Friday 29 January 2021

The short lived 74 returns - as the X7

Between Hull and Withernsea there is the main bus 'corridor' via Hedon and along the A1033, plus two 'diversions'; one via Holderness Road and Southcoates Lane in Hull and one via the village off Burstwick. Monday to Saturday daytimes two services per hour can be sustained along the main 'corridor', leaving a choice - share the two 'diversions' out between the two services each hour, or put both diversions on the same hourly journey and run the other hourly journey as a faster service. Since EYMS/East Yorkshire became the sole operator on the corridor, the former has usually been the preference.

In July 2011, the latter was however tried briefly. Service 74 operated between Hull, Hedon and Keyingham (on the A1033), omitting Holderness Road and Burstwick, hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, with some afternoon journeys extending to Withernsea. Alongside this was hourly service 75 between Hull, Holderness Road, Hedon, Burstwick, Keyingham and Withernsea. By October 2011, the corridor had reverted back Monday to Saturday daytimes to an hourly 76 via Holderness Road but not Burstwick and an hourly 77 via Burstwick but not Holderness Road. 

Fast forward over 9 years and on Monday 4th January 2021, East Yorkshire have decided to try again with the one faster and one slower service each hour Monday to Saturday daytimes. Service 75 now operates during this period, as well as continuing in the peaks, evenings and on Sundays, as the slower service via Holderness Road and Burstwick, whilst the faster service omitting both these areas is numbered X7. Services 76 and 77 are withdrawn, which also has the effect of simplifying from three (75/76/77) to two (75/X7) service numbers. Unlike in 2011, all journeys operate between Hull and Withernsea apart from an early morning Hull to Hedon 'short'. For Withernsea this means that rather than a 78 minute journey time on the 77 and an 81 minute journey time on service 76 to Hull, there is now a 73 minute journey time on the X7 and an 86 minute journey time on the 75. 

Sunday 24 January 2021

Good News for Paull and Preston

East Yorkshire revised services 78 and 79 between Hull, Victoria Dock, Hedon Road, Hedon Town Centre and the Inmans Estate in Hedon from Monday 4th January.

Previously, in addition to the locations above which are served by both services, the 78 additionally served Hull Marina and the western part of South Bridge Road in Victoria Dock, whilst the 79 routed via the village of Paull. Together the two routes operated hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, with the majority of services operating as a 78. With the 78 and 79 having unique sections at different parts to the other, in most of Victoria Dock and along Hedon Road there was no even interval hourly frequency, but from both Hull Paragon Interchange and Hedon Thorn Road Corner the 78 and 79 provided departures every 20 minutes combined with services 76 and 77.

The 78 has now been rerouted away from Hull Marina and the western part of South Bridge Road, but instead serves the village of Preston, which otherwise only has the 277 every 95-150 minutes into Hull (plus 1 journey each way on a Saturday on service 173 and Stagecoach's Cranswick Foods workers service 677). The 79 continues it's same route via Paull. The new timetable retains the combined hourly service Monday to Saturday daytimes, with each route now operating every two hours, giving Paull a small increase in services. With the 78 and 79's unique sections of route now both being between Hedon Road and Hedon Town Centre, Victoria Dock and Hedon Road gain an even interval service, and the 78 is quicker between Hull City Centre and these areas. The 20 minute frequency from Hull Interchange is retained, now in conjunction with services X7 and 75 (more on these soon), however from Hedon Thorn Road Corner it's now a 15-15-30 minute split across the hour for departures into Hull.

These changes are a clear improvement for Paull and Preston and to a lesser extent, an enhancement for Victoria Dock and Hedon Road.

Hull Marina and the western part of South Bridge Road are now covered by new service 178, which operates as a circular from Paragon Interchange to the Marina, South Bridge Road and back to the Interchange. The 178 operates Monday to Saturday with departures from Paragon Interchange at 0725 (Not Sat), 0915, 1115, 1215, 1415, 1515 and 1720.

