On Monday 29th October, the local bus network in Scunthorpe was relaunched as 'simplibus North Lincolnshire'. This follows on from Stagecoach launching the simplibus concept of 'low' route numbers and new branding/marketing in Grimsby/Cleethorpes, Hull, Lincoln and Newark. simplibus in Scunthorpe has two interesting differences however - it's name, and the involvement of a second operator.
Until Scunthorpe, the simplibus network has been named after the main town(s) or city being served, even if the network extends outside of the main urban area. For example the 5 in the simpibus Grimsby and Cleethorpes network extends to Immingham, a separate town not part of the same urban area, and onwards to the village of South Killingholme in North Lincolnshire, in a different council area to Grimsby and Cleethorpes. In Lincoln the simplibus network covers outlying villages such as Welton. However there is no simplibus Scunthorpe, it's simplibus North Lincolnshire, and as explained below it's not as if the network extends into multiple parts of North Lincolnshire, it's contained within the Scunthorpe urban area apart from one route to Brigg and some occasional extensions of another route to East Butterwick. In that sense it's very similar to simplibus Grimsby and Cleethorpes. In many ways it doesn't matter if it's simplibus Scunthorpe or simplibus North Lincolnshire, but the name caught my attention.
Hornsby Travel are also involved in the new network, despite simplibus being a Stagecoach brand. Hornsby and Stagecoach (and Road Car before Stagecoach) have co-operated for some time within Scunthorpe, with mutual ticket acceptance and a joint town service leaflet, and by working together it presents a joined up cohesive network to customers and potential customers despite there being two operators of town services in Scunthorpe. 'simpli' it's a logical approach, and it doesn't prevent competition, for example along Spilsby Road and Angerstein Road in the Riddings estate.
The revised network contains 13 services numbered 1 to 12 and 1A. The Scunthorpe town network had been a 'mish-mash' of routes from two previous network recasts last decade, and some routes added or changed at other times.
Route 1 - Stagecoach
The 31 (anti-clockwise) and 32 (clockwise) circulars that cover Scunthorpe Bus Station, Frodingham, Ashby, parts of the Riddings estate, Westcliff, Tesco, Scunthorpe Hospital and Scunthorpe Bus Station, operating every 20 minutes in each direction Monday to Saturday daytimes, are now known as service 1 and use the same number in each direction. Other than the renumbering there are no major changes, there are some minor retimings, and a new later last anti-clockwise departure from Scunthorpe Bus Station at 1755 rather than at 1735 as previously.
Route 1A - Stagecoach
The 1A is the Monday to Saturday Evening/Sunday replacement for the 31A/32A circulars, that like their daytime counterparts now use the same number in each direction. The route is unchanged from the 31A/32A, covering most of the Monday to Saturday daytime 1 plus some additional areas, and so is the frequency, off hourly daily evenings, half hourly Sunday daytimes, in each direction.
Monday to Saturday evening clockwise departures from Scunthorpe Bus Station however change from 1800/1830/1930/2030/2130/2230/2330 Fri and Sat only to 1810/1910/2010/2110/2210/2310 - a slightly reduced early evening service and an earlier last bus Friday/Saturday but a later last bus Monday to Thursday. The Monday to Saturday evening anti-clockwise service is also slightly reduced from 1800/1830/1930/2030/2130/2230/2330 Fri and Sat only departures from Scunthorpe Bus Station to 1840/1940/2040/2140/2310 departures, again the positive is a later last departure Monday to Thursday. For Riddings and Ashby these changes do provide a half hourly service to/from Scunthorpe Bus Station as the journey time is approximately the same whichever way round the circular you travel. Sunday daytime services are retimed, while Sunday evenings are similar to the new Monday to Saturday evening timetable, but omit Tesco.
Route 2 - Stagecoach
New route 2 is largely the replacement for service 34 between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Westcliff, Riddings, Yaddlethorpe, Ashby and Lakeside, but now operates as a circular back to Scunthorpe Bus Station. It uses the same route number in both directions.
In the Westcliff estate the 'loop' around Plymouth Road and Bristol Road is dropped, leaving Plymouth Road to service 1 and Bristol Road unserved. Rather than serving Swinburne Road along with service 1, the 2 now serves Scotter Road and Lichfield Avenue, previously unserved (apart from the 16?). Taken together all the overlap between the 31/32 and 33/34 that previously existed in Westcliff is removed with the new 1, 2 and 3 services.
The other major change is to the eastern part of the service. Service 34 operated from Ashby via Fulbeck Road and Bellingham Road to Lakeside, whereas the 2 operates from Ashby via Fulbeck Road and then direct to Lakeside, before serving Bellingham Road and extending to/from Scunthorpe Bus Station via Queensway, Ashby Road and Station Road. This change provides a far more direct service from Bellingham Road and Fulbeck Road into Scunthorpe, restores a regular service to Station Road, and provides more options for travel to Scunthorpe Bus Station for those in the centre part of the circular route. Personally I would have used the old service 10 route however via Healey Road and Sandhouse Crescent, the unique sections of which remain unserved, rather than Queensway, which I don't think has any bus stops on it.
