Tuesday 27 December 2022

For The Record: No more Nightbuses in Hull

Suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hull's last nightbuses, operated by East Yorkshire, never returned. Following a change just before suspension, they comprised:

  • A University Term Time Only Saturday service 106S from Inglemire Lane (departing 2250) to Spiders Nightclub on Cleveland Street via Cottingham Road, Beverley Road and Bond Street in Hull City Centre
  • Three year round Saturday evening/Sunday morning service 106 journeys from Hull Old Town (departing 2330/0030/0130) to Cottingham Burton Road via Bond Street, Beverley Road, Cottingham Road, Cottingham Green and Cottingham Green Lane
  • One year round Sunday morning service 106 journey from Spiders (departing 0215) to Cottingham Road via Freetown Way and Beverley Road
  • One University Term Time Sunday morning service 106 journey from Spiders (departing 0245) to Cottingham Road via Freetown Way and Beverley Road
  • Four University Term Time Thursday morning service 107 circular journeys from Hull University Asylum Nightclub (departing 0115, 0145, 0215 and 0310) via Newland Avenue, Princes Avenue, Spring Bank and Beverley Road back to Asylum
There is a Saturday 2330 service 63 from Hull Paragon Interchange to Cottingham Green and Green Lane which acts as a partial replacement for the 2330 106 journey, but no alternatives post midnight.

Monday 26 December 2022

Driffield Regains a Friday Town Service

After I posted yesterday about the 530 Driffield Town Service being reduced from Monday to Friday to Tuesday and Thursday only operation in October, a comment left brings good news - a Friday service will be restored from January 6th. More details here.

The 530 is operated by Holderness Area Rural Transport (HART) for Driffield Town Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 

Additionally I should note that it appears bustimes.org is not showing the complete service 530 timetable, and that the final 1418 afternoon journey is still running. Again thanks to this comment for pointing this out.

Sunday 25 December 2022

Acklams Coaches cease local bus service operation in Beverley and Driffield

After operation on Saturday 22nd October, Acklams Coaches ceased operation of most of their local bus services, and it's associated BusKing operation ended bus service operation entirely. 

The commercially operated Beverley Town Service 5 and part-commercial/part-tendered service 142 between Beverley and Middleton have been replaced by an East Yorkshire operated combined service 5/142 tender, which commenced on Monday 24th October. Under Acklams operation the 5 and 142 appeared to be largely interworked and were able to use one vehicle across both services other than on Monday to Friday mornings for one journey; East Yorkshire did also have their own service 142 on a Saturday only. Now however one vehicle is used to service both the 5 and 142 all day Monday to Saturday - unsurprisingly that does lead to a slightly reduced level of service overall.

Beverley Town Service 5 operates as a circular from the Bus Station up Norwood before diverting to serve the otherwise unserved Highfield Road and Lilac Avenue areas. It then operates into the Swinemoor Estate, largely also covered by East Yorkshire's commercial B1/B2 services, before routing back to the Bus Station via Sample Avenue and Mill Lane where it is the only service. Acklams service 5 departed Beverley Bus Station at 0930, 1030, 1130, 1330 and 1430 Monday to Saturday, plus an extra 1000 departure on Saturdays, but the new East Yorkshire operated tender has only three journeys at 1020, 1120 and 1320 Monday to Saturday. 

The 142 used to be a fairly complex operation under Acklams Coaches. There was a morning journey from Bainton into Beverley via Middleton, Etton and Cherry Burton at 0920 Monday to Friday, which started back at Kilnwick on Wednesdays. Monday to Saturday there was then a 1100 Beverley-Cherry Burton-Etton-Beverley circular before a 1210 (1200 Wed) Beverley to Bainton service via Cherry Burton, Etton, Middleton and on Wednesday only, Kilnwick. Following this was a 1250 Bainton to Beverley Monday to Saturday, omitting Middleton and a final 1500 Beverley to Etton 'short' via Cherry Burton Monday to Saturday.

On top of this on Saturdays were four East Yorkshire operated journeys. An 0925 'fast' from Beverley to Middleton, a 0945 from Middleton to Beverley, a 1600 Beverley to Middleton and finally a 1638 from Middleton to Beverley that omitted Lockington but still served all other villages en-route. Off note is that the East Yorkshire 142 didn't serve Bainton, leading to the rather strange situation of Bainton only having a lunchtime 142 on Saturdays.

