Sunday 31 March 2024

Normanby Hall Regains Service 4

Using Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding, Hornsby service 4 between Brigg and Scunthorpe regained a Normanby Hall Country Park extension yesterday - Saturday 30th March. In the 00's it was the Sunday service that extended to the Country Park north of Scunthorpe, but this time it is the Saturday service. The extended journeys are the 0840, 1040, 1240 and 1440 from Brigg to Scunthorpe, with the 1245, 1445 and 1645 from Scunthorpe starting back at Normanby Hall 20 minutes earlier. Overall this gives good flexibility as to the length of a day out. The Normanby Hall extensions will operate until 26th October.

Otherwise bus access to Normanby Hall is via service 60 between Scunthorpe and Whitton (or the Just Go demand responsive service). However most journeys on service 60 only serve the side entrance by Normanby Village, so the new extended service 4 to the main entrance will be a big improvement from Scunthorpe, as well as providing through journeys from Brigg, Broughton and Ashby.

Saturday 30 March 2024

260 extended to Immingham

The 260 Barton Villager has been one of those services which rarely changes since it was first introduced around 20 years ago. Whilst a Saturday service came and went, and the operator changed from North Lincolnshire Council to Stagecoach, it had always been a Monday to Friday daytime Barton-Barrow-Goxhill-New Holland-Barrow-Barton circular, operating hourly with some longer gaps. A long standing exception had been a Thursday only extension to East Halton as well as a internal Barton Town Service from Tesco to Victoria Drive. Overall this had meant seven circular trips Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and six on Thursdays, two of which served East Halton.

That all changed on Monday 19th February. The 260 now operates between Barton and Immingham via Barrow, New Holland, Goxhill, East Halton, North Killingholme and South Killingholme, with the Civic Centre being served into Immingham en-route to the County Hotel. There are two full route services in each direction as well as two Barton to Goxhill and return extras on schooldays and three during School Holidays. St Chad in Barrow is now unserved, as is Victoria Drive in Barton. The service remains a Monday to Friday only route (for now).

The change is Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funded, though I'm not sure why - resource has been taken away from the Barton to Goxhill section to provide the Immingham extension.

The intent here is good. North and South Killingholme were without a scheduled bus service, and East Halton only had one on Thursdays (college service excepted). Plus to be fair the 260 was never a busy service in recent years from my limited observations - one of those routes that usually had at least someone on, but never many. The Barrow to Barton section also received a significant boost in recent years when the four times a day service 450 was replaced by the hourly (with gaps) 250, supplanting the 260 as the primary bus service between the two settlements. In theory at least there is logic behind reducing the Goxhill to Barton service in order to address no/limited bus services elsewhere.

That being said, the new timetable isn't perfect. Anyone from Goxhill or New Holland who would like or needs a morning in Barton by bus now has only one service to choose from - the 0919 from Goxhill, arrives Barton Market Place 0950 - and can't return home until the 1245 from Barton Tesco. East Halton residents don't really have a usable service to Barton anymore - first arrival at Barton Market Place is at 1150, last departure 1252. 

In terms of co-ordination with the 250 between Barrow and Barton it is a mixed picture - see the updated Summary Timetable here. The 0942 260 from Barrow Market Place fits it well between the 0902 and 1002 250's, but the 1142 260 is just 10 minutes after a 250. In the afternoon the 1427 260 slots is nicely between the 1332 and 1502 250's; so does the school holiday 1535 260 in between the 1502 and 1602 250's, and finally the 1642 260 in between the 1602 and 1722 250's. From Barton Market Place the 0900 260 runs ahead of the 0922 250, then the 1007 260 is 15 minutes ahead of the 1022 250. Very unfortunately there are both 250's and 260's leaving Barton Market Place at 1252 and 1452 (school holidays), but the final 1557 260 fits in better between 250's at 1452 and 1622.

