Sunday 28 February 2021


Back on Monday 7th September 2020, the mostly demand responsive CallConnect service in North Lincolnshire was largely replaced by new fully demand responsive service, JustGo. CallConnect had operated in North Lincolnshire in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, whose brand it is, with most services being operated by Hornsby Travel. JustGo is operated by East Yorkshire from their Elloughton depot and I presume the change is down to a routine retendering exercise by North Lincolnshire Council. JustGo operates Monday to Saturday daytimes, as with CallConnect.

JustGo has some important differences from CallConnect however. CallConnect requires registration and then for journeys to be booked by phone or on their website (an app has just been introduced in the Gainsborough area however). JustGo on the other hand has had an app available since launch in September, with phone booking also available. CallConnect was pay on bus, whereas JustGo has app or phone payments. Concessionary passes can be registered on the JustGo app or by phone when booking. 

With CallConnect, North Lincolnshire was divided into zones, with no travel possible from one zone to another. JustGo has done away with these divisions, making journeys such as Saxby to Scunthorpe Hospital possible, although it has added some new divides. 

Initially JustGo was quite simple - travel anywhere within rural North Lincolnshire or to and from, but not within, the Scunthorpe, Ashby and Bottesford urban area. One problem with that - the potential to abstract revenue from, and undermine, frequent commercial timetabled services. See the example here of it initially being possible to book a journey from Scunthorpe to Brigg despite an hourly commercial service being provided by Hornsby Travel (and an extra subsidised service every two hours). So a few weeks after launch, four more zones were added, in which travel exclusively within them is prohibited - Scunthorpe to Barton, Scunthorpe to Brigg, Scunthorpe to Messingham and Barton to Ulceby. As with the Scunthorpe Urban area, travel in and out of these zones is allowed, and they are fairly tightly defined around the routes of timetabled services, so whilst Scunthorpe Town Centre is included, Scunthorpe Hospital isn't. Therefore Winterton to Scunthorpe Bus Station by JustGo quite rightly isn't allowed as there is a half hourly timetabled bus instead, but Winterton to Scunthorpe Hospital, not otherwise possible without a connection, sensibly is permitted. 

I do wonder if these additional zones are a downside of apps and automation? A person with knowledge of the bus network could use that knowledge to direct travellers onto a timetabled service if available - I presume that is what CallConnect did - whereas for an app to do so presumably requires some IT work?

Whilst the FAQ section of the JustGo website doesn't allude to this, the rural area of North Lincolnshire served by JustGo does stretch slightly beyond the council boundary according to the JustGo website map. Immingham - nearest town for villages like South Killingholme - and Habrough - rail connections available - in North East Lincolnshire are included, as are Brocklesby, Great Limber and Keelby in Lincolnshire County Council's area - possibly 'compensation' to Great Limber for the 250 being rerouted away to replace a North Lincolnshire Council tendered service? Brigg Garden Centre, technically also in Lincolnshire County Council's area is included and Blaxton in South Yorkshire is also covered, providing connections onto First service 57f to Doncaster. These are all sensible extensions beyond the North Lincolnshire boundary. Could Misterton in Nottinghamshire be another worthwhile extension, for bus connections to Gainsborough and Retford? Maybe Doncaster Sheffield Airport as well for employment links?

CallConnect in North Lincolnshire used to provide some timetabled services, with the demand responsive bus 'borrowed' to operate a scheduled service. These were:

  • 55: Santon-Appleby-Dragonby-Scunthorpe - Friday Only
  • 58: Wroot-Sandtoft-Epworth - Friday Only
  • 59: Wroot-Blaxton - Monday to Friday
  • 260: Goxhill-New Holland-Barrow-Barton - Saturday Only

Each operated one journey in each direction, designed for shopping purposes, but were withdrawn with the start of JustGo. Aside from schools and college services, the villages and hamlets of Appleby, Sandtoft, Santon and Wroot no longer have a timetabled bus service, whilst Dragonby residents need to walk to the A1077. The 260 has a weekday service operated by Stagecoach; much of Barrow additionally has the 250 to Barton (plus Hull, Grimsby and Cleethorpes) whilst Goxhill and New Holland have a rail service to Barton (and Grimsby and Cleethorpes) as an alternative, albeit the stations are only conveniently sited for parts of each village - likewise Barton station is only well located for some shops in Barton Town Centre.

