Monday 24 June 2019

Brough/Melton/Ferriby Rail Station – Optimisation Study

On Friday (28th June), the Humber LEP's Investment and Regulation Board meets, and agenda item 8 is the following:

Brough/Melton/Ferriby Rail Station – Optimisation Study (Confidential for members of the Board only)

No further details are available due to the confidential nature of the study, but it would seem that a review of the location of Brough and Ferriby stations has taken place, as well as consideration of the possibility of a new or reopened station at Melton, in between Brough and Ferriby.

Both Brough and Ferriby stations are located in residential areas, with Brough Station also close to the BAe site. Residential development is taking place east of the current Brough station. Any new station at Melton would be in a predominately industrial area with easy access to the A63, and be far better located than Brough to act as a regional parkway station; Brough currently 'doubles up' as the local station for Brough and Elloughton and as a parkway station for the wider area.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Interconnect 51 to Mablethorpe

Back on Monday 29th April, Stagecoach extended their Interconnect 51 service from Grimsby to Louth onwards to Mablethorpe, replacing Interconnect service 59 between Louth and Mablethorpe. Interconnect 59 now operates between Skegness and Mablethorpe only as opposed to between Skegness, Mablethorpe and Louth. Good news for anyone travelling 'across Louth', less good news for those wanting to travel 'across' Mablethorpe. In Mablethorpe, both the 51 and 59 will serve the Golden Sands Holiday Park and Seal Sanctuary, as well as the town centre; the 59 previously just served the town centre.

Prior to being linked to the Mablethorpe-Skegness service, the Louth-Mablethorpe service formed part of service 10 from Lincoln to Louth then onwards to Mablethorpe.

The 51 will continue to operate mostly hourly, Monday to Saturday daytimes. The first journey from Grimsby to Louth is now at 0550 rather than 0630, and the last journey from Louth to Grimsby is at 1950 rather than 1930.

Saturday 22 June 2019

Acklams 504A

Acklams Coaches amended interworked Monday to Friday Bridlington services 131 and 504 from Tuesday 7th May.

The biggest change is on service 504 from Bempton into Bridlington, where the 0930 from Bempton and 1200 return from Bridlington Bus Station now operate as service 504A, additionally serving Fortyfoot and St Annes Road in Bridlington. If the map on is correct, the 504A seems to operate down Fortyfoot to St Annes Road and then 'double backs' on itself to resume the main 504 route.

As a result the 1230 Bempton to Bridlington 504 now operates at 1238, and the 1320 131 from Carnaby Industrial Estate to Bridlington and back now operates at 1325.

Friday 21 June 2019

Extra X21

East Yorkshire's annual 'fast' summer service X21 between Hull, Beverley, Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough has been enhanced for 2019. It is East Yorkshire's only through service from Hull and Beverley to Filey and Scarborough (otherwise connections are available at Bridlington). The rail service from Hull, Beverley and Bridlington to Filey and Scarborough was increased to hourly at the May rail timetable change, and from Hull to Bridlington there is also extra competition from Stagecoach's new 99 this year.

The usual daily 0915 from Hull Paragon Interchange and 1615 return from Scarborough remains, having started on 25th May, although ending on 1st September this year rather than 15th September as in 2018. However for 2019, a second journey each way, leaving both Hull and Scarborough an hour later (at 1015 and 1715), also operates on weekends and during school holidays (including bank holidays); again this runs from 25th May to 1st September.

At least one of the two round trips is being operated by a coach this year.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Every 15 Minutes Barton to Hull

Back on Monday 29th April, Stagecoach made a significant enhancement to the section of the Humber Flyer between Hull, Barton and Humberside Airport, alongside some other changes to the full route between Hull, Barton, Humberside Airport, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

The Humber Flyer now also has a route number - 250 - to go alongside it's name. Despite the 250 number having previously been used for services between Barton and Grimsby via Barrow, Ulceby and Immingham, there was no re-routing of the service and my speculation in this post was proved incorrect. I presume the number is to bring the service 'in line' with the 350 Humber Fastcat, with which it is now much more co-ordinated with between Hull and Barton, as detailed later on.

Almost all journeys between Hull and Cleethorpes have been retimed, the vast majority to operate 5 minutes later than previously to improve co-ordination with the 350, though some peak journeys have been retimed more substantially. The last three journeys from Hull to North East Lincolnshire now terminate in Grimsby, not Cleethorpes. This means the last service from Hull to Cleethorpes is now at 1555 rather than 1910, and from Grimsby to Cleethorpes via Clee Road is at 1732 rather than 2047. A small but disappointing change to the timetable.