Friday 29 March 2024

Isle of Axholme Service 97 revised

North Lincolnshire Council directly operated service 97 in the Isle of Axholme was revised on 29th January. The 97 was launched last May, operating between Garthorpe, Crowle, Epworth, Sandtoft and Wroot Monday to Friday. There were two full route journeys from Garthorpe, three from Wroot plus a Garthorpe to Epworth 'short' in each direction. It was reported last September that some changes may need to be made in response to early passenger numbers; those changes came in January.

The route is unchanged between Garthorpe and Epworth but now operates to Sandtoft via Low Burnham, Haxey, Westwoodside and Wroot. Haxey and Westwoodside already have Epworth links on the 399. The timetable has also been reduced, to two journeys in each direction - albeit not quite that simple. There is a morning Sandtoft-Garthorpe-Sandtoft round trip, then in the afternoon the route operates Epworth-Sandtoft-Garthorpe-Epworth.

There are now new Humber Transport Summary Timetables available for Belton to Epworth and Epworth to Haxey and Westwoodside, including the revised 97. 

Reviewing co-ordination with other services in detail and from Epworth to Haxey and Westwoodside, the 1141 from Epworth fits almost perfectly into a four hour gap on service 399. The 1315 from Epworth leaves just 21 minutes before a 399 however. From Westwoodside, the 0952 is just 12 minutes after a 399, but the 1412 fits in better between the 1323 and 1623 service 399's.

From Belton to Epworth the 1133 follows two minutes behind a service 399, but the 1548 fits in better between the 1331 and 1651 399's. Departing Epworth to Belton, the 1006 duplicates the 1007 399, with the 1426 fitting in a little better between the 1350 and 1650 399's.

Turning to North Axholme, and from Ealand into Crowle, the 1026 97 fits in nicely between the 0957 361 and the 1055 service 90. The 1446 97 runs 9 minutes ahead of a service 90, so not so good. Returning from Crowle, the 1118 97 follows after the 1114 90, whilst the 1533 97 is just a minute in front of a service 90.

Finally departing Garthorpe for Crowle, the 1100 97 slots in almost perfectly between the 0956 and 1156 service 361's, and the 1515 97 in between the 1356 and 1556 361's. From Crowle co-ordination is not as good, but not awful; the 1031 97 fits in between 1004 and 1204 service 361's, and the 1451 97 follows on from the 1404 service 361, to provide the last service of the day north from Crowle (except for a college day service 90 to Eastoft).

Overall co-ordination with other services can be described as mixed, but not an easy job to fit around multiple different other services.

Sunday 17 March 2024

Mostly Positive Changes in Bridlington

Last September, East Yorkshire made some retrograde changes to their Bridlington town services - reduced frequencies, non-clockface timetables and increasing differences between weekdays and Saturdays. It appeared to be an attempt to improve reliability without any extra resource. On Monday 29th January, East Yorkshire changed approach and made some clear improvements, "after carefully listening to your feedback".

On service 2 to the south of Bridlington, times have been aligned Monday to Saturday for those journeys that operate six days a week, as opposed to most weekday services running 5 minutes earlier than on Saturdays. For service 3 to the West Hill Estate, intermediate times have been aligned Monday to Saturday, so that the only Saturday difference is one extra journey.

Service 4 and 4A to the New Pasture Lane Estate go from a messy every 20-45 minutes combined to every hour each, on a standardised 20-40 minute interval; prior to last September they were every hour each with a combined half hourly service. 

In last September's timetable, the 5 and 5A to the north of Bridlington had retained some semblance of a clockface timetable, at least in the morning and early afternoon period, with each service operating every hour for a combined half hourly frequency. Since late January the 5A variant via Kirkgate has been withdrawn, with Kirkgate still served by the 4/4A. The 5 continues hourly, with a new Monday to Friday 0826 from Bempton Lane into Bridlington added; previous first service 0921, but the last service cutback from 1735 to 1705. 

