David and I caught the train in Edinburgh. Terry caught the train in Yarm.
Our ultimate destination: Systex HQ in Hull – Holderness Road.
Sprits were high when our journeys coincided at beautiful York Station. Terry, our carless CEO had his fold up bike and rucksack and kindly bought us a coffee.
We boarded the 10:18 Northern Trains service to Hull. The toilet lock was broken and an awkward cup of very milky coffee, which had earlier spilled its contents, relentlessly spread across the carriage floor – people picking up their feet and bags as if someone had heated the floor to 2000 degrees. But we were undaunted in our pursuit of Holderness Road and meetings to design the future of transport.
As we arrived in Hull we made a challenge: ‘who could get to the office first?’ David and I via the many buses which travel from Hull Interchange down Holderness Road – or Terry on his fold-up bike? 1.3 miles.
A friendly start: Terry at the ready
I’ll cut to the chase: it was a whitewash.
When we arrived, Terry was looking sleek and cheerful: bike folded up, laptop folded out and half way through a coffee. To his credit he didn’t gloat. David and I had a little sulk.
Of course a bike would have an advantage over a short distance, but the lowlights of our bus journey were all about starts and ends.
The start: Hull interchange handles approximately 1,700 bus departures per day from 38 bays, but how best to find the right bus?
I usually scan down the Bays peering at the calling points as they scroll underneath the static bus number and destination board at the Bay. But I am never sure which one leaves first.
We should have downloaded the Traveline app which does tell us which Bay the bus will be leaving from. Certainly the TV monitor displays were not massively helpful and the line of Bay numbers was a bit overwhelming.
Bays Bays everywhere but not a bus to find This did not help us!
The end: the biggest barrier was communicating to the driver where on Holderness Road we should get off. In the past I have said “Wilton Street” and “The mirror shop” to reasonable levels of success, though sadly the mirror shop has closed down and it now sells Industrial Workwear which is a bit more of a mouthful. Traveline tells us the stop is “Drypool”. Google Maps tells us it’s “The Green Man”.
We asked the driver in the order listed above. Looking increasingly agitated when he said he didn’t know Drypool, he told us: “I’m not a taxi driver”. True.
But “Green Man Pub…you know this end of Holderness Road” was ultimately met with a shrug and a ticket.
En-route we accepted our upcoming defeat. As we alighted, we jauntily asked him what we should ask for next time. Turns out we should ask just with a shrug. (The bus stop actually says Wilton Street.)
Fellow passengers anxiously watch the race
CEO 1 : David & Steve 0. An easy win. In the industry we talk a lot about seamless travel and making the door to door journey simple. It is at the mode changes that things can be difficult: ticketing, information. The bus service from Hull Interchange to Holderness Road (and back) is excellent. In a congested City at peak time, the bus lanes also makes the bus the quickest motorised mode. However, getting the detailed information out there in a consistent manner so all systems and drivers know where we want to go would really help – and maybe open up the service to more users (especially the more unfamiliar traveller).
Still don’t think we would have beaten Terry though.
Dr Steve Cassidy – Viaqqio