East Yorkshire’s new EastRider X5

Sunday 11th July 2021

As January’s lockdown began at the start of 2021 the Go-Ahead owned East Yorkshire bus company revamped its bus service between Goole and Hull creating a new fast limited stop route X5 operating between the two towns to compliment the stopping service.

It sounded like a great initiative to grow the market and I’ve been wanting to pay a visit and see how it’s doing so as last week marks it’s six month anniversary it seemed a good time to pop to Goole and give it a ride.

Just one vehicle operates the route and with an end-to-end journey time not much more than an hour, depending on the time of day, the timetable offers five return journeys on Mondays to Fridays with an early peak hour departure from Goole at 07:05 arriving into Hull at 08:15 and an evening peak return from Hull to Goole at 17:30 obviously aimed at commuters. Other Goole departures after the 07:05 are at 09:45, 12:15, 15:45 and 1845 ideal for shopping and leisure travel. The other four departures from Hull aside from the 17:30 are at 06:00, 08:40, 11:00 and 14:30.

The Saturday timetable skips the early morning journeys and there’s no service on Sunday.

From Gilberdyke, about a third of the way between Goole and Hull, East Yorkshire also introduced an hourly stopping service to Hull numbered 55 as part of the revamp. This takes about an hour and a quarter compared to the X5 which does it in less than half the time at 39 minutes in the off-peak. Three journeys on route 55 during the off-peak extend to Goole and interwork with route 88 to Rawcliffe Bridge in between trips.

The vehicle used on route X5 is an ex National Express spec’d Volvo B9R Caetano Levante in a very smart livery using the East Yorkshire EastRider brand and highlighting places served on the route.

Bikes are carried in the under floor luggage compartment if needed.

The interior still has the National Express specified seats which are perfectly comfortable for the journey.

There’s access for wheelchairs from the front nearside if required, although on a service of this kind I’m not sure how practical it will be to arrange the boarding and alighting.

Another downside of high floor coaches I always find is when the full windscreen sunblind is pulled down for the driver’s benefit sitting at a lower level, for passengers on the high floor section, it usually blocks a forward view, although on this vehicle I noticed a handy hole had been cut to allow a partial view ahead.

The bus picks up outside Goole railway station (aka Goole Interchange) and aside from the car, it’s the train which offers competition with the X5 having a time advantage with a journey time of as little as 28 minutes for the hourly service that just stops at Brough and up to 41 minutes another hourly service that also stops at Gilberdyke, Ferriby and Hessle.

A day return on the train including peak travel is £15.20 and off peak is £12.90 compared to £12.50 on the X5 which also covers travel on all East Yorkshire’s buses as a day ticket. Concessionary passholders travel free during the off-peak on the bus.

The journey time on the X5 from Elloughton and Brough into Hull is a handy 24 and 20 minutes respectively (five minutes longer for the morning peak journey) which offers a good alternative to using a car, as East Yorkshire’s Director Ben Gilligan pointed out in a tweet, although the more frequent route 55 takes a longer 48 and 44 minutes.

From Gilberdyke there’s a cheaper day ticket for £7.40 which is also available in East Yorkshire’s new Flexi5 or Flexi20 bundle of tickets which can be used as required, one day at a time.

Five tickets cost £31.60 which is £6.32 per day and twenty tickets cost £120.60 bringing the daily cost down to £6.03. The rail anytime return from Gilberdyke to Hull is £11.80 with a FlexiSeason (any eight days within 28) at £82.60 working out at £10.32 per day. The bus therefore offers quiet a competitive advantage over the train from Gilberdyke and places closer to Hull.

There’s an attractive leaflet to promote EastRider X5 containing the full timetables and useful clear maps showing where the bus stops in each town and village along the route.

I caught the 12:15 departure from Goole on Tuesday, the bus having arrived from its previous journey on time at midday but with no one on board.

We left on time and took four passengers who all got off in Howden, the first community served on the route, about 15 minutes north of Goole.

The B1230 through Howden is quite narrow but my driver managed to steer the large coach through as motorists had to give way and let us through. This cost us a couple of minutes delay.

We continued to Gilberdyke with just me on board and the next passenger boarded at 12:54 at South Cave. We picked up a mother and young daughter at East Yorkshire’s bus garage in Elloughton and a couple more in Brough including an elderly lady who struggled to board the steep steps.

The mother and daughter got off at the Royal Infirmary as we approached Hull city centre where a waiting passenger tried to board but was told by the driver he didn’t “have a fare stage for this stop” so she’d need to catch the bus behind – the service is advertised as being limited stop.

We arrived into Hull’s Paragon Interchange a couple of minutes late and my two fellow passengers still on board alighted including the lady who took the steps very gingerly.

The coach uses the bays at the far end of the Paragon Interchange used by express coaches rather than the bays used by bus services, which means you have to know the difference between an X5 and a 55 when returning.

Route X5 is a great initiative and let’s hope after 19th July its potential for attracting commuters, students, shoppers and people wanting a quick bus journey into Hull to spend a few hours will be attracted to it. The frequency is obviously judiciously low to get maximum efficiency out of the one vehicle but the timetable does have logic to it. I hope its second six months will prove successful.

While in Hull I always like to take a look at the Paragon Interchange as nowhere else can match the scale of bus snd coach departures conveniently co-located with the adjacent platforms for rail departures.

