlife in Hull City Centre. It is also reduced in frequency from every 15 minutes to half hourly which is disappointing for Orchard Park and Kingswood.

However the southern part of the 5 will also be served by new Monday to Saturday evening service U5 between the Market Place, Avenues, Inglemire Lane and Hall Road/Endike Lane roundabout. On weekdays the U5 will operate half hourly, combining with the 5 to maintain a service every 15 minutes between Hull City Centre and Cranbrook Avenue. On Saturdays the U5 will operate every 10-20 minutes, combining with the 5 offer a service every 10 minutes over the common section of route. This is a frequency increase from every 15 minutes, with the Avenues being another key area of nightlife/the evening economy.

The U5 provides an evening service for Inglemire Lane, to go along with their new daytime 9/9A's. For the university student market this will be an important part of the overall 'service offer'. I'm not sure if the Hall Road/Endike Lane roundabout being a good place to 'turn' non-Kingswood journeys is also part of the reasoning behind this change? Despite the U prefix, the U5 will round year round, not just during university term times. Some late night U5's extend to/from Kingswood.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Stagecoach 13 Changes

On Easter Sunday (16th April), Stagecoach revised route 13 in Hull, linking Paragon Interchange and the City Centre with Holderness Road, Salthouse Road, Dunvegan Road, North Point Shopping Centre, Sutton Park and Orchard Park. The service remains half hourly daily daytimes between the Interchange and North Point, and throughout the full route to Orchard Park Monday to Friday.

The main change is to the route in Orchard Park; instead off most journeys operating a clockwise loop via Greenwood Avenue, Ellerburn Avenue, Hall Road and Beverley Road, journeys will run via Greenwood Avenue, Ellerburn Avenue, Orchard Park Road and Hall Road to Orchard Park Tesco and reverse. Stagecoach state this is to improve punctuality.

Peak time variation 13W, or rather college time variation that runs on all weekdays, 13W, is reduced in the evening from three journeys to one. The 13W operates as a circular around Hull, using the service 3 route between Hull and Orchard Park to complete it's loop of the city. While the 'anti-clockwise' 1554 from Hull Interchange remains, presumably for the benefit of Wiberforce College students, the 'anti-clockwise' 1640 and 1710 are now 'standard' 13's terminating at Orchard Park Tesco. Weekday evening peak service 13's from Orchard Park back to Hull Interchange change from 1555, 1625, 1655 and 1725 to 1608, 1638, 1738 and 1808.

The only significant change at weekends is an additional 1840 Hull Interchange to North Point on Saturdays, previous last journey at 1824.

Monday 17 April 2017

More Buses via Lowgate

Yesterday, Sunday 16th April, Stagecoach routed a number of their East Hull services via Lowgate in the Old Town part of Hull City Centre, and Myton Bridge, instead off Drypool Bridge. This provides improved access to a key area of nightlife, the main cultural area of Hull City Centre and a side entrance of the market. While easily accessible for most by walking from Alfred Gelder Street, these changes may help those with mobility problems and generally make bus travel more attractive and convenient for those visiting the Old Town area; it also reduces the walk needed to access the Fruit Market and Marina areas on the other side of the A63 Castle Street.

All journeys on service 16 take this revised route providing an hourly Stagecoach service to the area Monday to Saturday daytimes. EYMS also provide Monday to Saturday daytime services via Lowgate and Myton Bridge, with service 78 in both directions and journeys from Hull Interchange on service 79.

Service 16 is also having other changes; it will now extend to a new stop on the Siemens site while the timetable is revised, particularly at peak times. Evening peak departures from Hull Interchange are now at 1650 and 1810 rather than 1640 and 1740, providing a later last service but nothing at all in the key 1700 hour.

Late evening journeys towards East Hull on services 3, 4, 11, 12 and 14, mostly after 2300, will also take the Lowgate route on a daily basis.