The frequency of service 2 is mostly hourly Monday to Saturday, off peak matching what the 34 offered, but less frequent at peak times - this is covered by the new service 3 however.
Route 3 - Stagecoach
The 3 replaces services 11 and 33, but with a new bit in the middle! Service 11 had operated from Scunthorpe Bus Station via Ashby Road, Ashby Town Centre, Bottesford Road and Cambridge Avenue to Yaddlethorpe where it covered Ogilvy Drive and Valley View Drive in Bottesford before returning to Ashby and Scunthorpe. The 33 were Scunthorpe to Westcliff 'shorts' of the 34.
New service 3 is a circular, following the service 2 route from Scunthorpe Bus Station through Westcliff, Bridges Road, Manor Farm Road, Manby Road and Quebec Road before diverging to pick up most of the service 11 route via Ogilvy Drive, Messingham Road, Valley View Drive, Cambridge Avenue, Bottesford Road, Ashby and Ashby Road back to Scunthorpe Bus Station. Two small parts of the old 11 route are unserved, Moorwell Road between High Leys Road and Messingham Road, and Manor Road between Messingham Road and Valley View Drive.
Service 3 operates hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes. For Westcliff the 2/3 provide an off peak bus every half hour rather than every 20 minutes on the 33/34, but for everywhere else it's positive or no change. Bridges Road, Manor Farm Road, Manby Road and Quebec Road go from hourly on the 34 to half hourly on the 2/3, and from Quebec Road at least when accounting for the possibility of using the circular both ways it could be considered there are now 4 buses an hour to/from Scunthorpe Bus Station. Similarly when accounting for the possibility of travelling in either direction, the frequency from Ogilvy Drive and Valley View Drive is now two buses an hour into Scunthorpe Bus Station, compared to hourly on service 11.
Route 4 - Hornsby Mon-Sat, Stagecoach Sun
Existing service 4 between Scunthorpe, Ashby, Broughton and Brigg is included in the network with no change to it's times or route. Whilst superficially an 'out of town' service, it does have some use for local travel within Scunthorpe as well, starting far earlier in the morning than any other service on weekdays, serving Foxhills Industrial Estate, linking Ashby Road to Lakeside Retail Park, serving Timberland on a Saturday, and providing the only evening service and part of the limited Sunday service along Ashby Road.
Route 5 - Hornsby
This is what was service 22 between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Priory Lane, Ashby, Timberland and Lakeside Retail Park. Other than the renumbering the service is unaltered, and operates every hour Monday to Friday.
Route 6 - Hornsby and Stagecoach
If it's not broke, don't fix it! Service 6 survives a full network recast for the second time I believe, and continues to operate every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes between Scunthorpe and Ashby, split between Hornsby and Stagecoach.
Route 7 - Stagecoach
This is the old service 37 in North Scunthorpe, operating hourly Monday to Saturday daytime between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Scunthorpe Hospital, Hilton Avenue, Dewsbury Avenue, Speedwell Crescent and Skppingdale Retail Park. The main change is that services now continues as a service 8 at Skippingdale Retail Park, and vice versa. The last departure from Scunthorpe Bus Station is now at 1755 rather than 1720. A two hour gap now exists Monday to Friday in departures from Scunthorpe Bus Station between 1455 and 1655.
Route 8 - Stagecoach
The 8 is an improved version of the 38 between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Scunthorpe Hospital and Crosby, but now extended to Skippingdale Retail Park via Speedwell Crescent, giving two buses an hour to these areas. The frequency remains hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes. The last bus from Scunthorpe Bus Station is now at 1725 rather than 1755, but the 1755 service 7 from Scunthorpe Bus Station to Skippingdale Retail Park returns as a service 8 via Crosby.
Route 9 - Hornsby
Service 9 between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Scunthorpe Hospital is unchanged, operating every 20 minutes Monday to Friday daytimes and with a limited Saturday daytime service.
Route 10 - Stagecoach
The Tuesday and Friday Parklands-Brumby Wood Lane-Scunthorpe and Thursday Parklands-Brumby Wood Lane-Ashby service is renumbered from service 16 but otherwise unchanged.
Personally I wouldn't have even changed the number - 16 isn't that far out of the 'sequence' (and there is a precedent for an unused number - 15 in the simplibus Hull network), leaving service 10 for future use (there will be a need to serve the new Lincolnshire Lakes development once built for example). Also this route isn't part of the core network, but a tendered service aimed at a small number of users/potential users away from the core network - it doesn't even make it onto the network map!
Route 11 - Stagecoach
This is early morning service 13 renumbered. Again I'm dubious of the need for this renumbering, for the same reasons as noted above.
Route 12 - Hornsby
Service 12 between Scunthorpe Bus Station, Brumby, Ashby, Asda, Burringham and East Butterwick continues unchanged, operating between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Asda every half hour Monday to Friday and hourly on Saturdays, with less frequent extensions to Burringham and East Butterwick.