Sunday 29 July 2018

Tried and Failed: Weekday late evening Humber Fastcat services

Catching up on Stagecoach's April changes in Hull now, starting with the 350 Humber Fastcat. At the start of 2017, Stagecoach introduced new Monday to Saturday 2220 and 2330 Hull to Barton services, plus a 2255 Barton to Hull. This was a very welcome addition, no doubt in a large part due to City of Culture, but also useful for other reasons, such as train connections from Hull, evening matches at the KC Stadium or attending an evening event in Barton, for example at the Ropewalk.

However the Monday to Friday services were withdrawn from Monday 30th April. At least Stagecoach tried, and gave the journeys 16 months (14-15 months until their withdrawal was registered with VOSA). They weren't withdrawn in haste before they had been given chance to develop custom, although maybe the 'execution' wasn't perfect? Maybe six days a week was too ambitious? Friday and Saturday, or Thursday, Friday and Saturday could have been a better way to start. Maybe they could have been promoted better? Maybe they would have done better if they also served Barton Market Place, Pasture Road and Butts Road? Could the dead running from Barton to Hull just after midnight (I presume Hull depot worked the journeys) have been run in service and picked up the odd passenger? The last Hull to Barton service on weekdays is now at 2120, and from Barton Interchange to Hull at 2052.

The improvement hasn't been an entire failure though, as the late evening journeys continue to run on Saturdays. Hopefully these are doing well and can have a long term future.

Service 18

EYMS operated their mostly commercial 'version' of service 18 between Market Weighton, Holme On Spalding Moor, Bubwith, North Duffield, Wheldrake, York Designer Outlet, Fulford and York for the last time on Saturday 5th May. They had taken the previously tendered service on in April 2014, and provided a Monday to Saturday daytime service every two hours (occasionally more frequent) along with a limited Friday and Saturday evening service. EYMS extended service 46 between York and Market Weighton to Holme On Spalding Moor as a partial replacement.

It has been left to local council's to step in to replace the rest of the 18 - though in fairness to EYMS the 18 had been a fully subsidised route until they took on some of the commercial risk four years ago. East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC), North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council have funded a far more limited service than what was previously provided, still operated by EYMS. There are journeys Monday to Saturday from Holme on Spalding Moor into York at 0705 (0710 Sat), from North Duffield into York at 0945 and 1120, from Wheldrake into York at 1321, and Bubwith into York at 1645. In the reverse direction departures from York operate at 0900 and 1035 to North Duffield, at 1235 to Wheldrake, at 1540 to Bubwith and at 1745 to Holme On Spalding Moor. This is a very basic service, and apart from at peak times, avoids any overlap with the 46, quite sensibly in some ways with one bus trying to cover what two (I think) did before. Unfortunately Bubwith doesn't have a convenient shopping link in this timetable.

It's not quite as limited as this though. Monday to Friday ERYC have also been directly operating some connecting services into EYMS's 18; 0924 and 1059 from Holme On Spalding Moor to North Duffield, returning at 0945 and 1120, and then 1224 from Holme On Spalding Moor to Wheldrake, returning at 1300.

As well as this shuttle, a Friday and Saturday evening service is also provided, operated by EYMS, departing Holme On Spalding Moor for York at 1855, and returning from York at 2300 - I believe this is funded by parish council's. Average loading information published for the 18's previous timetable by City of York Council indicates the evening service loads quite well.

Going by some of the village facebook groups it seems that there will soon be a new  slightly improved 18 timetable, minus the ERYC shuttle bus and with more through service to/from Holme On Spalding Moor. Evening services look set to remain dependent on parish council contributions again.

Saturday 28 July 2018

The Slightly Improved 45 and 46

Back on Tuesday 8th May, EYMS amended their 45/46 services between York, Pocklington, Market Weighton, Driffield and Bridlington.

Whilst retimed significantly - by up to half an hour - between York and Pocklington, the two services continue to provide a combined hourly Monday to Saturday daytime service on this section, along with a limited evening service. On this section the only other notable change seems to be that there are now some morning services from York, and afternoon services into York, running via the University.

Between Pocklington and Market Weighton the services become hourly combined all day, apart from a couple of two hour gaps departing Market Weighton. This is an improvement from the previous timetable that was hourly late morning/early afternoon but then had only a limited service for the remainder of the day. Combined with the X46, the 45 and 46 offer two well spaced services an hour Monday to Saturday daytime between York, Pocklington and Market Weighton.