These withdrawals are disappointing. I wonder if they are down to the lack of cash handling on JustGo vehicles? Borrowing a demand responsive vehicle seems like a good way to provide a 'no pre-booking required' timetabled service when no other financially sensible options are available.

JustGo hasn't quite meant the end of CallConnect in North Lincolnshire. As happened before North Lincolnshire Council got involved with CallConnect, the Lincolnshire County Council service extends into North Lincolnshire where sensible. The Caistor CallConnect service area includes Brigg, Barnetby, Hibaldstow and Humberside Airport, for shopping, rail links, doctors and employment, as well as Cadney and Howsham villages. The Gainsborough CallConnect includes Kirton in Lindsey, which acts as the local small town for some villages in the Lincolnshire County Council area.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Significant Improvements for Hull Marina and Humber View

East Yorkshire service 178 between Hull Paragon Interchange, Hull Marina, the western part of South Bridge Road (Humber View sheltered housing) and Hull Paragon Interchange was withdrawn at the end of January after just four weeks of operation. The 178 had operated every 1-2 hours Monday to Saturday daytimes. Replacement came in the form of amended Stagecoach services 16 and 20 on Monday 8th February.

Service 16 between Hull Paragon Interchange, Victoria Dock, Mount Pleasant Asda and the Preston Road Estate now makes a short detour in each direction via Humber View. The 16 continues to provide an hourly Monday to Saturday service, so for the western part of South Bridge Road this is a frequency enhancement and comes with a link to Asda as well. The area is within walking distance, at least without bags of shopping, of the City Centre and alternative services, so I can only imagine it's Humber View that is generating demand here.

Service 20 - Priory Park Park and Ride - has replaced the 178 in the Marina area. Previously it had looped around the city centre from Anlaby Road via Ferensway, Albion Street, Bond Street, George Street, Wilberforce Drive, Alfred Gelder Street and Carr Lane back to Anlaby Road. Now from Bond Street the 20 operates in the opposite direction along Alfred Gelder Street then serves the Marina area before routing direct to Paragon Interchange via Castle Street and Ferensway. From Paragon Interchange the 20 returns to Anlaby Road via Park Street. Service 20 continues to operate every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday.

The 20's new route provides a vastly improved frequency between the Ferensway and St Stephen's area of the city centre and the Marina area, as well as a park and ride service for the Marina area without having to walk to Alfred Gelder Street or Carr Lane. It also provides an extra three buses per hour from Paragon Interchange to Hull Royal Infirmary that are direct and don't operate via the city centre loop. However it does come with the drawback of longer journey times from parts of the city centre - Monument Bridge (between Alfred Gelder Street and Carr Lane) to Priory Park was timed for 15 minutes previously, but Alfred Gelder Street to Priory Park is now 28 minutes. Additionally George Street, Wilberforce Drive and Carr Lane are now unserved, though fairly close to alternative stops on Alfred Gelder Street, or in the case of the western end of Carr Lane, at Paragon Interchange.

Sunday 14 February 2021

152 Extended, 153 Truncated

East Yorkshire revised services 151, 152 and 153 on Sunday 3rd January. There have since been some further temporary COVID-19 related changes, but this post is based on the 3rd January changes. Service 151 was the least changed, continuing to link Hull Paragon Interchange, Anlaby Road, Anlaby, Kirk Ella, Willerby Square and Willerby Parkway. 

Service 152 has been extended; still running the same route as the 151 between Hull and Anlaby but rather then looping via Lowfield Road (with waiting time), Beverley Road and Wilson Street in Anlaby back to Anlaby Centre and Hull, Monday to Saturday the 152 is now extended to Bridgehead Business Park in Hessle. The 152 operates to Hessle via Lowfield Road and returns via Wilson Street, so passengers from Lowfield Road to Hull need to walk to either Anlaby Centre or Beverley Road - the layout in Anlaby prevents a service from Hessle serving Lowfield Road, the main Red Lion bus stop in Anlaby Centre and Hull Road in the village. After Anlaby, the Monday to Saturday 152 routes to Darleys Roundabout, and then serves 155's former route in Hessle along Beverley Road, Swanland Road, Barrow Lane and Ferriby Road to Home Farm, before terminating at Bridgehead Business Park. On the return from Bridgehead Business Park, the 152 operates via Boothferry Road and Heads Lane to Ferriby Road instead off Home Farm.