The new 142 timetable is much simpler. There is a Saturday only 'fast' from Beverley to Middleton at 0910, then a Monday to Saturday 0930 Middleton to Beverley via Bainton, a Monday to Saturday 1150 Beverley to Beverley circular via Middleton and Bainton, a Monday to Saturday 1350 Beverley to Bainton via Middleton and finally the Saturday only 1600 Beverley to Middleton and 1638 return omitting Lockington remain. There are actually some improvements here, with the new 1350 departure from Beverley providing an extra service to South Dalton, Holme, Lockington, Lund, Middleton and Bainton. Bainton gets a usable Saturday service and Middleton gets a Saturday afternoon service into Beverley. Cherry Burton and Etton do see a slight reduction in service however and the small village of Kilnwick is now unserved.

BusKing's tendered 135 has passed to East Yorkshire, but has lost it's Monday to Friday peak journeys at 0721 from Wetwang to Driffield, returning at 1710. The Tuesday and Thursday 'shoppers' journeys between Driffield, Wetwang and Sledmere remain however.

East Yorkshire has also gained the tendered 124 between Driffield, Ruston Parva, Boynton and Bridlington from Acklams. Whilst the Wednesday service between Ruston Parva and Bridlington remains unchanged, the Thursday Boynton to Driffield service now operates on Fridays - bad for visiting Driffield market which is held on a Thursday, but presumably good for cost and allows use of the same vehicle that does the 135 on a Thursday.

Leaving the biggest change to last, and BusKing's tendered 530 Driffield Town Service has passed to Holderness Area Rural Transport and reduced from a Monday to Friday operation to Tuesday and Thursday only. Going by bustimes.org, the final 1418 trip around the town has also been dropped. Rising costs are 'blamed' for the reductions to the service, which is equally funded by Driffield Town Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 

All that remains of Acklams Coaches bus network is the 131/504 tender in Bridlington, which going by this tweet, I get the impression they don't intend to rebid for when their contract ends in September 2023. Acklams Coaches have an extensive coaching operation, as well as school and college contracts and a Hull City football service, so they retain significant operations - just not local bus services.

Sunday 18 December 2022

Quietly Suspended and Never Returned

Last month I mentioned how East Yorkshire's 122 between Hull, Beverley and Molescroft was suspended due to driver shortages in September 2021 and never returned. That fate was also bestowed on the 103 between Hull Paragon Interchange and the Hull University area. The 103 had operated every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes and every half hour Monday to Saturday evenings and Sunday daytimes from Paragon Interchange via Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue before operating a one way loop via Cranbrook Avenue, Inglemire Lane, Hall Road and Cottingham Road.

In many ways the 103's withdrawal is not a major issue. Other than Inglemire Lane, everywhere else has an alternative; Inglemire Lane does not have a continuous history of bus services and it's passengers can walk to alternatives on Cranbrook Avenue, Hall Road or Cottingham Road instead.

What is striking though is how much overall frequencies are reduced in the area. Pre-COVID, East Yorkshire had nine buses per hour to the University area Monday to Saturday daytimes - the 103, the 104 every 20 minutes via Cranbrook Avenue and the 105 every 20 minutes via Cottingham Road. Now it's five per hour - the 104 every 20 minutes and the 105 every half hour. The 105's frequency reduction is another driver shortage change that has quietly become the new normal - I wish I had now kept better track of what were meant to be only temporary changes.

Stagecoach are now the main operator in the University area, with six buses per hour along Cranbrook Avenue between the 4 and the 5. That's only down two per hour from the eight buses per hour on the 5 pre-COVID - and that frequency was only introduced in November 2019; previously the 5 had been six buses per hour.

Whilst Stagecoach have fared better on Cranbrook Avenue thanks to the diversion of service 4, both them and East Yorkshire have significantly reduced along Newland and Princes Avenue. In October 2019 there were twelve buses per hour (six on each operator across the 5, 103 and 104). Immediately pre-COVID there were fourteen buses per hour (eight Stagecoach/six East Yorkshire). Now it's six buses per hour (three on each operator) with the 5 reduced and 103 withdrawn. 