Service 11 also has new earlier first journeys from Hull Interchange on weekdays at 0555 and 0625 (first journey previously 0655). The 0655 from North Point on weekdays will no longer serve Hull Royal Infirmary and Smith & Nephew, but the 0555, 0625 and 0655 from North Point on Saturdays will. The 2310 and 2340 from Kingswood on Monday to Saturday evenings will operate via Carr Lane to Hull Truck Theatre on Ferensway rather than the usual route via Bond Street and Albion Street in Hull City Centre. Service 12 also gains an earlier first weekday journey from Hull Interchange at 0640 (previously first service at 0710), as does service 14 at 0650 (previously 0715).

Evening services on route 5 are also now serving Hull Old Town as part of a wider series of changes to North West Hull services, which I will cover separately.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Stagecoach Kingswood Changes

Today (Sunday 16th April), Stagecoach have revised their Kingswood area services in Hull, with the main change on Monday to Saturday evenings, and Sundays. Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes service 7 had been operating Hull Interchange-North Point-Bodmin Road-Kingswood Retail Park every hour, and service 8 Hull Interchange-North Point-Wawne Road-Kingsbury Way-Kingswood Health Centre-Kingswood Retail Park every hour; Sunday evenings just had the 8 every hour. Now service 7 operates at all times, using it's Monday to Saturday daytime route from Hull Interchange to North Point and Bodmin Road, then via a one way loop of Kingsbury Way, Kingswood Health Centre and Kingswood Retail Park back to Bodmin Road, North Point and Hull City Centre.

This does simplify the simplibus network, with service 7 operating the same route all day every day, and all services into Hull operating in the same direction around Kingswood. It's not the neatest solution though having a large one way loop that for example makes a Kingsbury Way to North Point journey a lot longer that it could be. I would like to see the Kingswood residential area to North Point link be provided either by extending the 6 to North Point, consolidating all Monday to Saturday daytime travel in the Kingswood residential areas onto one single, hopefully more successful service, or through reinstating the old 7/8 evening/Sunday routes described above on an all day basis. However both of these options would probably require an additional vehicle and extra drivers which is why I guess they aren't in operation and the 7 is the way it is. Maybe the Kingswood network will further evolve over time as further housing is built on the estate, and if the proposed Wawne View development is built?

There are other minor timetable changes for the 7 and 8 as well. The number 8 is only used for Hull Interchange-North Point 'shorts' now, bar 3 weekday morning journeys that start at Wawne Road Drain Bridge, which replace the previous morning peak service 8's from Kingswood Retail Park.

The other route to the residential areas of Kingswood, service 6, also sees minor timetable changes as well as some additional evening services; there are later return early evening services into Hull from Kingsbury Way at 1820, 1850 and 1920 (last bus previously 1750), and a new 2330 departure from Hull Interchange. The 2330 oddly isn't mentioned explicitly in Stagecoach's announcement about the changes; while there is no 'all-evening' service on route 6, this could be a useful way for Kingswood passengers to get home, and everywhere served by this journey also has alternative all-evening services to complement it.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Hull Park and Ride Changes

Starting on Tuesday (18th April), Stagecoach are revising their Priory Park Park and Ride service.

Instead of operating to Hull Royal Infimary and the City Centre via the A63 and Rawling Way, the service will route via Hessle Road, Askew Avenue, Fiveways, Boothferry Road and Anlaby Road. Stagecoach state that this is due to the numbers of incidents and delays incurred, and future upgrades to the A63 set to potentially cause further disruption while they take place. Using Anlaby Road also allows the service to make use of the bus lanes provided here.

Hessle Road, Askew Avenue and Boothferry Road isn't exactly the most direct route between Priory Park and Anlaby Road however. When the Priory Park service first started the more direct route via Pickering Road was used from Priory Park to Fiveways, and another direct alternative would be to use North Road between Hessle Road and Anlaby Road. However I suspect the volume of park and ride buses may not be popular along residential North Road, and is that the reason why Park and Ride stopped using Pickering Road as well?

The good news for Askew Avenue though is that the Park and Ride service will use stops along here, providing a step change in frequency from the tendered 51 every 90 minutes to a service every 10-15 minutes. Whilst park and ride service need to be fast services to where car users want to go, not offering stops in areas with poor alternatives that are already on the route would be a missed opportunity. There could now be scope to divert the 51 via North Road or Hawthorn Avenue instead, but that would sever the Askew Avenue to Hessle Road link. The Park and Ride service also gains a stop at the KCOM stadium in addition to the existing football and rugby match specials.