Finally Service 153 between Hull, Anlaby Road, Anlaby, Kirk Ella, Swanland, North Ferriby and Melton Business Park (plus evening and Sunday extensions further westwards) is now truncated to operate between Hull and Swanland only. The new 55 replaces at Melton Business Park, but otherwise the Swanland to North Ferriby link is lost and North Ferriby to Hull is reduced from two to one services per hour. Additionally the Church Road, New Walk, Parkfield Avenue, Nunburnholme Avenue and Corby Park areas of North Ferriby no longer have a bus to Hull and are only served by the 143 to Beverley three days a week and by school buses - the area is served by North Ferriby railway station however.

The main Monday to Saturday daytime service pattern of the 151, 152 and 153 each operating hourly continues, providing a 20 minute frequency between Hull and Anlaby. Monday to Friday peaktime 151's are now 152's, removing morning peak services from Church Lane and School Lane in Kirk Ella and reducing provision elsewhere in the village. The flipside is increased links to Bridgehead Business Park - the 152 is not a very direct route from the centre of Hull at least but it maybe useful for any commuters from Anlaby, Anlaby Common and Anlaby Park. The 55 and 66B provide more direct services to Hull and the 250, 255 and 350 stop within walking distance on Boothferry Road and the Humber Bridge Northern Approach, though business park passengers may need to cross the busy Humber Bridge roundabout. The bus stop at the business park does also provide a useful off road layby for waiting.

Service 151 is enhanced in the evening Monday to Saturday however, moving to a full hourly service; the 1905 152 and 2255 153 from Hull both become service 151's instead. Swanland has lost it's limited evening service.

On Sundays the 153 remains hourly daytimes with the 152 hourly in the evening (and one morning journey). As with the rest of the week, the 153 is now Hull to Swanland only but the 152 is following it's previous Lowfield Road & Wilson Street loop, not extending to Hessle.

Friday 12 February 2021

Introducing the 55 and X5

On Sunday 3rd January, East Yorkshire extensively revised their services along the A63 corridor out of Hull towards Brough and Goole. In this post I will focus on services that extend west of Melton Business Park.

Previously the main services along the corridor were the 155 and X55. The 155 operated out of Hull Paragon Interchange via Anlaby Road and Boothferry Road as far as Darleys Roundabout, then via Beverley Road, Swanland Road, Barrow Lane and Ferriby Road in Hessle, North Ferriby High Street and Melton Road, Melton and Welton Villages, Brough, Elloughton, Brantingham (early morning and evening journeys only), South Cave, North Cave, Newport, Gilberdyke, Eastrington, Howden, Goole Hospital to Goole Town Centre. The slightly quicker X55 took the same route out of Hull as far as Darleys Roundabout, then continued along Boothferry Road via Bridgehead Business Park to join the A63 to Brough then largely as the 155 to Goole, but not serving Brantingham at all and with some route variations in Goole. There was also a limited 155A that operated via Anlaby instead of Boothferry Road, additionally served Melton Business Park and also served Brantingham. Finally to add into the mix was a small number of service 153 journeys that extended west of Melton Business Park; one Monday to Saturday evening service from Elloughton via Brough, Welton, Melton, to Melton Business Park then as the main 153 route to Hull via North Ferriby, one Monday to Saturday evening return, that extended beyond Elloughton to Brantingham and South Cave, and two hourly Sunday daytime extensions to Melton and Welton.

Monday to Saturday daytimes the core pattern was the 155 hourly between Hull and Elloughton and the X55 hourly between Hull and South Cave, extending two hourly to Goole. The 155 picked up most early morning and late afternoon Goole extensions and also provided a limited evening service alongside the previously mentioned 153. The 155A variation provided two morning peak journeys from Hull, an early morning service from North Cave and a single afternoon journey from Goole, Monday to Friday only. On Sundays the 155 provided four journeys between Hull and South Cave during the daytime.

