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Goole + Howden Hopper bus service is proving to be a huge hit with passengers

Just two months on from its launch, the Goole Town Deal-funded Goole + Howden Hopper shuttle bus service is proving very popular with passengers, as well as boosting connectivity in and around Goole and between local transport hubs.

In its first month of operation, almost 3,000 passengers made use of the service. More than 2,000 of these passengers paid the standard £1 flat fee, there were 589 concessions and a further 101 people paid £5 for a weekly ticket, giving them unlimited use.

In June, as awareness of the new service increased further, the total number of passengers jumped to almost 4,500, with 3,281 people paying the standard £1 flat fee, 966 concessions and 136 £5 weekly tickets sold. These weekly tickets were used 723 times in total.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with many passengers praising the friendly, helpful and flexible drivers from Sweyne Coaches, the local company that operates the service on behalf of Goole Town Deal.

A quick poll among users travelling on the Hopper on a weekday in late June suggests that people of all ages and from all walks are life are using the new service for a wide variety of reasons. Among the passengers on board that day were commuters, students, pensioners and families, who said that they use the bus for everything from shopping and days or evenings out to commuting to and from work or school and accessing local train stations.

Rachel, who lives in Airmyn and was travelling into Goole with her young Grandson, said that the service is a ‘lifeline’ for her elderly parents, who also live in the village, explaining: “My Dad has dementia and the Hopper allows my parents to pop into Goole to do their shopping or just have a coffee in one of the cafes to get them out of the house for a while. My husband and I have also used it to enjoy a night out, and my Grandson loves it. The drivers are smashing.”

Andy and Carolyn, who live on a holiday park site near Howden Station, said that they regularly use the service to travel into either Goole or Howden to do their shopping and enjoy evenings out.

Carolyn added: “For those of us who live on the holiday park, there wasn’t a bus service at all previously so lots of us are making use of it. I hope it continues after the initial two years.”

A 12-year-old who uses the bus to travel to school most days said: “I love getting the Hopper bus to school and it means my mum doesn’t have to drive me everyday.”

Chris, of Howden, said he uses the bus to travel into Goole to do his shopping and to access the train services on offer at the stations in both Goole and Howden, adding: “It’s cheap and very regular, and the links between the stations at Goole and Howden are good.”

Craig said that he recently used the bus to enjoy Goole’s bars and restaurants in the evening, explaining: “I used the Hopper service to get to Goole, from Howden, for an evening leaving do. The service was prompt to the minute, clean and had a friendly, capable driver. This is just what Goole and Howden needed. I will be using it again and again.”

Helen, also of Howden, said that she enjoys using the service to visit Goole at least twice a week to do her shopping or enjoy lunch out. She said: “It is absolutely marvellous, I can’t praise it enough. Previously I either had to wait for three hours for the next bus or only had 45 minutes between services, so it’s wonderful to be able to get regular services. Today I’ve come in to Goole to get fish and chips for my lunch.”

The frequency of the service is also something that commuters have welcomed, with several passengers pointing out that, previously, they could travel into Goole in the mornings for work but couldn’t get home because the last bus left well before they finished at 5pm.

Sara, who works as a cleaner, said that she now uses the Hopper to travel between her cleaning jobs in Goole, Howden and the surrounding villages because it’s cheaper than driving. She carries her cleaning products and equipment with her in a rucksack, hopping on and off the bus as required.

Emma, of Airmyn, said: “It’s brilliant and I’m starting to become a regular user. My four children are all using it too to meet up with their friends, using the £5 weekly ticket, which is great value. It will be really useful for them during the summer holidays.”

Bus driver Kath Davies said: “We get lots of young people using the bus to get to McDonalds, who previously had to walk up there, which must have been quite dangerous for them.

“We also get a lot of older ladies from Howden and the villages who are on their own and use the bus to access the coach trips that set off from Goole or enjoy going to see films and shows in Goole, which they’ve said is something that they wouldn’t have been able to do before.”

The Goole + Howden Hopper connects Goole Station with major employment sites on the outskirts of town and with Howden Station, which offers regular train services to York, Leeds and beyond, as well London. The aim of the new service is to make people’s onward journeys from Goole Station easier; provide local people with low-cost transport to key employment sites; encourage people to travel into Goole town centre for shopping and leisure activities; and make the town more attractive potential investors by improving transport connections for those travelling from major cities across the North of England and as far afield as London.

It’s provided by two Goole Town Deal-branded buses, each of which seats 19 people. They stop at Goole Station, Tom Pudding Way, Glews Garage, Airmyn, the War Memorial in Howden and Howden Station, operating between the hours of 6am and 11pm from Monday to Saturday to try to meet the transport needs of as many people as possible. A £1 flat rate ticket is available to all users of the new service, regardless of how far they’re traveling and the time of day, and a £5 weekly ticket offering unlimited use is also available

The Goole +Howden Hopper service is being funded by the Goole Town Deal programme as part of the £2.4 million Station Hub project, which aims to support Goole’s growth and an anticipated increase in the number of visitors to the town centre by creating an enhanced transport hub and arrival/departure experience at Goole Station. The project is being supported by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, whose officers have played a key role in the development of the new service. It will operate as a pilot project for two years to gauge whether there is sufficient demand and, if there is, to determine whether additional provision might be needed in the future.

One of eight projects to have been allocated a share of Goole Town Deal funding, the Station Hub scheme will create a more welcoming and attractive gateway to Goole town centre, becoming an important hub for pedestrian, cycle and public transport movements. Alongside the other seven Goole Town Deal-funded projects, an enhanced Station Hub will play an important role in helping to make Goole a more attractive and welcoming place to live, work, invest and enjoy leisure time.

  • To keep up to date with progress on the Station Hub project, as well as the other seven Goole Town Deal funded projects, visit www.gooletowndeal.co.uk. You can also follow Goole Town Deal on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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