Together with the 4 and 4A, the 5 now provides a service every 20 minutes from central Bridlington along Quay Road where the three routes diverge - hence the 20-40 minute interval on the 4/4A. It would appear that the 5A has been sacrificed to increase the 4/4A.

Somewhat 'softening the blow' for the Bempton Lane area of Bridlington, service 12 from Scarborough now diverts via the area on a small number of journeys. The Monday to Friday 0710 from Scarborough to Bridlington serves Bempton Lane at 0812, whilst the Monday to Friday 1525 from Bridlington is also diverted via Bempton Lane to fill a 2 hour gap in the weekday service 5. Finally on Sundays three 12's in each direction divert via Bempton Lane so that residents can travel into Bridlington Town Centre during the daytime.

Service 6 to the north of Bridlington now has alignment of Monday to Friday and Saturday timetables with the exception of one Saturday only service.

Finally, Bridlington gained a new Friday and Saturday evening town service from 2nd February. The 513 - a number rather out of place for the modern day town network in Bridlington - is funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding allocation and operated by East Yorkshire. It operates an hourly circular from Bridlington Bus Station from 1830 to 2230 via Hilderthorpe Road, the West Hill Estate, the New Pasture Lane Estate and Westgate in the Old Town, covering parts of the daytime service 3 and 4 routes. Creating a bespoke evening service isn't ideal, but one bus couldn't provide an even interval hourly service on routes 3 and 4, so a bespoke service is perhaps appropriate in this instance. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Big boost for Bempton and Buckton

Another recipient of East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding was the East Yorkshire operated service 504 between Bridlington and Bempton, a village to the north of the town. The 504 was previously a Monday to Friday only service, interworked with the 131 Carnaby Industrial Estate workers service. As such, the 504 offered three journeys from Bempton and two from Bridlington, timed to operate immediately post morning peak, at lunchtime and again mid-afternoon. The 504 operates via Queensgate, St Aidan Road, Bempton Lane and Darwin Road in Bridlington on all journeys, providing a town service function as well as also serving the village of Buckton. Additionally one service in each direction also serves Fortyfoot and St Anne's Road.

That previous service remains unchanged, but has now been added too. On Saturdays and Sundays a two hourly daytime service is now provided, with five journeys from Bempton and four from Bridlington, all operating via the main route (i.e. omitting Fortyfoot and St Anne's Road). As such the weekend daytime service is more frequent than the weekday service. 

In addition a limited Friday and Saturday evening service has been provided to support nights out in Bridlington. There is a new 1900 from Bempton to Bridlington and 2310 return (both omitting Fortyfoot and St Anne's Road), with the 2310 also extending beyond Bempton to Flamborough, Thornwick Bay and North Landing. This is a logical extension as Flamborough lacks a late evening service on it's service 14 route from Bridlington.

Certainly not the only route with this sort of anomaly, but there is a very large gap in departures from Bridlington between 1530 and 2310 on Fridays and from 1640 to 2310 on Saturdays. An evening peak service would be ideal, but if not an 1825-ish departure from Bridlington which then forms the new 1900 from Bempton could make a useful difference at potentially marginal cost.

Friday 15 March 2024

Service 121 Increased

With financial support from East Riding of Yorkshire's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding, East Yorkshire increased the Saturday daytime frequency of service 121 between Hull, Beverley, Driffield and Bridlington from hourly to approximately half hourly between Beverley and Bridlington on Saturday 3rd February. The service otherwise operates hourly daily daytimes with a reduced evening service; as such the Saturday daytime frequency is now double the remainder of the week.

There are new 'shorts' from Bridlington to Beverley at 0950, 1040, 1150, 1240 and 1450, along with a new 1350 Bridlington to Hull; the '50' minute past the hour additions fit in perfectly for an even interval half hourly service. In the opposite direction, extra service operate from Beverley at 1130, 1340, 1440, 1545 and 1640, and from Hull at 1148 and 1702. Some fit in perfectly for an even interval half hourly service, others don't; though it's worth noting that from Hull to Beverley the two extra journeys need to avoid duplicating the 1155 and 1655 service 23's.

