Route Development | Network Expansion & New Services

57 Replies, 3480 Views

(29 Dec 2021, 11:59 am)L469 YVK Wrote: I might be wrong, but I'm fairly sure it's 16 minutes at both ends?

That's still fairly decent. Some of Arriva Alnwick 'X' routes have less at both ends.

It's not something GNE would've done without much consideration.

Times have changed and GNE need to adapt accordingly. And that doesn't just go for the X9/X10 or cutting other services where the demand has eased, but maybe actually exploiting other changes to travel pattern demands etc and potentially capitalising. 

I'd love that to happen. I don't think the powers that be at GNE towers think that such things exist beyond a couple of once a day services to Whitby or Belsay. 
I can't think of the last regular service they introduced. The AD122? That wasn't exactly a new, inspirational idea either...
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(29 Dec 2021, 2:58 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I'd love that to happen. I don't think the powers that be at GNE towers think that such things exist beyond a couple of once a day services to Whitby or Belsay. 
I can't think of the last regular service they introduced. The AD122? That wasn't exactly a new, inspirational idea either...
I think they have initially although it does take time to establish demands and patterns etc

- Follingsby Amazon
- Tyne Valley Retail Park
- Arniston Centre

If the Blyth Gigaplant takes off, maybe an extension to the 309 or even the 1 to create links within North Tyneside (areas not covered by the train) would be an opportunity.
(29 Dec 2021, 3:36 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: I think they have initially although it does take time to establish demands and patterns etc

- Follingsby Amazon
- Tyne Valley Retail Park
- Arniston Centre

If the Blyth Gigaplant takes off, maybe an extension to the 309 or even the 1 to create links within North Tyneside (areas not covered by the train) would be an opportunity.

The Arnison has been there for 30 or so years. They have had more than enough time to establish demands and travel patterns and they've still not covered off anything from Lanchester way - despite people living in the area, working and shopping at the Arnison. 
Ditto Retail World (which was built in the 80s) and apart from the 91, 809 and diverting the 183 for a short while, they've done barely anything other than the 93 and 94 and regularly see them stuck in the traffic jams caused by people who can't or won't use public transport.

Follingsby Park is one to take advantage of and it's a good thing they've started serving it. It's just a shame that those regulars on the 4 are affected by a diversion and see longer journeys as a result.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(29 Dec 2021, 2:58 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: I'd love that to happen. I don't think the powers that be at GNE towers think that such things exist beyond a couple of once a day services to Whitby or Belsay. 
I can't think of the last regular service they introduced. The AD122? That wasn't exactly a new, inspirational idea either...

It is so much more difficult to get a business case to stack up to introduce a brand new service. It is easier to add to the existing network, either diverting or extending an existing service, to try and capitalise on areas of potential demand.

In very simple numbers it costs around £100k to add 1 PVR to a service. It is clear to see why operators (not just Go North East) rarely add additional buses to the network, and aim to have such new ventures (partly) funded, even if it's just short-term kick-start funding.

That said, there have been a few changes to the network over the last few years:
  • X1 extended beyond Easington Lane to Peterlee and Dalton Park, enabling through links from Washington to these areas.
  • X5/X15 extended beyond Consett to Shotley Bridge to provide a through link to Durham - with the view that this would become commercially viable and ran commercially once S106 funding ran out.
  • X21 extended beyond Bishop Auckland to Tindale Crescent and then West Auckland - initially as a partial replacement for service 18, but developed further since.
  • 4 diverted via Follingsby Park to serve the new Amazon FC.
  • 10B extended from Prudhoe Station to Tyneview Retail Park.
  • 21 diverted via Arnison Centre and extended beyond Durham to Brandon

It's sad that you weren't able to think of any of these - arguably Go North East has done a lot more than other operators in the area, although Stagecoach's extension of service 22 to Cobalt (initially received kick-start funding from Cobalt, I understand) and introduction of service X24 deserve a mention. Clearly in a post-Covid world, service 22 probably isn't commercially viable anymore, with the number of people actually working in the office at Cobalt. Similarly the X24 was predominantly used by ENCTS users and they are some of the biggest customer base not returning to buses very quickly, and it is highly likely that ENCTS payments are likely to be heavily reduced next year to fund the Metro.