The majority of service 46's now extend beyond Market Weighton to Holme on Spalding Moor, acting as a partial replacement for EYMS's previously mostly commercial 18 between Market Weighton, Holme on Spalding Moor and York. EYMS withdrew this at the same time as making these changes to the 46, with the 46 replacing the Market Weighton to Holme on Spalding Moor section, as well as maintaining a commercial Holme on Spalding Moor to York connection, albeit via a longer route. The 46 provides 5 services a day to/from Holme on Spalding Moor including a peak time service, whereas the mostly commercial Monday to Saturday 18 had provided 6-7 Market Weighton to Holme on Spalding Moor services a day and 8-10 Holme on Spalding Moor to York services a day. It should be noted that the replacement tendered 18 still provides some Holme on Spalding Moor to York services.

Service 45 continues beyond Market Weighton to Driffield and Bridlington. Between Market Weighton and Driffield there is simplification with all services, apart from a single afternoon York to Driffield working that has no 'balancing' departure from Driffield (maybe works a schools service on schooldays?), now serving North Dalton and Bainton en-route. Previously most 45's omitted Bainton and some omitted North Dalton.

The 45A variation remains, using the more 'traditional' and quicker route between Pocklington and Driffield via Warter (and omitting Bainton). The 1350 from York 45A has been replaced by 1320 and 1420 45's, so the only 45A's through to/from York are the morning peak Bridlington to York service and early evening return. There is an additional 45A in each direction between Pocklington and Bridlington however, departing Pocklington at 0830, 125 minutes before the previous first 45 departure from Pocklington to Driffield and Bridlington, and leaving Bridlington at 1850, two hours after the last 45 departure. The main purpose of these new journeys would appear to be to transfer one 'diagram' from Bridlington to Pocklington depot, but they may be useful to some travellers, and with a 23 minute wait in Pocklington, a York connection is available in the evening (a morning connection is available as well, but with an 82 minute wait on weekdays and 52 minutes on Saturdays).

Overall the 45/46 came out of these changes with some small improvements.

Thursday 26 July 2018

Stagecoach register Driffield School service

I don't normally cover VOSA registrations these days, nor dedicated schools services, but this registration today stood out to me for the amount of 'dead' mileage involved - Hull to Sledmere is around 28 miles, and if the vehicle returns to Hull during the day, Driffield to Hull is 23 miles.

PB0001484/386 Registered
Route: Sledmere to Driffield School
Service number: HU_7DR (7DR)
Service type: Normal Stopping
Effective date: 04 Sep 2018

Sunday 22 July 2018

The residual 504, and the end of the 502

EYMS operated their service 504 for the last time on Saturday 5th May. Under EYMS operation the service routed from the village of Bempton, north of Bridlington, via Buckton, the Hawthorns Holiday Park, Bempton Lane, Marton Road, Marton Gate, Sandsacre Road and Limekiln Lane before operating a 'loop' via the Health Centre and Bridlington Bus Station back to Limekiln Lane and as per the inbound route. The service operated hourly Monday to Saturday off peak, with some schoolday afternoon gaps.

From Tuesday 8th May EYMS had new service 5 operating half hourly along Bempton Lane, services 12 and 13 operating every 30/60 minutes along Marton Road, service 6 every hour along Marton Gate and service 14 every hour along Limekiln Lane. However their new network did not include Bempton or Buckton, nor Sandsacre Road.

As far as I can tell Sandsacre Road has no replacement service, but for Bempton and Buckton, East Riding of Yorkshire Council (EYRC) have stepped in, with a limited replacement. From Wednesday 9th May, ERYC introduced a directly operated 504 between Bempton and Bridlington, albeit with a different route. The 504 still serves Buckton and The Hawthorns Holiday Park but then serves Darwin Road as a service 503 replacement and St Aidan Road as a service 510 replacement before running to the Health Centre and Bridlington Bus Station. Like the 504, the 503 and 510 had both operated hourly Monday to Saturday, the 510 at peak times as well. EYRC's 504 started with two journeys in each direction on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, departing Bempton at 0930 and 1130, and Bridlington Bus Station at 1100 and 1300. Tomorrow, Monday 23rd July, sees a 1330 departure from Bempton and 1545 service from Bridlington Bus Station added to the timetable.