The other major change is the city centre route. The service has recently been operating via Ferensway, Spencer Street, Albion Street, Bond Street, Alfred Gelder Street, Wilberforce Drive, George Street, Bond Street, Albion Street, Brook Street and Ferensway. From Tuesday it will operate via Ferensway, Spencer Street, Albion Street, Bond Street, George Street, Wilberforce Drive, Alfred Gelder Street and Carr Lane, reinstating the Park and Ride service to the Princes Quay area. The only loss is the Brook Street stop, and that is only a short walk away from the Ferensway or Albion Street stops. Removing the Brook Street stop may also help traffic flow on Brook Street, a key route for buses in the city centre accessing the Interchange.

The service continues to operate from Hull Royal Infirmary to Ferensway via Anlaby Road, with a stop provided for the station on Anlaby Road. However now Park Street bridge has been upgraded, would it be worth while routing the service through the Interchange instead? It would mean the loss of the Anlaby Road stop, and unless the service turned against the main flow of incoming traffic it could not serve the bays in the Interchange, but it would eliminate 4 to 6 buses per hour from part of Ferensway and route them via the far quieter Park Street.

Stagecoach are also planning to extend the city centre route to operate via the Old Town and Marina during some special events.

There are also some changes to the timetable. While the headline frequencies remain unchanged - every 10 minutes Monday to Friday peaks and Saturday daytimes, every 15 minutes Monday to Friday early evening and Saturday early morning - the weekday every 10 minute morning peak frequency is now provided 0700-0930 from Priory Park instead of 0730-1000, and Saturday services run around 1 hour later, with the last departure from Ferensway at 1911 rather than 1813.

Friday 14 April 2017

Kirton in Lindsey cutbacks

Nearly two weeks ago now, on Monday 3rd April, Stagecoach removed the short Scunthorpe to Kirton in Lindsey journeys on service 103 between Scunthorpe, Messingham, Kirton and Lincoln. Service 103 had been providing an hourly frequency Monday to Saturday daytimes between Scunthorpe and Kirton via Messingham, with extensions every two hours to Lincoln, but now the service is every two hours throughout the whole route. As well as the loss of frequency, Kirton has also lost it's afternoon peak time service from Scunthorpe, as the last departure from Scunthorpe is now 1605 college days/1610 college holidays and Saturdays, as opposed to 1740 and 1840 previously. (Call Connect does provide a demand responsive alternative however).

Between Scunthorpe and Messingham the hourly 103 had combined with the hourly 100 to provide a half hourly frequency; this has been maintained off peak by adding three Scunthorpe-Messingham-Scotter 'shorts' to service 100. So some good news for Scotter, but very disappointing changes for Kirton.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Humber Fastcat Changes

Last Sunday, 2nd April, Stagecoach and EYMS made changes to the 350 Humber Fastcat timetable between Scunthorpe, Barton and Hull. There have been no changes to the number of journeys, even with East Riding of Yorkshire Council withdrawing their contribution for EYMS's Monday to Saturday evening journeys, and Hull City Council withdrawing a contribution they have made. More good news is that Monday to Saturday evening journeys, and all bar the last journey on Sunday now route via the Hull City Centre loop on their outbound journey, as happens Monday to Saturday daytimes - this will be useful for the Old Town as well as Princes Quay. The Princes Quay timing point has been reinstated as well.

The main changes are down to punctuality improvements. From Scunthorpe all Monday to Saturday journeys leave at the same time as present, but daytime journey times to Hull are extended from 1 hour 12 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. From Barton daytime departures from Interchange are now at 3 minutes past and 33 minutes past the hour, with daytime journey times to Hull increased from 27 minutes to 32 minutes. Some evening journeys do have running times reduced slightly however; for example the 1810 now departs at 1815 yet still arrives into Hull for 1922, while the 1910, 2010 and 2110 arrives into Hull 3 minutes earlier.