In addition to the hourly Monday to Saturday daytime service between Hull and North East Lincolnshire, Stagecoach have added new Monday to Saturday hourly (with some variations) 'shorts' between Hull, Barton and Humberside Airport. Going by the timetable it would seem these are worked from Hull depot and require two vehicles. The 'shorts' are co-ordinated to give a half hourly service over this section of route, and then further co-ordinated to give an even interval Monday to Saturday daytime service of every 15 minutes between Hull and Barton when combined with the 350 Humber Fastcat. Barton had previously enjoyed three buses an hour to Hull, but they generally departed Barton Interchange at an 'uneven' 03, 10 and 33 minutes past the hour, and Hull Paragon Interchange at 10, 40 and 50 minutes past the hour; now it is 03, 18, 33 and 48 minutes past the hour from Barton Interchange and 10, 25, 40 and 55 minutes past the hour from Paragon Interchange.

Whilst the 'headline' beneficiaries of the enhancement are Barton and Humberside Airport, the improvements also benefit Boothferry Road and Anlaby Road on the North Bank, On the section of Boothferry Road between the Humber Bridge and Darleys Roundabout services have increased from four to five per hour (250, 350 & X55) and between Darleys Roundabout and the Hull City boundary from five to six per hour (155, 250, 350 & X55). Around the Humber Bridge/Boothferry Road roundabout there is significant housing development and the on going development of the Bridgehead Business Park.

Looking in more detail at the new 'shorts', the first additional 'short' of the morning runs between Hull and Barton only, and only on Mondays to Fridays, leaving Hull at 0645 and Barton Interchange at 0728, getting back into Paragon Interchange for 0800, nicely 'filling' the gap between the 0653 and 0743 350 departures from Barton that arrive in Hull at 0725 and 0825 respectively. In Barton this service adopts a one-way 'loop' serving the Market Place before the Interchange, something it would be good for the Saturday late evening 350 Hull to Barton shorts to do, to serve more of the town.

In the afternoon the 1325 'short' from Hull terminates at Barton Market Place on weekdays, and does not serve Barton Interchange. There is no return working so I am not sure why this occurs? On Saturdays the 1325 operates through to Humberside Airport as normal. The following 1425 from Humberside Airport, 1525 from Paragon Interchange and 1625 from Humberside Airport are all Saturday only as well, but the 'cycle' recommences on weekdays with the 1730 from Paragon Interchange to Humberside Airport.

These variations mean that the 250/Humber Flyer now has a different Monday to Friday and Saturday timetable; they were previously identical.

Looking more closely at the 250/350 co-ordination, whilst mostly it is perfect, it is not 100%. Most notably in the evening peak from Barton there are occurances of the 250 & 350 running at identical or near-identical times, each service having journeys leaving Barton Interchange at 1733, 1803 and 1833, followed by 1902 on the 350 and 1903 on the 250. In the morning from Hull, services leave at 0620, 0645, 0655, 0715, 0725, 0755 and 0825 before the even interval service starts. In the evening peak services depart at 1610, 1630, 1640 and 1700, and then after going 'even interval' again, depart at 1745, 1810, 1825 and 1910.

Stagecoach have supported these enhancements with a 'bespoke' timetable leaflet delivered to homes in Barton that shows a consolidated timetable for all services (250 & 350) between Humberside Airport, Barton and Hull, plus times for Cleethorpes and Grimsby on the 250. The leaflet also includes a brief selection of tickets (duo, dayout and Humber Megarider). Both the Humber Flyer and Fastcat leaflets also include a slightly different consolidated timetable, just covering Barton to Hull - the Humber Fastcat timetable having been reissued just to include this as the 350 timetable itself has not been amended.

As a Bartonian, these improvements are a 'step change' in buses to and from Hull, at least during Monday to Saturday daytimes. I very much applaud how Stagecoach have developed services, it is worth noting that until March 23rd 2009 (when the 350 gained Humber Fastcat branding and went from hourly to half hourly), the Barton to Hull frequency was just hourly. Services have been quadrupled in just over ten years. I really hope these latest improvements are a success. However there are unfortunately three not so positive points that come to mind.