Whilst short-notice cancellations have not helped the development of the X1, I think Go North East has capitalised on the poor operation of Arriva in Durham with services 21 and X21. Anecdotally I have heard customers comment on the 'posher buses' and cheaper fares on the Go North East services.
(29 Dec 2021, 3:43 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: Follingsby Park is one to take advantage of and it's a good thing they've started serving it. It's just a shame that those regulars on the 4 are affected by a diversion and see longer journeys as a result.

You've made your views on the 'hub and spoke' model clear, and suggested that your preference would be to offer direct services. Go North East has diverted an existing service (adding 1 PVR) to serve Follingsby Park, which enables direct journeys to be made from Houghton-le-Spring and Washington, as well as using Heworth as a hub.

To use the same amount of resource (1 PVR) without diverting service 4, you'd only be running short hops between Follingsby and Heworth - surrendering those direct links to Houghton-le-Spring and Washington.

I think diverting service 4 was the correct decision to make.
I concur many of times I have heard people mention how nice the 21's are, I was even on a OmniDekka coming from Brandon (Nevels Cross) as I didn't want to get on the 21, due to School Services at Durham, and I heard people saying, they are much nicer, spacious buses and that as from buses older than what Arriva puts on. 

But tbh It would be nice to get a hourly service from the 21 whcih terminates at Durham. to have a every 12min Frequency.
(29 Dec 2021, 3:57 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: I concur many of times I have heard people mention how nice the 21's are, I was even on a OmniDekka coming from Brandon (Nevels Cross) as I didn't want to get on the 21, due to School Services at Durham, and I heard people saying, they are much nicer, spacious buses and that as from buses older than what Arriva puts on. 

But tbh It would be nice to get a hourly service from the 21 whcih terminates at Durham. to have a every 12min Frequency.

Appreciating we're getting off-topic here, but it'd be a huge (and unrealistic) leap to go from providing a half-hourly link to Brandon to a bus every 12 minutes.

If the current reduced frequency on the 21 remains (every 10 mins during the day instead of every 7), I would like to think that should demand continue to rise, that a bus every 20 minutes could be provided (i.e. every 10 mins to Chester-le-Street, then every 20 beyond there to Durham & Brandon).

With a BSIP/EP, this could then be complemented by Arriva's 49 running every 20 mins, to provide a service every 10 mins between Durham and Brandon between the 21 and 49, possibly even with integrated ticketing.

This is the more likely approach to service development in the future.
(29 Dec 2021, 3:47 pm)Dan Wrote: It is so much more difficult to get a business case to stack up to introduce a brand new service. It is easier to add to the existing network, either diverting or extending an existing service, to try and capitalise on areas of potential demand.

In very simple numbers it costs around £100k to add 1 PVR to a service. It is clear to see why operators (not just Go North East) rarely add additional buses to the network, and aim to have such new ventures (partly) funded, even if it's just short-term kick-start funding.

That said, there have been a few changes to the network over the last few years:
  • X1 extended beyond Easington Lane to Peterlee and Dalton Park, enabling through links from Washington to these areas.
  • X5/X15 extended beyond Consett to Shotley Bridge to provide a through link to Durham - with the view that this would become commercially viable and ran commercially once S106 funding ran out.
  • X21 extended beyond Bishop Auckland to Tindale Crescent and then West Auckland - initially as a partial replacement for service 18, but developed further since.
  • 4 diverted via Follingsby Park to serve the new Amazon FC.
  • 10B extended from Prudhoe Station to Tyneview Retail Park.
  • 21 diverted via Arnison Centre and extended beyond Durham to Brandon

It's sad that you weren't able to think of any of these - arguably Go North East has done a lot more than other operators in the area, although Stagecoach's extension of service 22 to Cobalt (initially received kick-start funding from Cobalt, I understand) and introduction of service X24 deserve a mention. Clearly in a post-Covid world, service 22 probably isn't commercially viable anymore, with the number of people actually working in the office at Cobalt. Similarly the X24 was predominantly used by ENCTS users and they are some of the biggest customer base not returning to buses very quickly, and it is highly likely that ENCTS payments are likely to be heavily reduced next year to fund the Metro.

