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THE SHOPPING TRIP BUS

INTEGRATED TRANSPORT

Hull city centre to Ulceby and back Late morning/afternoon

My mission was to take a microwave oven bought in Hull city centre to Ulceby, just south of the Humber before returning to town to hook up with friends. The journey began in the city centre at 11.30am. I reached Hull Travel Centre (a Portakabin) at 11.40 to enquire when the next bus to Ulceby would be.

'Ulceby . . . where's that?' was the initial response. Staff avidly searched their timetables then a phone call established that the next bus was the 350 at 13.25. It was due to arrive at Barton upon Humber at 13.50 and a connecting bus would depart at 13.52, arriving in Ulceby at 14.14.

Waited the 1 hour 55 minutes. East Yorkshire bus arrived and departed on time. I was particularly impressed by the storage space - perfect for the microwave box. Had a comfortable ride over the Humber Bridge and into Barton upon Humber.

At Barton the connecting bus arrived immediately. As I got on I entered an instant time warp! Bus was T-registered . . . from last time around. My Humber Coachlink connection was a circa 1978 coach with orange and brown clad seating. There was no storage space so I had to perch the microwave on a seat.

Arrived at Ulceby at 14.25 - 11 minutes late mainly because the bus company seemed not to have built time for picking up passengers into the timetable.

My return journey to Hull was rather unsuccessful. The 15.23 (equally ageing) bus arrived in Ulceby ten minutes late. The driver then proclaimed: 'Now then, I'm lost' and began asking passengers for directions! When I asked him what it was like to drive this route, he said: 'The only way to make it on time is to drive hell for leather. But then you get the women with kiddies complaining, so you can't win.'

The 10 minute delay meant we missed our 15.53 connection at Barton by ten minutes which left us waiting a further hour for the next bus. Everyone complained vigorously to the bus driver who agreed that the service was flawed.

Exasperated by the hold up and anxious not to be late, I gave up on public transport and shared a cab to town.

Georgina Whittaker

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