It's an interesting increase, with lots of open countryside between Beverley and Bridlington, only one intermediate town and not many large villages. That being said, this increase is very much 'baby steps'. If it's a success and that leads to a 6/7 day a week half hourly service, then the extra journeys could be combined with the existing hourly 23 between Hull, Beverley and Molescroft to offer a half hourly Hull to Bridlington provision.

Elsewhere, with effect from 28th January, East Yorkshire made some other small but notable changes to the 121. The 0644 (Mon-Fri)/0657 (Sat) Nafferton to Hull now starts back in Bridlington at 0621 (Mon-Fri)/0635 (Sat), providing a 59 minutes earlier Mon-Fri/50 minute Sat earlier first departure from Bridlington. To balance this out, the 1840 Monday to Friday Bridlington to Hull service is split at Beverley, with a new Monday to Friday 1940 Beverley to Bridlington added, providing a later last service from Beverley to Bridlington by 1 hour 16 minutes. On Saturdays the previous last 1825 service 121 departure from Bridlington now operates at 1850, which it appears is worked 'off' the previously mentioned 1702 from Hull. 

Overall it looks like 1 Monday to Friday 'board' has moved from Hull to Bridlington depot. On Saturdays the equivalent 'board;' also appears to have moved depot, but Hull are picking up some of the new Saturday extra journeys instead. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

New Evening Services in the Beverley area

On Friday 2nd February, East Riding of Yorkshire Council started contracting East Yorkshire to provide one vehicle's worth of evening services in the Beverley area every Friday and Saturday, funded by Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding. Three routes have gained a new evening service - the 142, 180 and 525 - albeit in each case on a part route basis only.

Before I review each route, here is the 'diagram':

  • 1900 Service 180 Skidby-Beverley
  • 1930 Service 142 Beverley-Cherry Burton
  • 1940 Service 142 Cherry Burton-Beverley
  • 2000 Service 525 Beverley-Beverley Town Service
  • [46 minute break]
  • 2100 Service 525 Beverley-Beverley Town Service
  • [46 minute break]
  • 2200 Service 525 Beverley-Beverley Town Service
  • 2230 Service 180 Beverley-Skidby
  • [position out of service]
  • 2315 Service 142 Beverley-Cherry Burton
Service 180 is otherwise operated by Stagecoach between Cottingham, Skidby and Beverley. Prior to the 1900, the last Stagecoach operated departure from Skidby to Beverley is at 1637. From Beverley, the last Stagecoach 180 is at 1715.

The new evening 180 could have even more purpose by serving Cottingham as per the daytime route. Cottingham lost it's evening service to/from Beverley last Spring when the X47 was routed away, whilst the last daytime service from Cottingham to Beverley is at 1817 Fri/1809 Sat on service 25 and from Beverley to Cottingham at 1715 Fri/1820 Sat. 

I've looked on to see if a Cottingham extension would be possible for the inbound service to Beverley. On Friday 8th March, bus 0769 arrived in Hessle on the 25 at 1821 before running 'dead' to Skidby for the 1900. Today (Saturday 9th March), bus 0362 arrived in Beverley on the 25 at 1835 before running 'dead' to Skidby for the 1900. In the Friday example a Cottingham start seems easy enough - superficially at least; on Saturday's probably not possible without changing the interworking. An extension of the 2230 to Cottingham would require the 2315 service 142 to be retimed slightly later. 

With Cottingham also having bars and restaurants itself - plus visiting at Castle Hill Hospital - it does strike me that the new evening 180 has potential for a more extensive timetable. 