Firstly the fares; Stagecoach are charging £5 Barton to Hull single and £9 return. Sadly this just isn't competitive with the car for 'one-off' journeys. On Friday I went into Hull for the morning and used Park and Ride - £2.70 both ways bridge toll with a tag, £3 Park and Ride fare and a bit of petrol/car wear & tear - it's about two thirds of the price of a return from Barton to Hull, and I don't have to walk 15 minute between my house and the nearest bus stop on the 250/350 route in Barton. It maybe that the high return fares are helping drive profits and helping to make the business case for investment, but they do make the bus uncompetitive with the car for trips like mine. The Humber megarider at £27 remains an attractively priced weekly ticket however - £5.40 per day if used 5 days a week, and £6.75 if used 4 days a week.

Secondly the doubling between Barton and Humberside Airport is a bit surprising to me. The section of route has no intermediate stops apart from at Barnetby Top and features seven miles of non-stop dual carriageway running from Barton to Barnetby Top followed by another two or three miles non-stop to the airport. Even allowing for the on-site business park, the airport sadly isn't that big and I would have thought the existing hourly service would suffice. There are no earlier journeys possible with the airport 'shorts', and the only later journey offered is at 1840 rather than 1810 from the airport to Hull.

An alternative option maybe to send the 'shorts' to the village of Barrrow, population 3022 in 2011, instead - and maybe even beyond to other neighbouring villages. However, in what I guess is a good example of how bus planning is not always straightforward, there are a few potential issues. An extension to Barrow, and possibly beyond, would add at least one extra route number to the Hull-Barton corridor, and in Barton to retain a consistent route for all Hull services in the town would require a convoluted route - from Whitecross Street, through the Market Place, Brigg Road, Preston Lane and back to Whitecross Street. If just extended to Barrow, the viability of the Stagecoach operated 260 and 450 tendered services maybe seriously impacted, which could be another factor to consider.

Finally, the Stagecoach website. The Humber Flyer improvements were logically posted on the Hull and Grimsby Service Updates pages. Put Barton in as your location and you are directed to the Scunthorpe information which didn't mention the changes. Logical if the Scunthorpe information is meant to be for Scunthorpe only, but not when it is also meant to include Barton. I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but either Barton needs it's own bespoke information, or the Hull, Grimsby or Scunthorpe information needs to include all Barton services. A similar occurrence happens for Barrow, which directs to Grimsby information, but the 260 is run by Scunthorpe depot so never gets mentioned; at Christmas the service updates for Grimsby therefore never included the 260 operating to a normal weekday timetable between Christmas and New Year rather than Stagecoach's standard Saturday operation.

Sunday 9 June 2019

Service 16 slightly reduced

As part of Stagecoach's service changes in April, service 16 in Hull was slightly cutback on college days from Monday 29th April, but largely 'mitigated' in the form of service 86. The 16 runs hourly (with longer gaps at peak times) Monday to Saturday between Paragon Interchange, Victoria Dock and the Preston Road Estate, whilst the 86 is a college day service between the Bricknell Estate, Paragon Interchange, Victoria Dock, the Preston Road Estate and Wilberforce College.

In the morning the 0840 service 16 departure from Paragon Interchange no longer runs on College Days, leaving a gap between 0720 and 0940. As a partial alternative, service 86 departs Paragon Interchange at 0755 serving Victoria Dock, Ellis Street, Newbridge Road, Southcoates Lane, Bilsdale Grove and St John's Grove from the service 16 route before routing to Wilberforce College via Marfleet Lane and Staveley Road. The only parts of the 16 route not served by the 86 are the Siemens Factory and part of Preston Road that is also covered by frequent service 3.

In the afternoon the College Day 1540 service 16 from Paragon Interchange to the Preston Road Estate is directly replaced by a 1540 service 86 from Paragon Interchange to Wilberforce College, whilst the 1609 return from Archbishop Sentamu Academy on Preston Road is replaced by the 1620 86 from Wilberforce College. This 86 journey also provides a useful later last service from Paragon Interchange to the Bricknell Estate, leaving the Interchange at 1702; the last weekday service otherwise being the 1545 3b.

The 86 is also an interesting route in that it runs from the Bricknell Estate, home of one of Hull's two specialist sixth form colleges, Wyke, to Hull's other specialist sixth form college, Wilberforce. I wonder how many students Wilberforce can attract from 'in front' of Wyke's 'front door'?