(There will be more on Stagecoach's post-strike reductions soon).

Sunday 11 December 2022

Christmas and New Year Bus Services 2022/2023

Time for the annual summary of Christmas and New Year bus services across the Humber Region. The following operators are included, but not their services outside the region:

  • Arriva Yorkshire
  • CallConnect
  • East Yorkshire (excluding JustGo)
  • First South Yorkshire (Doncaster Area)
  • First York
  • Grayscroft Coaches
  • Hornsby Travel
  • Stagecoach - with a caveat that Stagecoach publicity indicates services to Wren Kitchens in Barton have not been confirmed
Please check exact details before travelling as I have only summarised here, or for any occasions were publicity is incorrect (it's happened before!). Not much luck finding definitive information for many of the region's independent operators sadly this year, but if you have any information for other operators, or to correct any details listed below, please post a comment.

Christmas Eve:
Normal Saturday service with an early finish between approximately 1800 and 2000. 

Christmas Day:
No services.

Boxing Day:
No services, apart from a limited daytime provision operated by East Yorkshire on the following routes:
  • 23: Hull-Beverley-Molescroft - Hourly 
  • 56: Wymersley Road-Hull-Asda Bilton - Hourly
  • 63: Hull-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly
  • 66: Hull-Hessle - Hourly
  • 75: Hull-Withernsea - Every two hours, with an extra morning journey to Hull and an extra afternoon journey from Hull.
  • 104: Hull-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly
  • 154: Hull-Castle Hill Hospital - Hourly
Compared to 2021, this is a somewhat reduced offering overall. The 23 is new for Boxing Day, but acts as a replacement for the two hourly 121 between Hull, Beverley and Bridlington and the two hourly X46 between Hull, Beverley and York that operated last year. Good for Dunswell, Woodmansey and Molescroft, but not so good for places like Driffield, Bridlington, Pocklington or York. One interesting quirk is that parts of Beverley and Molescroft will have the 23 on Boxing Day, but no service on the 27th and 2nd as the 23 doesn't operate on a Sunday. Elsewhere the 56 is reduced from half hourly to hourly (it's historical Boxing Day norm; the half hourly frequency was only introduced last year).

At least East Yorkshire are providing a Boxing Day service though. For the second year running there are no Stagecoach services in Hull on Boxing Day (last provided in 2020), and as per normal, no service South of the Humber.

Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th December:
A Sunday service will be provided. 

Last year East Yorkshire provided a hybrid Saturday/Sunday daytime and Sunday/Monday evening service on Bank Holidays 27th/28th, but this year it's a standard Sunday service. Whilst in most instances the impact is on frequencies, start and finish times, it does mean no service between Hessle and Beverley on the 25 and between Hull and Gilberdyke on the 55.

Wednesday 28th December:
Predominantly a Saturday service, with the following exceptions:
  • Hornsby Travel will operate a normal Wednesday service.
  • East Yorkshire services 124 (Ruston Parva-Bridlington) and 360/361 (Goole-Scunthorpe) will operate as normal.
  • Stagecoach services 35 (Amcotts-Scunthorpe), 60 (Whitton-Scunthorpe), 90 (Crowle-Scunthorpe) and 260 (Barton Villager) will operate as normal (and presumably the 399 between Scunthorpe and Westwoodside, given that Hornsby are operating a normal service).
  • Stagecoach service 291 (Owston Ferry-Doncaster) will not operate (wouldn't usually operate on a Wednesday and will be covered by the normal weekday service on Hornsby's 399)
  • East Yorkshire services 18/25/54/63/75/121/X47 Friday and Saturday only evening journeys will not operate (normal Wednesday evening journeys on the 54/63/75/121/X47 will however).
Going by Stagecoach's publicity I would have to assume the usually Saturday only 173 between Withernsea and Hull will be operated Wednesday to Saturday for one week only. Passengers on the East Yorkshire operated 142 between Middleton and Beverley will also benefit from an extra afternoon journey on the Saturday timetable, compared to the standard weekday service.