Moving onto the 142, for the which the limited Monday to Saturday daytime service operates an extended route beyond Cherry Burton to Middleton and Bainton. The Friday timetable in particular now is rather unusual - 1150, 1350, 1930 and 2315 from Beverley and 1007, 1307 and 1940 from Cherry Burton. Saturdays also have a 1600 from Beverley and 1657 from Cherry Burton. Clearly the new evening 142's serve a clear purpose, to give Molescroft and Cherry Burton residents the option for an evening out in Beverley. However it is perhaps a legitimate question to ask whether the funding being used would be better spent funding a late afternoon weekday service instead?

Finally, the 525; the main daytime service serves the Swinemoor Estate as well as Holme Church Lane and Flemingate, whereas the new evening jouneys omit the Swinemoor Estate and instead operate direct from Beverley Station to Holme Church Lane via Grovehill Road. I presume this is related to anti-social behaviour issues on the Swinemoor Estate? Timetable wise it's another odd one - 0930, hourly to 1530, 1600 then 2000, 2100 and 2200. A four hour gap and no early evening service into Beverley. It feels like the new evening 525's are a way to 'pass time' before taking the village passengers back home again. Plus once again, if there is money to spend on improving the 525, a later daytime service Monday to Saturday feels like a better option.

Overall the intent is good - encourage people to spend an evening in Beverley by bus. However the 'execution' doesn't feel quite right and there are arguably bigger priorities in the Beverley bus network during the late afternoon period.

Sunday 3 March 2024

New Sunday Service on the 136

Five weeks ago on Sunday 28th January, East Yorkshire operated service 136 between Driffield, Skipsea and Bridlington gained a Sunday service, to add to it's approximately every 3 hours Monday to Saturday daytime service. The new Sunday service is funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding allocation, with 0915, 1415 and 1655 departures from Bridlington, and 1025, 1530 and 1805 departures from Driffield. 

The new service is welcome, and provides the only Sunday bus service for Wansford, North Frodingham and Beeford, as well as new Sunday links to Driffield from Barmston, Lissett, Ulrome and Skipsea.

Between Bridlington and Skipsea the route is also served by daily Bridlington to Hornsea service 130, and unfortunately coordination between the 130 and 136 on a Sunday is poor, just like it already is Monday to Saturday. The Humber Transport Summary Timetables page now has a combined timetable, but as the main example, on a Sunday afternoon there are services from Bridlington to Skipsea at 1415, 1445, 1655 and 1715. To be fair, the Sunday morning timetable is better co-ordinated, and passengers may not be evenly spread across the day, but even still, a 30 minute gap followed by a 130 minute gap followed by a 20 minute gap is poor. 

On paper, with the 130 and 136 both having a similar end to end journey time, Bridlington to Skipsea could have a daily service every 90 minutes combined, without increasing the vehicle requirement. In the real world, it wouldn't be that perfect - the need to accommodate schools interworking on the 130 for example - but surely it must be possible to improve on the current situation? 

Saturday 2 March 2024

Pocklington to Driffield Reinstated

Returning now to East Yorkshire's recent changes, and the Pocklington to Driffield link was reinstated - in a very limited way - on Thursday 1st February with new service 544. The 544 operates Thursdays only between the two towns via Warter, North Dalton, Bainton (Wolds Village stop on the outskirts only), Tibthorpe and Kirkburn. There are 0930 and 1240 departures from Pocklington and 1015 and 1325 departures from Driffield, giving passengers either 3 hours 15 minutes in Driffield on market day, or 1 hour 45 minutes in Pocklington.

The 544 has been attributed to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding, but from the wording in their press release, it would seem that is only for the 0930 and 1325 Driffield market day links; the 1015 and 1240 may well be commercially operated, which if so would be a good use of otherwise 'dead' time.

