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.