It’s good to see East Yorkshire have maintained their presence in the Travel Centre alongside TransPennine Express making it one of the few integrated travel offices in the country. Even better it has an abundant supply of timetable leaflets.

What a shame Stagecoach withdrew from the adjacent space meaning there’s no leaflets covering Stagecoach’s bus routes in Hull any more.

The real time departure signs dotted down the concourse are now working (on my last visit pre-pandemic there’d been out of action for a considerable time) but I noticed up coming departures are shown over four rotating screens which makes for a frustrating wait if the screen you want has just disappeared, until it comes round again.

I’m also never quite sure the haphazard queuing system for each departure bay means the best use is made of the concourse space, and it’s a shame there are so few seats – only a couple for the lucky people at the front of each queue. Not very good for elderly passengers unsteady on their feet.

There’s a ‘where to catch your bus’ poster and another giving details of departure times but I noticed East Yorkshire have sensibly also displayed traditional style timetables on the departure doors at each bay.

As you can see I caught the 13:40 departure on the East Yorkshire and Stagecoach jointly operated route 350 (sometimes branded FastCat) which runs from Hull to Scunthorpe over the Humber Bridge.

It was rather rainswept on Tuesday afternoon as we crossed south but we soon arrived at Barton-Upon-Humber where I alighted as I had another plan to travel onwards to Scunthorpe, which I’ll tell you about in the next post.

Roger French

8 thoughts on “East Yorkshire’s new EastRider X5

Add yours

  1. I’m not convinced by the livery, which looks a bit 1990s. The main colour seems to be the yellow, which is not reflected by the leaflets, especially at nose in bus terminals. The X does not stand out on the livery which is important given the point you raise about the service departing from a different part of the Interchange.
    The service is an interesting attempt to add something, so good luck to EY.


  2. Of course Stagecoach Leeds to Hull X62 also provided an express service between Goole (not town centre) and Hull. It ceased because of Covid, but it’s not clear whether it will return or not.


  3. I’m not completely convinced by the X5, at least not in its current form – I am worried that they are concentrating on the wrong market.

    They are not giving any serious competition to the train between Goole and Hull – not when the train runs twice an hour (even if unevenly spaced) and takes 30–40 minutes compared with the bus running 5 or 6 times a day and taking an hour – although it may be a more attractive prospect for people travelling from Howden to Hull as the station there is a long way out from the town and the trains are not as frequent. With the train being little more expensive unless you are buying a season ticket or travelling on an ENCTS pass, it looks unlikely that they will be selling many tickets on the bus. (If Northern Rail were still using Pacers then the more comfortable journey might have been a selling point, but as they are using Turbostars on that route now, it doesn’t apply any more!)

    But in the meantime, they are neglecting passengers who have no alternative to the bus. Passengers travelling between Howden and Goole have a reduced service compared with the hourly service they used to have a few years ago, and even fewer options if they are travelling to the hospital rather than the town centre. Passengers travelling between Goole and The Caves have very limited options, especially on a Saturday. People living in Eastrington have a rough deal on Saturday, with just two buses to Goole in the morning and two buses back in the afternoon, but no buses going the other way to Hull in the morning and back in the afternoon (and while they do have a station, the train service is equally poor).

    Maybe I’ll be proved wrong when passenger numbers start to return to normal, and they will have found a way to market the service well enough to draw people away from an ostensibly much more attractive train service, but with the piecemeal timetable and stopping arrangements I wonder how many people will be put off by the complexity of the service.


  4. There’s a dilemma here, isn’t there . . . is it right to run a limited-stop coach service in what appears to be direct competition with the train?

    The train is more frequent, but stops only at well-spaced stations. The coach will stop more frequently, if not at every road junction, but is slower. IF there are local passengers travelling, then the coach should develop its own market. If there simply are NO local passengers travelling, and in fact the rail stations are well situated in their localities, then the train will always win out.

    It is easy to point towards villages that have a poor bus service, and say that a better service should be provided, but hang on . . . if a more comprehensive bus timetable was provided, are there in fact enough potential passengers available? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have local knowledge here, but this dilemma is replicated across the country . . . is it worth trialing an expansion of a twice-daily rural bus route, and at what point does the trial get evaluated, and by what criteria?

    We saw, under Rural Bus Grant in the early 2000’s, routes develop that were simply wrong; they were never evaluated and only withdrawn 15 years later when the there was no money left for “vanity” projects. Most of them should have been withdrawn after 2-3 years, and would’ve been if they were commercial initiatives.

    Eastrington (as an example) gets one peak-hour train to/from Hull, and 2/3 buses each weekday . . . not good, but probably adequate for the number of potential passengers available (it looks to be a small village only on GoogleEarth). Would an hourly bus service attract enough new passengers? I doubt it. There must be more deserving places . . .


  5. DRM or Pre Book Service

    The ASA is considering investigating the advertising of Demand Responsive service as it considers that many are not as described

    It is an issue similar to what happened with Broadband with most ISP’s marking the services as delivering speeds that would not be achieved

    The first problem appears to be that there is no real definition of what Demand Responsive means although most peoples expectation would be that you should be able to book a trip to meet your needs and at short notice. Most current service marketed as Demand Responsive appear to full into the category of Pre Book service rather than demand responsive

    I suspect like with Broadband a compromise solution will be reached so that say to be Demand Responsive if you book at least say 1 hour in advance 90% of the booking have to be accepted if not the service has to be marketed as a Pre Book service


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