Thursday 29th December:
Predominantly a Saturday service, with the following exceptions:
  • Hornsby Travel will operate a normal Thursday service.
  • East Yorkshire services 135 (Driffield-Sledmere), 150 (Swanland-Hessle), 196 (Allerthorpe-York) and 360/361 (Goole-Scunthorpe) will operate as normal.
  • Stagecoach services 10 (Ashby Parklands-Ashby), 35 (Amcotts-Scunthorpe), 60 (Whitton-Scunthorpe), 90 (Crowle-Scunthorpe) and 260 (Barton Villager) will operate as normal (and again presumably the 399 as well).
  • East Yorkshire service 143 (North Ferriby-Beverley) will not operate (wouldn't usually operate on a Thursday).
  • Stagecoach service 291 (Owston Ferry-Doncaster) will not operate (wouldn't usually operate on a Thursday and will be covered by the normal weekday service on Hornsby's 399)
  • East Yorkshire services 18/25/54/63/75/121/X47 Friday and Saturday only evening journeys will not operate (normal Thursday evening journeys on the 54/63/75/121/X47 will however).

    Friday 30th December:
    Predominantly a Saturday service, with the following exceptions:
    • Hornsby Travel will operate a normal Friday service.
    • East Yorkshire services 124 (Boynton-Driffield), 183 (Hessle Town Service) and 360/361 (Goole-Scunthorpe) will operate as normal.
    • Stagecoach services 10 (Burringham-Scunthorpe), 25 (Market Rasen-Grimsby), 35 (Amcotts-Scunthorpe), 60 (Whitton-Scunthorpe), 90 (Crowle-Scunthorpe) and 260 (Barton Villager) will operate as normal (and again presumably the 399 as well).
    • East Yorkshire service 143 (North Ferriby-Beverley) will not operate (wouldn't usually operate on a Friday).
    • Stagecoach service 291 (Owston Ferry-Doncaster) will not operate (wouldn't usually operate on a Friday and will be covered by the normal weekday service on Hornsby's 399)

    New Years Eve:
    Normal Saturday service with an early finish between approximately 1800 and 2000. 

    New Years Day:
    No services (train services will be operating however, in many instances to a normal Sunday timetable apart from early morning services and engineering works related disruption).

    Bank Holiday Monday 2nd January:
    A Sunday service will be provided.

    Tuesday 3rd January:
    Services return to normal.

    Saturday 10 December 2022

    Return of a Withernsea to Beverley link

    Holderness Area Rural Transport (HART) commenced operation of a new service 243 between Withernsea and Beverley back on Tuesday 6th September. If this sounds familiar, East Riding of Yorkshire Council used to operate a service 243 between Withernsea and Beverley in-house, once a day Monday to Friday via Roos, Burton Pidsea, Humbleton, Sproatley, Bilton and Skirlaugh. This version of the 243 is a Tuesday only operation though that is far less direct as it also incorporates elements of the old 241 between Aldbrough and Beverley. HART's 243 is being funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

    The new 243 leaves Withernsea at 0930 taking 90 minutes to Beverley via Roos, Burton Pidsea, Preston, Sproatley. Flinton, Aldbrough, Withernwick, Skirlaugh and Routh. The return journey departs Beverley at 1315. I am a bit surprised at the inclusion of Preston and Sproatley which already have the 242 to Beverley Monday to Saturday; a re-route via Humbleton would reduce the journey time for Withernsea, Roos and Burton Pidsea passengers. 

    Anyway, hopefully the service has had a good first three months of operation.

    Sunday 4 December 2022

    East Yorkshire Cuts in Anlaby, Kirk Ella, Willerby and Hessle

    Finishing off my review of East Yorkshire's 4th September changes, and perhaps the biggest reductions of the changes were to the Hull-Anlaby corridor - "due to low levels of usage".

    The hourly Monday to Saturday daytime 151 between Hull, Anlaby, Kirk Ella and Willerby was cut entirely. The 151 shared the same route as the 153 between Hull and Kirk Ella Primary School before continuing via School Lane and Church Lane to Willerby Square and then performing an anti-clockwise loop via The Parkway and Well Lane back to Willerby Square. 

    For much of the route this is a story of frequency reduction - Hull to Anlaby goes from three to two buses per hour and Kirk Ella from two to one bus per hour. These are affluent areas, and between Hull City Centre and Anlaby Common the route is shared with other services including the 154 every 20 minutes. Sadly I can understand why cutbacks are being made here. Between Hull and Willerby there are other options on the 54 and 154. 

