Route Development | Network Expansion & New Services

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(29 Dec 2021, 9:48 pm)Adrian Wrote: 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.


To be fair under an Enhanced Partnership, there’s work that the operators can be doing with or without a BSIP.

Rationalising corridors with competition, coordinating frequencies and having joint ticketing arrangements is what is right for the customer, and, ultimately, what is right for the operator. The days of competition are gone, now. Collaborative working and partnership is the new age of deregulation.

The BSIP remains fictitious at this stage and it’ll be interesting to see how the money, should any be received, is divvied out. Is it more important for example to maintain services, if operators cannot continue running them because it is unsustainable in a post-Covid world, or is it better to use that money to provide increased frequencies on ‘super bus’ corridors? It’s interesting to note that frequency is no longer king, according to a recent passenger survey.


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(29 Dec 2021, 6:50 pm)Dan Wrote: 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.

And the rest of the population who see that they're not new services, but simply a shuffling around of resources in a vain attempt to scrabble around and make a few quid? 

You are right in what you say about the 21 being extended and/or diverted. But for those who had the 21a or 21b and lost their direct link to the places GNE insist on taking them - not much of a consolation for them. Particularly when the punters who had the 21a, now seeing a slow, morbid decline in their offering and now having an hourly 71 as way of a runners up prize.

Without wanting to split hairs, the X46 Crook - Newcastle (might have had other numbers at various points - 721 plus others?), was around for donkeys years. Think it ended in the mid-90s as a through route with United having the final say on what was the X46 at the end. 

I've said some positive things about the 21 extensions. But I think more could and should be done.
West of the Arnison towards Lanchester and beyond, is prime for connection or a diversion of an X5 or X15.
But, all that duplication you talk about will need sorting around the Arnison Centre, either between there and Durham or between there and Chester...
If an E1 can't duplicate a 16 for a couple of miles along Chester Road, then I dread to think what they will think about a 21, X21, X22 and 50 running between Chester and Durham, with the X20 joining the mix at The Red Lion. 
That's all before throwing a 62 and 63 in to the mix.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(29 Dec 2021, 9:48 pm)Adrian Wrote: 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.

When do we find out if they got any funding?


PDF here for anyone who wants it: https://www.transportnortheast.gov.uk/wp..._FINAL.pdf
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(29 Dec 2021, 9:54 pm)Dan Wrote: To be fair under an Enhanced Partnership, there’s work that the operators can be doing with or without a BSIP.

Rationalising corridors with competition, coordinating frequencies and having joint ticketing arrangements is what is right for the customer, and, ultimately, what is right for the operator. The days of competition are gone, now. Collaborative working and partnership is the new age of deregulation.

The BSIP remains fictitious at this stage and it’ll be interesting to see how the money, should any be received, is divvied out. Is it more important for example to maintain services, if operators cannot continue running them because it is unsustainable in a post-Covid world, or is it better to use that money to provide increased frequencies on ‘super bus’ corridors? It’s interesting to note that frequency is no longer king, according to a recent passenger survey.


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Any chance you can give me and others a run down of what GNE have asked for?
(29 Dec 2021, 9:54 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: West of the Arnison towards Lanchester and beyond, is prime for connection or a diversion of an X5 or X15.

I agree about improved links to the Arnison from the west, but I’m not sure the X5/15 are the answer in this case.

It may just be a perception thing - not sure how long it would actually take - but diverting the X5/15 via the Arnison feels like it would take much longer than the 4 takes to divert around Follingsby.

As you rightly said before, the deviation away from the standard route has to be short enough to not deter existing users of the service. The X5/15 going via the Arnison feels like a step too far.

Equally terminating at the Arnison instead of Durham doesn’t feel right for the majority of existing users either?


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(29 Dec 2021, 9:54 pm)Michael Wrote: When do we find out if they got any funding?

PDF here for anyone who wants it: https://www.transportnortheast.gov.uk/wp..._FINAL.pdf

Not entirely sure, but the plans need to be in place by the end of March 2022, according to the guidance that was issued to operators and transport authorities. I am not sure you can have a plan in place, if you don't know how much money is in the kitty.
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(29 Dec 2021, 10:20 pm)omnicity4659 Wrote: I'll be raising this within Northumberland County Council and Arriva. The lack of clarity on what day tickets were being sold is a huge red flag and I think the relevant organisations need to investigate what went wrong.

GNE doesn't run any services on the line of route of the X10, and Arriva's adult fares undercut GNE's where routes are shared. That's also a fact.