New Thursday off-peak shopping service to Driffield. Departing Pocklington 0930, Warter 0942, North Dalton 0949, Tibthorpe 0955, arriving in Driffield at 1010. Returning at 1325 from Driffield. 
In addition East Yorkshire buses will run a service from Driffield to Pocklington. Departing Driffield 1015, Tibthorpe 1030, North Dalton 1036, Warter 1043, arriving in Pocklington at 1055. Returning at 1240 from Pocklington

North Dalton, Bainton and Kirkburn have a regular Monday to Saturday off peak link to Driffield on service 145, so it seems like the main purpose is to link Pocklington, Warter and Tibthorpe to Driffield. Warter is otherwise only served by the Tuesday only 199, whilst the 544 is Tibthorpe's only bus service.

Friday 1 March 2024

Extra Sunday Services on the 350

When does an enhancement leave you wanting more? When the vehicle requirement of a route increases for just one extra journey each way, on a service that could do with more additions than just that.

On Sunday 18th February, Stagecoach added a new 0755 Sunday service 350 from Ashby to Hull via Scunthorpe and Barton, offering an 0925 first arrival into Hull. The new journey is supported by North Lincolnshire's Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus funding allocation. Stagecoach have then added a new 0930 Hull to Ashby. These additions are very welcome, particularly the earlier first arrival into Hull. Overall there are now seven services each way on a Sunday, on a very unbalanced timetable with three hour gaps at certain times of the day - 0755, 0855, 0955, 1255, 1455, 1755 and 1955 from Ashby; 0830, 0930, 1030, 1330, 1530, 1830 and 1930 from Hull.

These extra journeys now increase the Sunday vehicle requirement of the 350 to 3 - 1 from East Yorkshire (unchanged) and 2 from Stagecoach's Scunthorpe depot. However the notional 2nd Stagecoach vehicle finishes it's day at 1051. It is a bit disappointing that the opportunity hasn't been taken to do more with it. On a Sunday, three vehicles could provide an hourly all day service. Even if there was no desire to go that far, the current three hour gaps in the Sunday timetable could have been reduced. 

My frustration aside, I did take a trip on the first run of the new 0755. It's obviously unknown how representative this will turn out to be, but for the record, I and one other boarded at Barton Market Place, 1 got off and 10 were already on board. At Barton Interchange a further three boarded for a total of 15 heading across the Humber Bridge. Briefly observing the 0830 from Hull at Barton Interchange, it only looked to have two or three on board. 

Once over the bridge, one got off at Wingfield Farm on Boothferry Road, 1 on at Fiveways, 1 off at the North Road stop on Boothferry Road, 1 on at the Wheeler Street stop on Anlaby Road, 2 off and 1 on at Wenlock Barracks, 1 off and 2 on at the MKM Stadium and finally 2 on at Hull Royal Infirmary. On arrival at Paragon Interchange in Hull there looked to be 5 waiting for the 0930. Overall quite encouraging for an inaugural run on a damp February Sunday. There looked to be 2 people in Tesco uniform so potentially some commuter travel as part of the passenger mix.

Not wanting to wait until the 1330 to go home, that meant returning on the 1030. The inbound arrival at Paragon Interchange I counted 36 passengers get off. 16 boarded the 1030 at Paragon Interchange and 1 more at the first stop on Anlaby Road after turning off Park Street. 1 got off at Hull Royal Infirmary, 1 boarded opposite the East Yorkshire depot, 2 boarded at the Anlaby Road Sandringham Street stop and 3 at the Anlaby Road Wheeler Street stop. Once turning onto Boothferry Road, 3 got off at Wistow Grove, 1 off at Fiveways, 1 on at Costello Stadium, 1 on at Darleys Roundabout and 1 off at Wingfield Farm. In Barton there was 1 off and 1 on at the Ferriby Road Forkedale stop, 5 off and 3 on at the Interchange and then me off on Butts Road. Again encouraging numbers for the time of day and direction of travel.

For the record, as part of the same change to the 350, Stagecoach no longer divert via Wren Kitchens in Barton on Saturdays. Rather than reduce journey times on the affected journeys, buses wait time in Barton to avoid deviation from the Monday to Friday timetable.