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

1 comment:

Mrmoose said...

I never did understand why, before Covid came along, the 291 and 399 were not joined up to make a 2 hourly Doncaster to Scunthorpe route? Tried and tested as a direct express (909/910 a few years ago via M180), but at almost £15 for a day return on the train, there has to be some market to add a couple of through passengers to the existing 291/399 regular users for no/minimal changes to operating costs and minor tweaks to the timetables.