Now everything has changed. The 153 no longer operates in this area, and the 155 and X55 have been replaced by new services 55 and X5, along with a change to the 152. The 155A remains but with some changes to it's western termini. 

The 55 follows the X55 route out of Hull, serving Bridgehead Business Park - service 152 picks up the 155’s old route in Hessle (more in a future post) - before routing via North Ferriby High Street and Melton Road, Melton Business Park (replacing the 153), Melton, Welton, Brough, Elloughton, South Cave and as per the old 155 route to Goole. Brantingham is not served at all by the 55. Service 55 operates hourly Monday to Saturday daytimes between Hull and Gilberdyke. The Gilberdyke to Goole section has four services to Goole and three from Goole Monday to Friday and two each way on Saturdays. The 55 operates hourly early evening between Hull and Elloughton but there is no late evening service. On Sundays, five journeys operate in each direction between Hull and Gilberdyke.

The X5 is a new coach operated service between Hull and Goole. It operates direct from Paragon Interchange in Hull, omitting other City Centre stops, then via Hull Royal Infirmary, Rawling Way and the A63 to Brough and Elloughton. It's then back onto the A63 to Newport, Gilberdyke - serving the B1230 only and not running into the village - Howden and Goole (but not Goole Hospital). Aside from Hull City Centre, the route in Gilberdyke and the extension to Goole, it is rather reminiscent of the original X55 Petuaria Express. The X5 operates five times a day Monday to Friday and four on Saturdays. Although the X5 is advertised as limited stop, as far as i can tell it stops at all stops it passes; limited stop is presumably a reference to the sections of the A63 and B1230 without stops.

It maybe that timetables and frequencies are being 'depressed' by COVID-19, but overall this seems like a step backwards if it reflects the longer term service provision planned by East Yorkshire. Hull to Brough and Elloughton has gone from an almost half hourly service Monday to Saturday, to an hourly service plus four or five fast coaches. Eastrington is reduced from approximately two hourly to 2-4 services per day, with links to Goole Hospital similarly reduced. Hull to South Cave journey times are increased from 51 to 61 minutes. There is also no late evening service at all, so the last departure from Hull is at 1710 to North Cave, 1730 to Gilberdyke, Howden and Goole, 1810 to South Cave and at 2010 to Elloughton, as opposed to 1800 to Goole, 1950 to North Cave, Gilberdyke and Howden and 2255 to Elloughton and South Cave.

There are certainly some positives here which should be acknowledged. Newport and Gilberdyke increase from a two hourly service Monday to Saturday daytimes to hourly plus an occasional fast coach. North Cave gains an hourly rather than two hourly service. Journey times from Hull to Melton and Welton reduce by three minutes. There is a new Monday to Friday 0530 from Elloughton to Hull, previous first service 0633. The early evening service between Hull and Elloughton is increased to hourly rather than 1800 then 1950. On Sundays there is an extra journey, and now a Sunday service from North Cave, Newport and Gilberdyke (Melton and Welton have lost the 153, but it was arguably a 'relic' from when it was the X55 rather than 155 that operated on a Sunday).

It's the X5 which seems most questionable to me, certainly west of Elloughton. Between Hull, Brough and Elloughton, offering one fast and one slow service has it's advantages and disadvantages compared to two less differentiated services. Given the housing growth in Brough, and the railway station being located away from 55 and X5 routes, there is potential here post COVID-19. In Howden, the X5 will have more use as the main service into Goole, and also it's railway station is a significant distance outside of the town.

Taking Gilberdyke however and whilst the X5 is being positioned as a fast Hull link, assuming the pre COVID-19 rail timetable is reinstated, it will be up against two trains per hour, one taking 19 minutes versus 37 on on the X5. Unless there are significant price differentials, how can the X5, or the X5 and 55 combined compete - senior citizen pass holders aside? Rail will have the frequency and speed advantage. It's a similar story in Goole. Two trains per hour to Hull pre COVID-19, the fastest taking 29 minutes as opposed to an hour on the X5. Plus while the X62 doesn't serve Goole Town Centre and the route also had to support the Goole to Leeds section, when Stagecoach tried to provide a more comprehensive fast service on the X62 between Hull and Goole, it failed.