    However the relatively short section of route along School Lane and Church Lane is left unserved, and the Kirk Ella to Willerby link is lost - I can't see any easy options for a replacement though. Perhaps the biggest issue is that The Parkway and Well Lane are now also unserved. Parts of these roads are some distance away from alternative services. As much as I like the way East Yorkshire have simplified the Hull to Willerby via Spring Bank services in recent years, maybe the 54A variation via The Parkway needs to return? There isn't another easy option as the 25 between Hessle and Hornsea probably doesn't have enough spare time to divert without risking reliability. 

    Service 152 between Hull, Anlaby, Hessle and Bridgehead Business Park was curtailed to run between Hull and Anlaby Lowfield Road only Monday to Saturday daytimes (when it operates hourly), as occurs with the limited daily early evening service. The 152 was extended in January 2021 to replace the 155 around Hessle and to improve services to Bridgehead Business Park. As a side benefit, the new arrangement does reinstate a daytime service from Lowfield Road into Hull; when serving Hessle the 152 had become one-way here.

    Again regrettably I can see why East Yorkshire have cut back here. Hessle, and particularly the parts served by the 152 are quite affluent, and there are other - more direct - options from Hull and the eastern parts of Anlaby Road to Bridgehead Business Park. The 55 operates hourly and the 66B at peak times; additionally the 250/255/350 provide approximately three buses per hour within walking distance of the Business Park, albeit with a busy roundabout to cross when walking from the bus stop.

    In terms of the route within Hessle, Beverley Road is left with the oddball early morning 55A from Hull to Elloughton and the Friday Only 183 Hessle Town Service, Swanland Road is served by those two services plus the 66B and Tuesday/Thursday Only 150 Hessle/North Ferriby/Swanland/Anlaby circular, Barrow Lane and Ferriby Road by the 55A and 156 and Heads Lane by the 183 - not no service but limited. It should be said the 152 intersected Boothferry Road at Darleys Roundabout, served by the 55/250/255/350 offering four buses per hour and Cemetery Corner served by the 66 offering four buses per hour (when not impacted by driver shortages) plus the two hourly 25.

    What is a bit disappointing is that no additional alternatives have been put in place in Hessle, when there appears to be easy options available. I'd argue Boothferry Road does not need the 55 when it has the 250/255/350 offering three buses an hour - so why not divert it west of Darleys Roundabout when there appears to be sufficient layover time at either end of the route to accommodate a small diversion? There are three possible options:

    -The current 55A route within Hessle (old 155 route) via Beverley Road, Swanland Road, Barrow Lane and Ferriby Road. This would mean omitting the Bridgehead Business Park, but with the 66B and the 250/255/350 within walking distance, is it needed? Ferriby Road would also be within walking distance of the Business Park

    -As per the 55A but via Heads Lane and Bridgehead Business Park instead of underneath the Humber Bridge Approach on Ferriby Road. Would still serve the Business Park but at the expense of a longer journey time.

    -A short divert via Beverley Road and Swanland Road back onto Boothferry Road - the quick option that doesn't help Barrow Lane or Ferriby Road but would minimise the impact on the 55's journey time.

    Finally hourly daily daytime service 153 between Hull, Anlaby, Kirk Ella and Swanland survives, and gains some extra journeys in a little bit of good news:

    -0640, 0840 and 1840 from Hull Monday to Friday (last departure previously 1745, with an 1805 151 for Kirk Ella)

    -0725, 0825 and 1840 from Hull Saturday (as weekdays for previous last departures)

    -0631, 1524, 1734 and 1832 from Swanland Monday to Friday (previous first departure 0727)

    -0639 and 1824 from Swanland Saturday (previous first departure 0735)

    Also worth noting is that Saturday afternoon inbound services on the 152/153 now use the Hull city centre loop. 

    One final disappointment though - with just the hourly 152 and hourly 153 between Hull and Anlaby Monday to Saturday daytimes, you would hope for a half hourly combined frequency. There isn't though - it's a 20 minute gap followed by a 40 minute gap. Seems to allow the two services to be worked by three vehicles so is probably an efficiency measure - but not passenger friendly. 

    Overall I sadly understand the need for cuts, it''s the mitigation that is the let down for me.