Whilst short-notice cancellations have not helped the development of the X1, I think Go North East has capitalised on the poor operation of Arriva in Durham with services 21 and X21. Anecdotally I have heard customers comment on the 'posher buses' and cheaper fares on the Go North East services.
The X21 extension seems to be getting busier and busier every time I see it, with most people actually paying, with the Arriva 6 most of the people I see getting on are using their ENCTS pass.

Sent from my AC2003 using Tapatalk
(29 Dec 2021, 4:14 pm)streetdeckfan Wrote: The X21 extension seems to be getting busier and busier every time I see it, with most people actually paying, with the Arriva 6 most of the people I add getting on are using their ENCTS pass.

Sent from my AC2003 using Tapatalk

In a similar vein to the 21/49, I would like to think that a future development opportunity could be to run a bus every 10 mins combined between the 6 and X21 (each every 20). This would offer a much more attractive customer proposition than a 6 every 12(?) mins and X21 every 30.

Based on your anedoctal experiences, it's likely fare-paying passengers are choosing to use the X21 because it's cheaper, and ENCTS users are using the 6 because it's the first bus that turns up and the one they're more accustomed to using.

Go North East ran services 308 and X10 to Blyth on Boxing Day, and I have heard a number of comments about how passengers tried to buy the £4 North Tyne day ticket (valid on GNE's 309) and were taken aback when they were told it costs £8.50 on Arriva's service.
(29 Dec 2021, 4:20 pm)Dan Wrote: In a similar vein to the 21/49, I would like to think that a future development opportunity could be to run a bus every 10 mins combined between the 6 and X21 (each every 20). This would offer a much more attractive customer proposition than a 6 every 12(?) mins and X21 every 30.

Based on your anedoctal experiences, it's likely fare-paying passengers are choosing to use the X21 because it's cheaper, and ENCTS users are using the 6 because it's the first bus that turns up and the one they're more accustomed to using.

Go North East ran services 308 and X10 to Blyth on Boxing Day, and I have heard a number of comments about how passengers tried to buy the £4 North Tyne day ticket (valid on GNE's 309) and were taken aback when they were told it costs £8.50 on Arriva's service.

I think for some journeys the 6 is still cheaper, I think from Bishop to Tindale Arriva is £1.40 but GNE is £1.50, but the return is cheaper with GNE (may be the other way round, I usually just tap and pay without listening!)

Sent from my AC2003 using Tapatalk
(29 Dec 2021, 3:47 pm)Dan Wrote: It's sad that you weren't able to think of any of these - arguably Go North East has done a lot more than other operators in the area, although Stagecoach's extension of service 22 to Cobalt (initially received kick-start funding from Cobalt, I understand) and introduction of service X24 deserve a mention. Clearly in a post-Covid world, service 22 probably isn't commercially viable anymore, with the number of people actually working in the office at Cobalt.
It's swings and roundabouts. The GNE route thay the 22 did the most damage to was the 1.

And although dinted the 309/X39 slightly, actually gave GNE the opportunity to streamline the Coast Road with all services going to Haymarket. GNE are now the stronger operator on the Coast Road especially given that they're now offering a more frequent evening & Sunday service than Arriva (bar the temporary withdrawal of evening 311's to protect staffing levels whilst demand will naturally be lower during January).
(29 Dec 2021, 4:20 pm)Dan Wrote: In a similar vein to the 21/49, I would like to think that a future development opportunity could be to run a bus every 10 mins combined between the 6 and X21 (each every 20). This would offer a much more attractive customer proposition than a 6 every 12(?) mins and X21 every 30.
It would be nice to see the X21/21 going every 20 mins each to Durham leading to one every 10 mins from NCL.
(29 Dec 2021, 3:47 pm)Dan Wrote: It is so much more difficult to get a business case to stack up to introduce a brand new service. It is easier to add to the existing network, either diverting or extending an existing service, to try and capitalise on areas of potential demand.