From Hull most Monday to Saturday journeys depart 5 minutes later at 10 past and 40 minutes past the hour with journey times to Barton Interchange during the daytime increased from 40 minutes to 43 minutes. Departures from Barton Interchange to Scunthorpe Bus Station move from 15 and 45 minutes past the hour to 23 and 53 minutes past the hour during the daytime, with journey times increased from 43 minutes to 48 minutes. Hull to Scunthorpe daytime journey times increase from 1 hour 23 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. The 2025 and 2125 from Hull now depart 5 minutes earlier.

As a result of the extended journey times, 'turnaround' times at Hull reduce from 8 to 5 minutes, and at Scunthorpe from 17 to 5 minutes. The impact of congestion on bus services can clearly be seen here, and extended journey times won't help entice car users to the bus; hopefully improvements to Anlaby Road in Hull will help stabilise or improve journey times, but if they get much worse the only way to maintain a half hourly service with six vehicles would be to shorten the route, which isn't a good thought...

The Sunday times are also changed. Departures from Ashby to Hull at 0855, 0955, 1255, 1455, 1755 and 1955 become 0855, 1005, 1255, 1505, 1755 and 1955. Departures from Barton Interchange for Hull at 0955, 1055, 1355, 1555, 1855 and 2055 become 0958, 1108, 1358, 1608, 1858 and 2052. From Hull departures at 0825, 1025, 1325, 1530, 1830 and 1930 become 0835, 1025, 1320, 1530, 1825, and 1930, with Barton Interchange departures to Scunthorpe/Ashby moving from 0855, 1055, 1355, 1600, 1900 and 2000 to 0906, 1102, 1403, 1607, 1856 and 2000. Unlike the rest of week, EYMS and Stagecoach journeys have different running times between individual timing points creating a rather disjointed timetable.

Co-ordination between the 350 and Humber Flyer between Hull and Barton isn't as good as it was; leaving Hull the 50 minutes past the hour Humber Flyer doesn't fit in quite as well between the 40 and 10 minutes past the hour 350 and it did when they operated at 35 and 05 minutes past the hour. From Barton the Humber Flyer now leaves the Interchange 7 minutes after daytime service 350's, as opposed to 10 minutes afterwards previously. Ideally the Humber Flyer could do with operating 5-10 minutes later in each direction, but I doubt it is as simple as that sadly when driver rotas and maybe co-ordination with the 53 between Laceby and Grimsby is considered. Something to work on maybe?

The higher profile link between the 350 and another public transport option is the connection to Barton-Cleethorpes train service, and that hasn't faired well. Here is how they connect now:

From Cleethorpes to Hull, Monday to Friday
0652 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 0653, or more realistically 0743
0753 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 0810 (Humber Flyer)
0948 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1003
1148 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1203
1348 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1403
1548 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1603
1748 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1803
1952 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1952, or more realistically 2052
2157 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 2255

From Cleethorpes to Hull, Saturday
0651 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 0653, or more realistically 0743
0752 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 0810 (Humber Flyer)
0948 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1003
1147 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1203
1347 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1403
1547 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1603
1747 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1803
1948 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1952, or 2052
2156 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 2255

While the daytimes connections are at least reliable, the biggest issues are in the early morning and the evening. The answer to the early morning connection maybe at first be to simply wait the 0605 Scunthorpe to Hull at Barton Interchange for a few minutes and offer say a 0658 departure, however going by a comment on this 2015 blog post there are bus passengers who use that service for onward connections and would these be jeopardised if the bus ran even 5 minutes later? Are these passengers more numerous than those who would use the rail-bus connection at Barton? In the evening it might be easier to wait the bus at Barton Interchange, but it may result in a disjointed evening bus timetable with standardised mid evening departure times each hour lost.

Another factor to consider is that in December Northern Rail increased journey times between Barrow Haven and Barton from 5 to 8 minutes, seemingly to ensure on time arrivals. However those 3 minutes are all the difference between a good and a bad train-bus connection in the early morning, and on a Saturday mid-evening.

