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. 


Anonymous said...

Sadly EY continues to shrink. Main loss here, in my opinion, is The Parkway and Well Lane in Willerby which covers an area with a fair number of older people and is quite a walk from the main road.
Willerby, Anlaby, Hessle and Kirk Ella now have the worst bus service I can remember in my lifetime. Interesting to understand why it’s gone so wrong, surely it isn’t all due to covid? Has EY done enough to win back passengers, or has their recent shocking reliability put too many people off? I wonder too how much the old EYMS was willing to keep marginal routes going compared to the new owners.

Anonymous said...

I think it’s mainly down to the fact that the old EYMS was run by a bus enthusiast with a genuine passion for providing a service for his local community regardless of whether it was profitable, certainly admirable of Mr Shipp however you have to say in a world of increasing costs it didn’t make great business sense. The new EY are the polar opposite, run by suits and ties in London who wouldn’t have the slightest clue where Willerby or Kirk Ella is so therefore if the spreadsheets don’t show a profit the service gets cut. Harsh on local residents for sure but as a business decision I hate to say it but probably the correct one.

NMcB said...

I'm not sure this can mainly be put down to ownership by Go-Ahead, as up to September 2021 there were still improvements being made to Hull Area services, with 54, 56 and 57 all running every 15 minutes for instance. However, since then staff shortages appear to have worsened, the level of cancellations has been appalling and frequencies have been reduced to try and match availability. The above routes now run every 30 minutes and there have been similar reductions elsewhere. Even then, too many cancellations still occur, leaving hour-long gaps if even one journey is cancelled. I haven't lived in Hull for many years now, but if I did would not contemplate using EY services on a regular basis unless I had a secure 'Plan B' as back-up.
So its not surprising that passengers in more affluent areas are deserting EY services, leading to the changes documented here. Both of the recent significant cutbacks (to 151 and 152) are also to areas with low levels of demand where attempts have been made to provide some sort of service following earlier cutbacks, but the resulting routes were so circuitous as to be unattractive to anyone willing to walk around 10 minutes to a more frequent service along Kingston Road or at Hessle Square in these cases.
However, this appears to be a fairly general problem across the industry with a 9% shortfall in staffing being quoted implying that companies nationwide are experiencing similar problems. What does surprise me is that the weekly DfT statistics show bus patronage outside London running at an average of just over 90% of pre-Covid levels since the start of November, about 10% above the same time in 2021, so perhaps some areas are seeing rather more success than East Yorkshire who I can't imagine are achieving that level of usage, but would be more than happy to be corrected.