You're starting to sound like a Karen.

(29 Dec 2021, 10:24 pm)Adrian Wrote: Not entirely sure, but the plans need to be in place by the end of March 2022, according to the guidance that was issued to operators and transport authorities. I am not sure you can have a plan in place, if you don't know how much money is in the kitty.

Ah right, will be interesting to see what happens now.
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Mod (North Korea) note:

Posts regarding Arriva’s Boxing Day services moved to the Arriva North East section of the forum in a new thread.


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(29 Dec 2021, 9:54 pm)Dan Wrote: To be fair under an Enhanced Partnership, there’s work that the operators can be doing with or without a BSIP.

Rationalising corridors with competition, coordinating frequencies and having joint ticketing arrangements is what is right for the customer, and, ultimately, what is right for the operator. The days of competition are gone, now. Collaborative working and partnership is the new age of deregulation.

The BSIP remains fictitious at this stage and it’ll be interesting to see how the money, should any be received, is divvied out. Is it more important for example to maintain services, if operators cannot continue running them because it is unsustainable in a post-Covid world, or is it better to use that money to provide increased frequencies on ‘super bus’ corridors? It’s interesting to note that frequency is no longer king, according to a recent passenger survey.


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Of course, there's plenty that can be done without a formal document agreeing to play nicely, but it concerns me that it's only happening now. Joint ticketing arrangements and acting in the interests of the customer have been long-standing issues spanning over decades, so it shouldn't have taken a pandemic and when everyone's back is against the wall in terms of on-going funding to get on the same page. It's not a good way of doing business and it leads to irrational decision making.

I reluctantly agree that BSIP remains fictitious until we get the formal announcement from the Government. As I've commented before, whoever has agreed to and supported this plan and subsequent bid for funding is living in a dream world. They may as well have requested Bentley limos in 24 carat gold bodywork providing a DRT service on the Coast Road, because they've got just as much chance of getting what they've actually asked for.

The next challenge is going to have to be to work out whether that three-way split of the £804m becomes pro-rata on what is actually granted, or indeed if its deemed more money needs to go towards funding of services instead. The plan in it's current form cannot function without significant funding in each of three categories, yet the availability of on-going funding (BSOG/BRG, as I understand), is subject to an Enhanced Partnership plan being in place.

Rationalising corridors and frequencies, whilst maintaining services, I'd agree is a more customer focused approach right now than focusing on Superbus networks, ensuring ticket acceptance throughout, e.g. Hexham to Newcastle on the 10/X84/X85/685. This should also apply to routes where there isn't competition, as operators aren't great at doing this with their own services. 

I was actually looking for some data on journey improvements when I replied to a post the other day, as on the 2019 Transport Focus survey, frequency was still in the top 4. The weekly bus user survey that they're running paints a similar picture, if you break the result down with age as a demographic. See attached.


Attached Files
.xlsx   2Advanced analysis_22.02.17.xlsx (Size: 4.88 KB / Downloads: 9)
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Not sure if this fits here, but had a scroll and can't see anywhere else it may fit.

I used the £1 fare for the first time since they introduced the new tap and pay feature and its great. I didn't have to speak to speak to the driver and it only took a few seconds.

The only downside is you don't seem to get a receipt, maybe that's still an option if you ask for the £1 fare and they put it through manually?

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(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.
The frequency of the 6 to the X21 used to make it a winner, much of the time, at 5:2 but now it's 3:2, the 6 is less tempting, particularly for me, now that the frequency of the 64 that connects me with the 6 has been halved. These days, if I need to make a trip to Spenny, I just give Husband a ring to pick me up if I've recently missed the X21 home.
(30 Dec 2021, 10:59 pm)streetdeckfan Wrote: Not sure if this fits here, but had a scroll and can't see anywhere else it may fit.

I used the £1 fare for the first time since they introduced the new tap and pay feature and its great. I didn't have to speak to speak to the driver and it only took a few seconds.

The only downside is you don't seem to get a receipt, maybe that's still an option if you ask for the £1 fare and they put it through manually?

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Yeah you can get a receipt by doing it the regular way, also same thing about paying for multiple singles off the same card, just need to ask the driver first.
If more Euro 6 Streetlites become available, I'd suggest extending the 1 to Blyth. Would open up a full link all the way down the coast from North Shields / Tynemouth to Blyth.

