Sunday 25 October 2020

Linking the Boothferry Estate and North Bransholme

Stagecoach services 2 in West Hull and 10 in North Hull had been two separate routes in Stagecoach's city network - a period of early morning 2's continuing as a service 10 at Paragon Interchange aside - until earlier this year. Quite early on during the COVID-19 outbreak the 2 and 10 merged as a cross city service under the service 2 number, providing a through service from Hull Royal Infirmary to Bransholme and North Bransholme. Since Stagecoach's most recent changes on Sunday 30th August, the 10 is back in addition to the 2 in North Hull.

Pre-pandemic the 2 linked Hull Paragon Interchange and the Boothferry Estate in West Hull via Hull Royal Infirmary, Anlaby Road and Anlaby Park Road, and at the Boothferry Estate operated as a through route with service 1 between Paragon Interchange and the Boothferry Estate via Hessle Road. Some 2S variants did not begin as/continue as service 1, but instead extended beyond the Boothferry Estate a short distance to Hessle Sainsbury's. Monday to Friday daytimes the 2 and 2S each operated every 15 minutes for a combined 7-8 minutes frequency and on Saturday daytimes, the 2 and 2S each operated every 20 minutes for a combined frequency of every 10 minutes. Service 2 operated every half hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes, and every hour Sunday evenings.

The 2S variant didn't last beyond March and since then all journeys have been operated as service 2 (or 2A following the same route in West Hull). The current service 2 frequency in West Hull is every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, half hourly Sunday daytimes and hourly daily evenings. This provides the same frequency compared to pre-pandemic on Saturday daytimes and all day on Sundays, the weekday daytime service remains frequent and the evening reductions are understandable given current restrictions. There are more frequent Monday to Saturday journey opportunities to/from Hessle Road via the service 1 through service, though no more links to Sainsbury's (a variant only introduced last November).

Alternate Monday to Saturday daytime journeys are through services between North Bransholme and the Boothferry Estate with journeys from North Bransholme not serving Bond Street, Albion Street or Paragon Interchange in Hull City Centre, instead using Carr Lane. The other journeys in West Hull are 'shorts' that start at Paragon Interchange and operate the City Centre loop via Carr Lane. Evenings and Sundays all services from North Bransholme do serve Paragon Interchange, but not Carr Lane. All journeys from Boothferry Estate serve Paragon Interchange, but at the expense of Carr Lane (at least on through journeys to North Bransholme). 

The first journey from Hull Royal Infirmary (there is no City Centre timing point on journeys that don't serve Paragon Interchange) is at 0513 Monday to Saturday compared to 0430 Monday to Friday and 0615 Saturday pre-pandemic from the Interchange. From the Boothferry Estate the first departure is 0510 Monday to Saturday compared to 0502 Monday to Friday and 0628 Saturday. In the evenings the last service from Paragon Interchange is at 2320 Monday to Saturday compared to 2330 and from the Boothferry Estate at 2300 compared to 2350. This is perhaps a good time to note that the last service of the day Monday to Saturday from Paragon Interchange, previously numbered N2 and before that N62, is presently not extending beyond the Boothferry Estate to Hessle, North Ferriby and Brough. The Stagecoach website calls the N62 'suspended', which would indicate it hasn't been given up on entirely, though I imagine it has no chance of resuming until at least the night time economy is significantly more opened up again.

On Sundays the first service from the Paragon Interchange is at 0900 compared to 0745 pre-pandemic and at 0757 from the Boothferry Estate compared to 0800 pre-pandemic. Last service is at 2200 from Paragon Interchange compared to 2330 and from the Boothferry Estate at 2157 compared to 2325.

Turning to North Hull and pre-pandemic the 10 linked Paragon Interchange, Cleveland Street, Stoneferry Road, Leads Road, Sutton Road, Holwell Road, North Point Shopping Centre, Bude Road, Bodmin Road and North Bransholme, with some journeys continuing to the East Riding village of Wawne. Between Paragon Interchange and North Bransholme, the 10 operated every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, half hourly Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes and hourly Sunday evenings. Wawne was served hourly daily daytimes with some weekday peak extras and the last two services from Paragon Interchange (one on Sundays) also extending to the village. All evening and Sunday services operated as service 10a serving Kingswood Retail Park, Runnymede Lane (now covered by the 6), Richmond Lane and Kingsbury Way (now covered by the 11) whilst some weekday morning peak services from Paragon Interchange operated as service 10x via Sutton Fields Industrial Estate. Finally some early morning services Monday to Saturday from North Bransholme served Hull Royal Infirmary and Smith and Nephew.

Since 30th August the arrangements are a bit unusual with both service 2 and service 10 operating between Hull City Centre and North Bransholme, but to an un-coordinated timetable. The 10 also misses out Leads Road and Sutton Road, adopting a faster route via the southern-most section of Holwell Road (an old service 10 route). 

Looking at service 2 first, all North Bransholme services operate to/from the Boothferry Estate via Hull Royal Infirmary. There is a 2X variant for some morning peak services via Sutton Fields Industrial Estate to replace the 10x, whilst evening and Sunday services operate as 2A via Sutton Park which has lost most of it's evening services via Beverley Road to Paragon Interchange and otherwise has only an hourly, rather than half hourly pre-pandemic, Sunday daytime service. Frequency is every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, half hourly Sunday daytimes and hourly daily evenings.

Compared to the 10 pre-pandemic, first departure from North Bransholme on service 2 is at 0425 Monday to Saturday and 0815 Sunday compared to 0435 Monday to Friday, 0550 Saturday and 0800 Sunday. From Paragon Interchange the first service is at 0540 Monday to Saturday and 0820 Sunday rather than 0525 Monday to Friday, 0612 Saturday and 0810 Sunday. Last service from North Bransholme is at 2230 Monday to Saturday and 2115 Sunday as opposed to 2253 daily, whilst from Paragon Interchange it remains at 2330 Monday to Saturday and moves from 2330 to 2220 on Sundays.

Overlaid on top of this is service 10, which extends beyond North Bransholme to Wawne. Service 10 operates half hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, with some college day afternoon gaps. This gives Wawne double it's pre-pandemic Monday to Saturday daytime service, but no Sunday daytime or late evening service.

Overall frequency between Paragon Interchange and North Bransholme is therefore five buses an hour Monday to Saturday daytimes, an increase from four pre-pandemic,, but not on a co-ordinated every 12 minute frequency, instead two separate 20 and 30 minute frequency services. Sunday daytimes remain every half hour and Sunday evenings remain hourly, with Monday to Saturday evenings reduced from half hourly to hourly.

The improved access to Hull Royal Infirmary is a clear positive, and there are other smaller gains such as Wawne Monday to Saturday daytimes. However the un-coordinated five buses an hour to North Bransholme is messy, as are the routing arrangements in Hull City Centre westbound, especially with westbound journeys having different routes Monday to Saturday daytimes compared to evenings and Sundays.

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