From Hull to Cleethorpes, Monday to Saturday
0658 train departure from Barton, no bus connection from Hull anymore
0738 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 0756
0923 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 0950 (I'm sure the 0953 bus into Barton will arrive before this, but this is not shown in the Stagecoach timetable)
1123 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1150
1323 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1350
1523 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1550
1723 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1755
1908 or 1956 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1959
2151 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 2200

Nothing short of appalling connections apart from to the last train of the day.

I've not got this year's Summer Sunday train timetable yet, but based on last year's:

From Cleethorpes to Hull:
1047 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1108
1344 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1358
1548 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1608
1846 train arrival, bus connection leaves Barton 1858

From Hull to Cleethorpes:
0906 bus arrival (the 1102 arrival probably arrives earlier and may connect, but not shown in Stagecoach timetable), train connection leaves Barton 1102
1102 bus arrival (the 1403 may arrive earlier), train connection leaves Barton 1359
1607 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1615
1856 bus arrival, train connection leaves Barton 1911

Until this year's timetable is published it's too early to pass judgement, but if it is the same as last year the Hull to Cleethorpes connections for the first two trains of the day will be appalling. Stagecoach, EYMS, Northern and other relevant parties really need to get together and see what can be done improve things. There are constraints for bus and rail operators, but surely things could be better?

Finally, if, and at the moment it is an if, the Sunday connections are appalling, then why does the Sunday bus timetable remain structured around a 4 month a year rail service that it doesn't even properly connect into? The Sunday bus timetable has no bus from Barton to Hull between 1108 and 1358, no bus from Barton to Scunthorpe between 1102 and 1403, restricting options for Sunday shopping. There is no arrival into Hull before 1022 and no departure between 1530 and 1825 which makes commuting for Sunday shop workers impossible or very inconvenient. 6 journeys each way isn't bad, but it's the times they run that could be improved. A standard pattern 2 hourly service would be ideal, although that would require layovers of around an hour in either Hull or Ashby.

New 350 timetable

Saturday 8 April 2017

Selby Area Changes

Monday (10th April) sees changes to Selby area services operated under contract to North Yorkshire County Council, which also impact services into the East Riding of Yorkshire; it's these particular changes which are covered below.

The weekday 0730 Bubwith to Selby via Hemingbrough and 1625 Selby to Hemingbrough via Bubwith journeys on Thornes Independent service 1 will be replaced by new service 4A between Hemingbrough and Selby, not serving Bubwith and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Monday and Friday only shopping journeys on service 1 remain.

The Monday and Friday 486/487 services pass from Utopia Coaches to Thornes Independent with a reduced timetable. Currently the 486 provides departures from Selby Bus Station at 0930 and 1300 operating an anti-clockwise circular via Hensall, Great Heck, Pollington, Gowdall and Snaith back to Selby, while the 487 provides a single clockwise journey around the same loop, departing Selby Bus Station at 1045.

Under the new timetable the Snaith part of the route is no longer served and the 487 is dropped. Instead one journey will depart Great Heck for Selby at 0956, operating via Pollington, Gowdall and Hensall. A return journey leaves Selby at 1255 for Hensall, Great Heck, Pollington, Gowdall and Hensall (again). The reduced timetable maintains connectivity into Selby for those places without any other option, but removes the option to make a brief morning trip to/from the small town of Snaith.

Wednesday service 488 also passes from Utopia Coaches to Thornes Independent. This service currently operates from Selby at 0930 via Hensall, Great Heck, Pollington, Gowdall and Snaith into Goole, returning at 1300, but will change to operate between Great Heck and Goole only; Brayton, Burn, Chapel Haddlesey and Hensall will no longer have a service to Goole.

The 486 and 488 receive a contribution from East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC), which was under threat when their original proposals for cuts to bus subsidies were published last Summer. These contributions were saved last December when revised proposals were published, thanks to a "cost reduction", presumably these changes. ERYC documents state an average 20 passengers per journey on service 486, at a subsidy of 43p per passenger journey; service 488 has an average 17 passengers per journey at a subsidy of £2.47 per passenger journey. With healthy usage figures it is good to see the main parts of services 486 and 488 continue.