It could even be timed to coordinate with the 309 up to every 10 minutes. Maybe operate via Ridley Park instead of South Beach.

Only issue I could foresee would be a route number clash with Arriva's 1 to Ashington & Widdrington? Maybe re-introduce the 301 service number?
(13 Jan 2022, 10:58 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: If more Euro 6 Streetlites become available, I'd suggest extending the 1 to Blyth. Would open up a full link all the way down the coast from North Shields / Tynemouth to Blyth.

It could even be timed to coordinate with the 309 up to every 10 minutes. Maybe operate via Ridley Park instead of South Beach.

Only issue I could foresee would be a route number clash with Arriva's 1 to Ashington & Widdrington? Maybe re-introduce the 301 service number?

I would personally renumber the 1 to 301 for consistency with the 309 and 310 (and 306 and 308 if partnership and coordination with Arriva is the future.) Perhaps swap the 309 and 310 routes though so 301 and 310 go to Blyth and the 309 goes to North Shields.

I believe for Whitley Bay the 308 is the quickest from Newcastle, but which service is the best overall?
(13 Jan 2022, 10:58 pm)L469 YVK Wrote: If more Euro 6 Streetlites become available, I'd suggest extending the 1 to Blyth. Would open up a full link all the way down the coast from North Shields / Tynemouth to Blyth.

It could even be timed to coordinate with the 309 up to every 10 minutes. Maybe operate via Ridley Park instead of South Beach.

Only issue I could foresee would be a route number clash with Arriva's 1 to Ashington & Widdrington? Maybe re-introduce the 301 service number?

Why would they extend the 1 to Blyth? The numbers on the 309 are hardly ground-breaking to start with. If anything, I would suggest reducing the frequency of the 309.
(13 Jan 2022, 11:29 pm)Thomas12 Wrote: Why would they extend the 1 to Blyth? The numbers on the 309 are hardly ground-breaking to start with. If anything, I would suggest reducing the frequency of the 309.

Has the 309/310 ever had decent passenger numbers? There isn't much in Whitley Bay, North Shields or Blyth and not even too much at the Cobalt (but a lot of employment there, pre-covid). Could anything be done to boost numbers? X39 full route? Maybe X36, X38 and X39 instead of 306, 308 and 309 for quicker journey times?
(13 Jan 2022, 11:29 pm)Thomas12 Wrote: Why would they extend the 1 to Blyth? The numbers on the 309 are hardly ground-breaking to start with. If anything, I would suggest reducing the frequency of the 309.

The 309 should terminate in Whitley Bay if they're being serious about working together. There's no need for 7 buses an hour doing the same bus route around the world and I keep getting told business parks are dead so that's not a valid argument.

Also if we're being serious around ticketing they should drop the price of the X7 and X9 so it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to use them going to Newcastle it's ridiculous the price difference between the two from South Beach and Seaton Sluice especially when they're quicker and the X9 struggles as it is to replace the 309 cheap links to Newcastle - it's quicker anyway.

Then you might be able to give the argument to extend the 306 to Blyth (it makes more sense than the 1 since it's future operating patterns).
Could the 1 terminate in Newcastle, and be curtailed at North Shields? Renumbered 301. Maybe it could be coordinated with the 22 between Newcastle and Wallsend?
(14 Jan 2022, 12:39 am)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Could the 1 terminate in Newcastle, and be curtailed at North Shields? Renumbered 301. Maybe it could be coordinated with the 22 between Newcastle and Wallsend?
What about Marden Estate - Cullercoats - Whitley Bay section?
(13 Jan 2022, 11:36 pm)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Has the 309/310 ever had decent passenger numbers? There isn't much in Whitley Bay, North Shields or Blyth and not even too much at the Cobalt (but a lot of employment there, pre-covid). Could anything be done to boost numbers? X39 full route? Maybe X36, X38 and X39 instead of 306, 308 and 309 for quicker journey times?

I'd say the 309/310/311 have decent passenger numbers on the common section of the route (i.e Battle Hill to Newcastle). After that it varies I'd say, they can be busy, but then other times dead.

(14 Jan 2022, 12:39 am)OrangeArrow49 Wrote: Could the 1 terminate in Newcastle, and be curtailed at North Shields? Renumbered 301. Maybe it could be coordinated with the 22 between Newcastle and Wallsend?

I think the 1 is fine as it is. I don't see much value in coordinating it with the 22 as they take different routes for most of the way.

Curtailing it at North Shields isn't a good idea. Would leave areas without a route.