Sunday 17 January 2021

An extra journey for the 88

On Monday 4th January, service 88 between Goole, Airmyn, Rawcliffe and Rawcliffe Bridge gained a slightly enhanced timetable, with an extra journey in each direction. The 88 is operated by East Yorkshire and runs Monday to Friday. Departures from Goole North Street altered from 0905, 1205 and 1505 to 0905, 1105, 1305 and 1505, and from Rawcliffe Bridge changed from 0930, 1230 and 1530 to 0930, 1130, 1330 and 1530; the middle two terminating at Goole Interchange rather than North Street. The pdf timetable now refers to 'Some journeys are provided with the financial support of East Riding of Yorkshire Council' so I wonder if this could be a commercial enhancement as I'm sure the 88 has been fully subsidised ever since it was withdrawn from Thorne?

Friday 15 January 2021

Isle Coaches Update

Since late March, Isle Coaches service 399 between Scunthorpe, the Isle of Axholme and Doncaster has not operated on Saturdays, just Monday to Friday. As previously mentioned the evening peak Scunthorpe to Westwoodside and return tendered journeys operated by Stagecoach continue to operate on Saturdays. Additionally the 1600 departure from Scunthorpe currently terminates at Westwoodside, rather than continuing to Doncaster.

As far as Isle Coaches service 291 between Owston Ferry on the Isle of Axholme and Doncaster is concerned, it was suspended for much of the Spring and Summer before returning to a reduced timetable. Quite what that reduced timetable is, I don't know. According to the Travel South Yorkshire pdf timetable, the 291 resumed on 21st September 2020, and according to both it and (source Traveline National Dataset) there are journeys at 0900 and 1210 from Owston Ferry Monday to Friday, returning from Doncaster at 1100 Tuesday and Friday only and at 1520 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays only. The unbalanced days of operation in each direction seem exceptionally unlikely to me. The North Lincolnshire Council website states the 291 resumed on 25th August 2020 on Tuesdays and Fridays only, departing Owston Ferry at 0900 and 1205 and Doncaster at 1100 and 1520. Isle Coaches don't have a website to verify what the actual current timetable is. Pre COVID-19, the 291 had operate three journeys to Doncaster and four from Doncaster Monday to Saturday, including an evening peak service. The tendered morning peak 57f from Epworth to Doncaster, operated by First, continues to operate Monday to Saturday.

It remains to be seen once things return to normal whether the 399 returns on a Saturday and if the 291 goes back to normal. If they don't though some anomalies that have occurred could do with being addressed. Monday to Friday there is currently a morning peak service from the Isle of Axholme to Doncaster, but no evening peak return; Monday and Thursday at least the only service from Doncaster back to the Isle is the 1200 399 departure, and Tuesday and Friday at least the last service is the 1520 291. If an evening peak service is not to be provided, then are there better uses for the morning peak subsidy - maybe provision for South Killingholme or Kirmington villages, or Saturday daytime services in the Isle of Axholme? That brings me to the next anomaly - a tendered Saturday morning peak service from the Isle to Doncaster with no evening return, a tendered evening peak service from Scunthorpe to the Isle and return without an equivalent morning service, but no daytime provision. Would the subsidy not be better used for a Saturday daytime shopping service from the Isle to either Scunthorpe or Doncaster

Sunday 10 January 2021

Hornsby Changes and Withdrawals - Services 4, X4, 94 and C4

Finishing my look at Hornsby Travel services post the COVID-19 disruption of 2020, time to look at services 4, X4, 94 and C4 in the Brigg area.

The main service 4 between Scunthorpe, Ashby, Lakeside Retail Park, Broughton and Brigg remains hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes, though there has been some reductions in the early mornings and evenings, as well as a minor early afternoon improvement, compared to the pre COVID-19 timetable.

The 0430 and 0630 Monday to Friday direct journeys from the Hornsby depot in Ashby to Brigg no longer operate, whilst the Monday to Friday 0450 from Brigg to Foxhills Industrial Estate north of Scunthorpe starts at Lakeside Retail Park instead, with the first service from Brigg to Scunthorpe now at 0630 weekdays. The Monday to Friday 0640 and 0740 Lakeside Retail Park to Foxhills no longer operate, the former replaced by retiming the 0650 from Brigg to Foxhills to operate twenty minutes earlier; additionally the 0730 and 0830 from Scunthorpe to Brigg no longer start back at Foxhills Monday to Friday.