Sunday 2 April 2017

Stagecoach Scunthorpe 10/33/34

Until yesterday, Stagecoach operated a service 10 town circular service in Scunthorpe. Odd in that it had the same number clockwise and anti-clockwise, unlike the 31/32 and 33/34, the 10 operated from Scunthorpe Bus Station via Station Road, Rowland Road, Warwick Road, Lilac Avenue, Sandhouse Crescent, Healey Road, Warley Road, Bellingham Road, Lakeside Retail Park, Fulbeck Road, Ashby Broadway, Burringham Road, Manor Farm Road, Bridges Road, Swinburne Road, Bristol Road, Plymouth Road, West Common Lane and Ashby Road back to Scunthorpe Bus Station, and vice versa.

From tomorrow, Monday 3rd April, the 10 will no longer be operating; it had been providing an hourly Monday to Saturday offpeak service in each directon. Revised services 33 and 34 provide a partial replacement. Service 33 had been operating from Scunthorpe Bus Station via Ashby Road, West Common Lane,  Plymouth Road, Bristol Road, Swinburne Road, Bridges Road, Manor Farm Road, Willoughby Road, Manby Road, Quebec Road, Moorwell Road, High Leys Road, Willoughby Road, Chancel Road, Cambridge Avenue, Manor Road, Bottesford Lane, Bottesford Road, Ashby Town Centre, Collum Avenue, Alvingham Road, Old Brumby Street and Cemetery Road back to Scunthorpe Bus Station, with service 34 operating in the opposite direction. Both the 33 and 34 each operated hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, including peaks, and combined with service 10 to provide a half hourly off peak service between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Manor Farm Road.

The new 33 only operates between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Ashby Road, West Common Lane, Plymouth Road and Bristol Road before returning back into Scunthorpe via West Common Lane and Ashby Road, providing two service per hour Monday to Saturday off peak, although when combined with revised service 34 a service is provided every 20 minutes.

Revised service 34 follows the service 33 route from Scunthorpe Bus Station to Bristol Road then routes via Swinburne Road, Bridges Road, Manor Farm Road, Willoughby Road, Manby Road, Low Leys Road, Moorwell Road, High Leys Road, Willoughby Road, Chancel Road, Bottesford Road, Ashby Town Centre, Fulbeck Road and Bellingham Road to Lakeside. It operates hourly Monday to Saturday off peak and half hourly at peak times.

These changes create winners and losers. The frequency on the Scunthorpe Bus Station-West Common Lane-Plymouth Road-Bristol Road section increases from half hourly to every 20 minutes off peak, and from hourly to half hourly at peak times. There are new links from many parts of the service 34 route to Lakeside Retail Park. Fulbeck Road and Bellingham Road gain a peak time bus service.

Eastern Scunthorpe fairs badly in these changes. Due to the withdrawal of service 10,  Lilac Avenue, Sandhouse Crescent and Healey Road are now unserved; all three roads are close to services 31/32 (within walking distance?) so maybe not a huge issue, however one journey per hour on the 20 minute frequency 31/32 services could have been diverted via Lilac Avenue/Sandhouse Road and another via Healey Road to maintain a service while not significantly reducing frequencies on the parts of Warwick Road and Warley Road that would be missed out. Messy perhaps, but a service could have easily been maintained. Station Road in Scunthorpe is also left with little service, one morning journey on the 350 Humber Fastcat and journeys from Scunthorpe Bus Station on EYMS 360/361. Rowland Road, parts off Warwick Road and Warley Road no longer have a link to Lakeside, and while Bellingham Road and Fulbeck Road retain links to Scunthorpe Bus Station, the new 34 takes a lot longer than the 10 did. Maybe the 4 (not on Saturday's though), or one journey an hour on the 31/32 could serve Fulbeck Road instead?