This is huge cut for Bempton, Buckton, Darwin Road and St Aidan Road. In addition, for Bempton and Buckton it came at the same time as the loss of their other service, the ERYC funded, EYMS operated 502 which provided a weekday evening peak and Monday to Saturday evening service between Bridlington Bus Station, Kirkgate, Sewerby Road, Viking Road (evening)/Sewerby Hall (peak), Flamborough, Bempton and Buckton. 

The following quote is from the Bempton Parish Council website (note the route in the evenings on service 502 was not the same as the 504):
"Service 502 operates Monday to Saturday along the same route in the evenings.  This service is currently subsidised by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.  However, given EYMS’s decision to terminate the daytime services, the Council has decided to cease providing subsidy for the evening service and transfer this subsidy in order to maintain a daytime connection to Bridlington for residents of Buckton and Bempton.  The council feels that maintaining a link to health facilities, shopping and other key facilities during the day for residents is the best way to use the resources currently available to it for the purpose of supporting a bus service for the two villages.  "

In this context the withdrawal of the 502's subsidy is understandable, even if it is regrettable. It should be noted Bempton has also a rail station on the Hull-Bridlington-Scarborough line.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Flamborough 510 becomes 14

EYMS replaced their main Bridlington to Flamborough service 510 with new route 14 on Tuesday 8th May, as part of wider changes to their Bridlington Town Bus Network. The service remains hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes (including peak time).

The difference comes from a revised, more direct route in Bridlington. The 510 had operated in from Flamborough via Sewerby Road, St Aidan Road and then a one way loop via Queensgate, Quay Road (Health Centre), Bridlington Bus Station, Flamborough Road and a different part of Queensgate back to St Aidan Road, Sewerby Road and Flamborough.

New service 14 simply routes via Limekiln Lane, Eighth Avenue and Flamborough Road to/from Bridlington Bus Station, a far more direct route, especially inbound, however with the loss of access from Flamborough and Sewerby to the Health Centre and East Riding College (close to Queensgate). The 14 replaces the 512 and 513 along Limekiln Lane and Eighth Avenue which had operated every 45 minutes, and also the hourly 504.

Most of Sewerby Road is now covered by hourly service 6, whilst hourly service 5 covers part of Queensgate. However St Aidan Road has been left with a very limited three day a week service on revised route 504, now operated directly by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

The 14 takes 25 minutes from Flamborough North Landing to Bridlington Bus Station, as opposed to 30 minutes on the 510, whilst in the opposite direction the 14 takes 29 minutes compared to 23 minutes on the 510 (4 of these extra minutes are between Sewerby and North Landing where there has been no change of route). EYMS noted in their announcement of the 14 that " The new shorter route should also help buses keep to time better", indicating punctuality may have been an issue.

Sunday 15 July 2018

EYMS Bridlington Town Service 6

On Tuesday 8th May, EYMS introduced new Bridlington Town Service 6, replacing parts of previous services 503, 510, 512 and 513 that operated for the last time on Saturday 5th May; a small part of EYMS's 504 is also covered by the new 6, with the 504 continuing to a revised route operated 'directly' by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, of which more in a future post.

The new 6 covers the north eastern part of Bridlington operating hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes from Bridlington Bus Station via Flamborough Road, Queensgate, Hustler Road, Sewerby Road and Viking Road before looping via Marton Gate, West Crayke and The Crayke back to Viking Road and as per the outbound route back into the town centre.

The eastern part of Queensgate and Hustler Road had previously been served by hourly service 503, and the new service 6 with nine journeys a day is a slight improvement on the 503's seven weekday and eight Saturday services. The section of Sewerby Road served was previously covered by the hourly 510, though the 6 is a slight downgrade as unlike the 510, the 6 does not operate at peak times (first departure 0845 from Bridlington Bus Station, last departure 1655).

The rest of the route primarily replaces parts of the 512 and 513 circulars, that had each operated every 45 minutes including at peak times. In east Bridlington they operated from the Bus Station via Eighth Avenue and Limekiln Lane, now covered by the new 14, then via Viking Road and The Crayke 'area' before running via Marton Road and Trentham Drive en-route to/from Bridlington Bus Station. (See service 5 for replacing the rest of the 512/513). The 512 operated anti-clockwise, covering Moordacks Road, Keppel Drive, Thorntondale Drive and Wharfedale Drive in The Crayke 'area' - none of which are now served - and the 513 operated clockwise, serving West Crayke and The Crayke. Whilst the 6 brings simplification to these areas, it also brings a reduced service and loss of peaktime buses, as well as a service to the health centre.