In very simple numbers it costs around £100k to add 1 PVR to a service. It is clear to see why operators (not just Go North East) rarely add additional buses to the network, and aim to have such new ventures (partly) funded, even if it's just short-term kick-start funding.

That said, there have been a few changes to the network over the last few years:
  • X1 extended beyond Easington Lane to Peterlee and Dalton Park, enabling through links from Washington to these areas.
  • X5/X15 extended beyond Consett to Shotley Bridge to provide a through link to Durham - with the view that this would become commercially viable and ran commercially once S106 funding ran out.
  • X21 extended beyond Bishop Auckland to Tindale Crescent and then West Auckland - initially as a partial replacement for service 18, but developed further since.
  • 4 diverted via Follingsby Park to serve the new Amazon FC.
  • 10B extended from Prudhoe Station to Tyneview Retail Park.
  • 21 diverted via Arnison Centre and extended beyond Durham to Brandon

It's sad that you weren't able to think of any of these - arguably Go North East has done a lot more than other operators in the area, although Stagecoach's extension of service 22 to Cobalt (initially received kick-start funding from Cobalt, I understand) and introduction of service X24 deserve a mention. Clearly in a post-Covid world, service 22 probably isn't commercially viable anymore, with the number of people actually working in the office at Cobalt. Similarly the X24 was predominantly used by ENCTS users and they are some of the biggest customer base not returning to buses very quickly, and it is highly likely that ENCTS payments are likely to be heavily reduced next year to fund the Metro.

Whilst short-notice cancellations have not helped the development of the X1, I think Go North East has capitalised on the poor operation of Arriva in Durham with services 21 and X21. Anecdotally I have heard customers comment on the 'posher buses' and cheaper fares on the Go North East services.

It's interesting to see that the extension of an existing route (replacing one in the case of the 18/X21 or reinstating part of a historic route in the case of the 21/X46) is viewed as a new route.
They're positives. But not sure they're a new route. 

I can see why an operator would look to do something on the cheap by adding a vehicle or two to the PVR and extending a route to open up new connections - rather than creating a new route in its entirity, but is that part of the issue and why we've seen a steady decline in the almost 40 years since de-reg? 

It's almost like a mantra of introducing something as cost effective as possible, is the only answer or option and that the entrepreneureal ideology of speculating to accumulating, has gone out of the window. Because 'it's easier'. 

We used to see the patter about 'experimental service being withdrawn' and whilst it was always a shame to see a route withdrawn after a quite insignificant period of time, at least the routes were introduced and given a try.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(29 Dec 2021, 5:40 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: We used to see the patter about 'experimental service being withdrawn' and whilst it was always a shame to see a route withdrawn after a quite significant period of time, at least the routes were introduced and given a try.

The OK1 was one of the ones which I wish I got a chance on....albeit it, it was a 6 month trial period iirc.
(29 Dec 2021, 5:40 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: It's interesting to see that the extension of an existing route (replacing one in the case of the 18/X21 or reinstating part of a historic route in the case of the 21/X46) is viewed as a new route.
They're positives. But not sure they're a new route. 

I can see why an operator would look to do something on the cheap by adding a vehicle or two to the PVR and extending a route to open up new connections - rather than creating a new route in its entirity, but is that part of the issue and why we've seen a steady decline in the almost 40 years since de-reg? 

It's almost like a mantra of introducing something as cost effective as possible, is the only answer or option and that the entrepreneureal ideology of speculating to accumulating, has gone out of the window. Because 'it's easier'. 

We used to see the patter about 'experimental service being withdrawn' and whilst it was always a shame to see a route withdrawn after a quite insignificant period of time, at least the routes were introduced and given a try.

The original point of discussion was regarding Go North East 'exploiting other changes to travel pattern demands etc and potentially capitalising', and your comment was that 'don't think the powers that be at GNE towers think that such things exist beyond a couple of once a day services to Whitby or Belsay.'

You added that you 'can't think of the last regular service they introduced' but all those services in my original post have been introduced. To the users of these services, they're new services.

