Monday, 1 January 2018

Humber Fastcat Evening Reductions

Back in early September, EYMS's Monday to Saturday evening roundtrip on the 350 Humber Fastcat - 1935 from Hull's Paragon Interchange to Scunthorpe and 2110 from Scunthorpe Bus Station back to Hull - narrowly survived withdrawal after North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) stepped in with funding to it operating. This was a late decision, with paper timetables having stapled inserts to explain as the timetable leaflet had already gone to print without these journeys. It was only a short reprieve however as they operated for the last time on Saturday 30th December due to NLC withdrawing their funding.

The 'backstory' starts last April and East Riding of Yorkshire Council's (ERYC) cuts to bus funding, which included their contribution to these journeys. Hull City Council (HCC) also withdrew their contribution to the 350 at the same time, though no details were given of what journeys were affected. Whatever journeys where affected, it made no difference to users at the time as no journeys were withdrawn in April - a situation that can't have been sustainable in EYMS's opinion hence the near withdrawal of their evening roundtrip in September until NLC stepped in. Whilst the loss of NLC funding is the direct reason for withdrawal now, the earlier loss of ERYC and possibly HCC funding are contributory factors to the journeys ending.

In ERYC's assessment of supported bus services 3928 annual passengers were noted for the roundtrip, an average of six per journey. Subsidy was 82p per passenger though in the balanced scorecard used to assess what to cut and what to keep it was penalised for being an 'urban evening' service and for having 'substantially similar' alternatives.

So what are those substantially similar alternatives? The 1935 filled a 115 minute gap in Stagecoach departures from Hull between 1825 and 2020, so in this particular direction the worse case scenario is a user having to catch a service 45 minutes later - not good news for those concerned but no one need be stranded. Between Hull and Barton there is also a 1910 Humber Flyer, which also provides the rail connection at Barton. I wonder if a consequence of this journey being introduced in March 2016 was to take some passengers that may have used EYMS's 350 journey previously? Improving one route but impacting another?

In the other direction, from Scunthorpe, substantially similar means the last departure is now one hour earlier, at 2010 which is the most significant aspect of this cut. Again between Barton and Hull the situation is better however as there is a later alternative with Stagecoach's 2255 Barton to Hull service.

If the information on the VOSA website is correct, EYMS's contribution to the 350 is now fully commercial (as is Stagecoach's).


CHEF said...

North Lincolnshire Council as the sole sponsor of these journeys undertook a full investigation interviewing passengers every day of the week over a two week period.

Anonymous said...

Information is the two late Hull Barton services are being axed Monday to Friday with the service only operating Saturdays from the end of April

Anonymous said...