The Monday to Friday early afternoon Foxhills service has been separated from the main Scunthorpe to Brigg service, operating as Lakeside to Foxhills and return. This provides an extra service between Scunthorpe and Lakeside, and permits the 1230 from Brigg to serve Town Hill in Broughton, whilst the 1435 from Scunthorpe is retimed to 1430 and also now serves Town Hill. 

The Monday to Friday 1715 from Foxhills to Brigg now serves the main route via Town Hill in Broughton instead of Scawby, which is covered by diverting the 1700 X4 from Scunthorpe via the village. From Brigg the 1730 departure Monday to Saturday now runs through to Scunthorpe Bus Station rather than terminating at the Hornsby depot in Ashby.

The evening service has been removed almost entirely, though whether this will return when the evening economy opens up and hospital visiting becomes easier remains to be seen. As a result the last Scunthorpe to Brigg service is at 1830 Monday to Saturday rather than 2010 Saturday and 2225 Monday to Friday, whilst from Brigg the last service to Scunthorpe is at 1730 rather than 2050 Monday to Saturday, and to the Hornsby depot at 1910 Monday to Saturday rather than 2050 Saturday and 2305 Monday to Friday. The one evening service still provided is at 2215 Monday to Friday from Foxhills to the Hornsby depot, extending to Lakeside on request.

The Stagecoach operated Sunday service 4 has resumed it's pre COVID-19 timetable.

The faster Monday to Friday X4 has been reduced from hourly between Scunthorpe and Brigg to approximately every two hours, with all journeys routing via Scawby instead off just alternate services. East of Brigg all journeys continue to Wrawby and Barnetby Top before doing a loop via Melton Ross and Barnetby village back to Barnetby Top. The approximately two hourly frequency is maintained compared to pre COVID-19, but over a slightly shorter operating day, with the first Brigg arrival from Barnetby now at 0905 rather than 0755.

Humberside Airport and Kirmington have been removed from the X4 entirely; in combination with the withdrawal of the C4, Kirmington is left without a scheduled bus service, whilst in combination with the C4's withdrawal and the 250's rerouting, so is Humberside Airport. This change reduces the round trip time from Scunthorpe from 2 hours 25 minutes to 1 hour and 29 minutes, as a result of slack timing between Barnetby and Kirmington, and eliminating a 15 minute layover in Kirmington.

Pre COVID-19, when the X4 didn't operate through to Kirmington, it operated as a short Scunthorpe to Brigg service then operated as a through service to route 94. The shorts have gone, and so has the North Lincolnshire Council tendered service 94. Operating approximately every two hours, the 94 linked Brigg and Kirton in Lindsey Monday to Friday via Scawby, Hibaldstow and Redbourne and also incorporated the Kirton town service. There is no replacement for the 94 with most passengers needing to use the demand responsive JustGo service instead. Scawby does have the X4, so the 94's withdrawal here is unlikely to be hugely significant, but the only timetabled bus left for Hibaldstow and Redbourne, due to the C4 also being withdrawn, is the Thursday only Lincolnshire County Council tendered 161 to Brigg and Lakeside. The Nookings area of Hibaldstow is left unserved. Kirton retains the 103 between Scunthorpe and Lincoln.

As alluded to, the C4 has been withdrawn as well. The C4 was the North Lincolnshire Council tendered Saturday provision for the X4 route between Brigg and Kirmington and the 94 between Brigg and Redbourne, with four journeys to Kirmington and two to Redbourne, though some were effectively positioning journeys. The C4 was suspended last March, but did return between Barnetby, Brigg and Redbourne over the Summer. Barnetby, Wrawby (in combination with the 450's withdrawal) and Scawby (in combination with the evening 4's withdrawal) are now without a Saturday timetabled bus service, though Barnetby does have the train. The Saturday situation in these three villages is far from the biggest issue resulting from these changes, but maybe the easiest to fix - could the Brigg Town Service be amended to provide a limited Saturday service to some or all of these villages; the 91 Brigg Town Service did serve Wrawby for a number of years. 

In addition could the Brigg Town Service maybe also serve Hibaldstow, say on a Tuesday to avoid duplicating the 161? Currently Cadney and Howsham, population 459 in 2011, have a three day a week service on Brigg Town Service 92 whilst Hibaldstow, population 2433 has a one day a week service. I appreciate the 92 also serves Brigg Garden Centre but even still, provision feels a bit 'uneven' here.