To the people in Brandon, Meadowfield and Langley Moor, they have a new bus route which takes them directly to New College Durham and the Arnison Centre. Yes, that bus route may have existed in the late 80s in another format, but it hasn't for a very long time (I assume you're not referring to the most recent incarnation of the X46 which was basically the bus running in service between Crook and Durham rather than out of service). In some respects it's disappointing that you don't view them as such, but I'm glad you see them as positives.

The 21 is a prime example of a service being extended and diverted to offer a vast number of new connections to places previously not served - exactly what you have alluded that operators should be doing. It's comparable in some respects to your suggestion of the Stagecoach 'E' services being extended beyond Sunderland City Centre to the Royal Hospital, but the difference between that and the 21 is that Brandon - Durham was not a corridor served by Go North East previously, so isn't duplicating something that the company already offers in the 'hub and spoke' model. It will be interesting how Go North East, Arriva and Durham County Council view this corridor from April 2022, and whether they view the more established service as being the route to stick with, see the benefits of the new route and the cross-city connections it offers, or would prefer a blend of both.
@Dan

Could we not create or use an existing thread (I think there is one) for route development? It makes a very interesting conversation.
(29 Dec 2021, 6:53 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: @Dan

Could we not create or use an existing thread (I think there is one) for route development? It makes a very interesting conversation.

There's a 'network expansion ideas' thread which seems to be another service suggestions thread from a quick look through, whereas this discussion is more around existing development and what's been done (or not done) over the last few years.

Thread split accordingly.
I do think BSIP if implemented and marketed correctly will bring benefits.

Clear standout examples include some of the examples for Durham. Others could include:

- GNE 1 & SNE 22 coordinated frequency (maybe every 15 mins each and every 7-8 combined on common sections).

- ANE 308 & GNE 309 coordinated frequency (every 20 mins each and approximately every 10 mins combined on common sections). Evening journeys also re-timed to provide a 30 mins combined frequency on common sections and Sunday journeys re-timed to provide an approx 15 minute frequency on common sections.
(29 Dec 2021, 9:10 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: I do think BSIP if implemented and marketed correctly will bring benefits.

Clear standout examples include some of the examples for Durham. Others could include:

- GNE 1 & SNE 22 coordinated frequency (maybe every 15 mins each and every 7-8 combined on common sections).

- ANE 308 & GNE 309 coordinated frequency (every 20 mins each and approximately every 10 mins combined on common sections). Evening journeys also re-timed to provide a 30 mins combined frequency on common sections and Sunday journeys re-timed to provide an approx 15 minute frequency on common sections.
The 308/309 is a no brainer as the running times are virtually identical
(29 Dec 2021, 9:10 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: I do think BSIP if implemented and marketed correctly will bring benefits.

Clear standout examples include some of the examples for Durham. Others could include:

- GNE 1 & SNE 22 coordinated frequency (maybe every 15 mins each and every 7-8 combined on common sections).

- ANE 308 & GNE 309 coordinated frequency (every 20 mins each and approximately every 10 mins combined on common sections). Evening journeys also re-timed to provide a 30 mins combined frequency on common sections and Sunday journeys re-timed to provide an approx 15 minute frequency on common sections.

You should have a look through the BSIP plan in full, because the proposed Superbus routes (Red and Green) are included in the document. I use the term routes and not services, because it's illustrated as point to point between two places, not as GNE 1 or SNE 22 for example. See Page 99.

Doesn't look like the GNE 1 or SNE 22 in their current forms will be a Superbus route, as there's nothing between Wallsend and North Shields. There doesn't need to be either, as the Metro exists. North Shields to Whitley Bay and to Blyth are a Green route, so the proposal is a 10 minute daytime frequency along there.

I don't even think it's about BSIP being implemented or marked correctly at this stage. It's how much of the £804 million is going to be on offer, because around 40% of what was being asked for is revenue support "to subsidise the continuation of existing services in light of Covid-related financial shortfalls" and revenue support "to support the introduction of lower fares and expanded route networks." 

There's no published plan B, so it remains to be seen what can be done with the minimal amount of funding that we're likely to receive. We'll be lucky if we get 20% of what we've put in for.
Forum Moderator | Find NEB on facebook
Visit my Buses & Beyond website. Also on Facebook.