Finally the 6 also acts as a replacement for the hourly 504 along Marton Gate.

Friday 13 July 2018

EYMS Bridlington Town Service 5

Just over two months ago, on Tuesday 8th May, EYMS revamped their Bridlington Town Bus Network. Routes 503, 507, 510, 512, 513 and 517 all operated for the last time on Saturday 5th May, and route 504 for the last time with EYMS, and were partially replaced by new route 5, amongst other routes.

The 5 routes from Bridlington Bus Station via Quay Road, Queensgate, St Mary's Walk, Jubilee Avenue and Watsons Avenue before performing a loop via Harewood Avenue, Trentham Drive, Bempton Lane and a small part of Marton Road back to Watsons Avenue and as per the outbound route back to Bridlington Bus Station. It operates every half hour Monday to Saturday daytimes with an hour's gap on weekday mornings and an hour's gap on schoolday afternoons.

Queensgate, St Mary's Walk and Jubilee Avenue had been served by the 507 and 513. The 507 had provide an hourly service, direct inbound to Bridlington Town Centre but via the Old Town and New Pasture Lane outbound, whilst the 513 had provided a service every 45 minutes, direct outbound from Bridlington Town Centre but via Trentham Drive, West Crayke, Viking Road and Limekiln Lane inbound. The section of Queensgate covered by service 5 also had service 510 inbound to Bridlington.

Watsons Avenue was covered by the 507 and 513, but also by their 'opposites' on services 517 and 512 respectively that routed via St John's Street and Kirkgate instead off Queensgate, St Mary's Walk and Jubilee Avenue. Like the 507 and 513, the 517 and 512 operated hourly and every 45 minutes respectively. Harewood Avenue and Trentham Drive had been covered by the 512 and 513 giving two services every 45 minutes, whilst Bempton Lane had the 512 and 513 plus the hourly 503 and 504.

In terms of frequency changes the 5 is a mixed picture, and in some places it rather depends on how much the indirect routings on the old network are considered. It is certainly a major simplification though. Having your direct service every hour in one direction and every 45 minutes in another was bizarre for example.

Not that things stay quite so simple for long. In the changes, the 512 and 517 along St John's Street and Kirkgate were not replaced, leaving these roads unserved. From Monday 23rd July alternate 5's become 5A's routing via St John's Street and Kirkgate instead of Queensgate, St Mary's Walk and Jubilee Avenue. Slightly less simplicity, but for a good reason.

Saturday 7 July 2018

EYMS Bridlington Town Service 4

Back on Tuesday 8th May, EYMS replaced their 507/517 Bridlington Town Services to the Old Town and New Pasture Lane areas with new service 4.

The 507 and 517 had each operated hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, with some schoolday gaps, combining to give a half hourly frequency between Bridlington Bus Station, Quay Road and the New Pasture Lane area. Between Quay Road and New Pasture Lane the 507 routed via Brett Street, Brookland Road, South Back Lane, Leys Road, Westgate and Market Place (Old Town) to the New Pasture Lane area before returning via Marton Road, Watsons Avenue, Jubilee Avenue, St Mary's Walk (East Riding College) and Queensgate to Quay Road and Bridlington Bus Station. The 517 operated from Quay Road via St Johns Street, Kirkgate and Sewerby Road to Watsons Avenue and then the reverse of the 507 route via the New Pasture Lane area back into Bridlington Town Centre.

New service 4 is much simpler, operating from Bridlington Bus Station to the New Pasture Lane area via Quay Road, Brett Street, Brookland Road, South Back Lane, Leys Road, Westgate and Market Place (Old Town), and then returning via the same route. The frequency is every half hour Monday to Saturday daytimes with some schoolday gaps. Hopefully this simplicity with drive growth, and for the likes of Brett Street and Brookland Road the number of direct services into Bridlington Town Centre is doubled (previously they had two services an hour, but one was via the New Pasture Lane area).

However what about those areas that the 4 doesn't cover? New service 5, of which more later, covers Queensgate, St Mary's Walk, Jubilee Avenue and Watsons Avenue, with Marton Road served by the 12 and 13 between Bridlington and Scarborough. This leaves St Johns Street, Kirkgate and parts of Sewerby Road from service 517 unserved.