The changes to services 33 and 34 leave the only Monday to Saturday daytimes service between Scunthorpe and Ashby via Cemetery Road, Old Brumby Street, Alvingham Road and Collum Avenue as Hornsby Travel service 12, operating half hourly on weekdays and hourly on Saturdays. Not that long ago the 12 and 33/34 combined to provide a service every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes. Cemetery Road now has a better Sunday daytime service compared to Saturdays, with services 31A/32A operating half hourly - it is also now has the same frequency on weekday and Sunday daytimes, and is only served by Stagecoach on evenings and Sundays.

In Bottesford, the new 33 simply operates along the whole length of Chancel Road, omitting Bottesford Lane, Manor Road and Cambridge Avenue. Bottesford Lane is also served by the half hourly Hornsby Travel 22 on weekdays, and by the 4 on Saturdays, so perhaps the 33/34 isn't a significant loss, although like Cemetery Road it now has a better Sunday service on the 31A/32A than on Saturdays, and is only served by Stagecoach on evenings and Sundays. Manor Road will now only be served by the evening/Sunday 31A/32A. Cambridge Avenue is also served Monday to Saturday off peak by hourly service 11, but will be left unserved in the morning peak. It too is served by the 31A/32A, so has evening and Sunday services, and a Sunday daytime frequency that is double the Monday to Saturday frequency!

In the Yaddlethorpe and Riddings area the Monday to Saturday off peak frequency into Scunthorpe is effectively halved to hourly; due to their location on the old 33/34 routes a journey into Scunthorpe took about the same time whether travelling via Ashby or via West Common Lane. Again the Sunday daytime frequency on the 31A/32A at half hourly is double the hourly 34, and for travel into Scunthorpe Town Centre, effectively quadrupole the frequency. The 34 will use Low Leys Road instead of Quebec Road, which retains the 31A/32A.

Elsewhere the section of Burringham Road between Messingham Road and Willoughby Road no longer has a Monday to Saturday daytime service after the withdrawal of the 10, but retains the 31A/32A, while Manor Farm Road and Bridges Road go from a half hourly to hourly service off peak, with longer journeys into Ashby following the withdrawal of the 10.

Hopefully I've not missed anything. Once again this underlines what a mess the Scunthorpe Town Network is. The decline of Scunthorpe Town Centre as a shopping destination cannot help - the latest is that Wilkinson's are closing later this year - and the replacement shopping destinations being spread out as opposed to being concentrated on one or two locations, probably doesn't help either. Ashby High Street is nothing new, but there is also the M&S/Debenhams development on the old Trent Valley Garden Centre, a rejuvenated Skippingdale Retail Park and the longer standing Lakeside Retail Park. Plus Brigg not too far away if you want a market town, plus Doncaster Town Centre, Doncaster Lakeside, Meadowhall, Gainsborough Marshalls Yard, Lincoln, Hull ... And while attempts are being made to regenerate Scunthorpe Town Centre, a university technical college and social housing provider head office don't help bus services on Saturdays, and not that much on weekday off peak periods either. While this needs taking into account though, something needs to be done to stop the cuts and decline in Scunthorpe Town Services.

Stagecoach's announcement starts with "Following negotiations with North Lincolnshire Council" - things could have been a lot worse. At one point Traveline East Midlands just showed the 33 every 20 minutes and no 34, which would have left large parts of Riddings and Yaddlethorpe, plus Fulbeck Road and Bellingham Road unserved Monday to Saturday daytimes.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Stagecoach 51 Cutbacks

Stagecoach have cancelled the vast majority of their planned April changes in North East Lincolnshire, with one exception, changes to service 51 between Grimsby and Louth. Their announcement covers the withdrawal of the college day only 51C journeys serving Franklin College at 0730 from Louth and 1620 from Grimsby; alternative journeys remain from Louth at 0725 and Grimsby Riverhead Exchange at 1615, serving Grimsby Institute within walking distance of Franklin College. Franklin College also run their own service from Louth.

However looking at the old service 51 timetable on the Stagecoach website it seems the Monday to Saturday 1540 Grimsby to Louth is also being withdrawn, leaving a 95 minute gap in the timetable of an otherwise hourly service, along with the 1700 from Louth to Grimsby creating a 90 minute gap in the timetable in this direction.