MORE peak time buses to the south and a better evening service to Ramsey have been announced as part of the latest revisions to the island’s bus timetable.
The latest modifications were approved earlier this month by the Road Transport Licensing Committee and will come into effect from Monday, January 9.
A need to reduce costs will also mean a reduction in frequency of some services which typically attract few passengers.
Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Tim Crookall MHK said: ‘We are trying to tailor bus services to meet the demands of the island’s bus passengers while reducing the cost burden on the taxpayers.
‘I am pleased that buses to the south will run more often in the peak periods and that the evening service between Douglas and Ramsey will be enhanced.’
The changes will see the Noble’s Hospital service run every 20 minutes rather than every 15 as was previously the case.
Public transport director Ian Longworth said the original service when the hospital was built was every 30 minutes and since its increase to every 15 minutes there had been no significant increase in passengers using it, hence the latest change.
The service will operate by diverting one journey on service 5 between Douglas and Peel, one journey on service 23/25, which operates via Saddlestone, and one journey on route 3, the Douglas to Ramsey service.
More early evening buses will be seen on routes 1, 2, 11 and 12 from Douglas to the south of the island, to provide one extra journey per hour.
At the beginning and the end of the working day some services on routes 1 and 2 will be changed to routes 11 and 12.
The number 3 bus serving Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey will extend its route to take in Noble’s Hospital once per hour and an extra number 3 bus will run at 7.40pm from Douglas, filling an evening gap on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
An additional bus between Douglas and Laxey will fill the present gap between the 5.40pm and 6.40pm services on weekdays.
Passenger numbers have increased on the half hourly service 3 and this has had a knock-on effect on the hourly service 13 between Old Laxey, Douglas Promenade and the hospital.
Bus Vannin is therefore going to operate this service between Banks Circus and Old Laxey during shopping periods only. The hourly extension of the route 3 to the hospital replaces this link.
In Ramsey, Claughbane Estate will be served by the northern parish routes rather than by service 3. Frequency of the Bride and Andreas services 16 to 20 will reduce to match demand but the Lezayre Estate service will be direct in both directions to and from Ramsey Cottage Hospital so passengers no-longer have to change bus in one direction.
At off-peak times, the Maughold service will be integrated with the Bride and Andreas service, saving one off-peak bus.
It means there will be two buses a day, instead of three, to Maughold.
And the hourly service to Andreas and Bride will be reduced by two journeys.
Currently, on Saturdays the Maughold services typically carry a total of four passengers on three journeys.
Although well used during the tourist season, buses between Peel and Ramsey attract fewer passengers during autumn and winter so from January buses 5 and 6 will reduce to an hourly service in off peak periods.
The number 9 currently serves Ballabrooie from 7am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Despite its route being extended to the hospital it is the weakest performer of all Douglas local services and as a result will run a shopping hours Saturday service only.
Other services which are reduced to reflect limited demand include the 23 and 25 (Victoria Road) services. Service 29 serving Port Soderick, will see a reduction in off-peak journeys from five to two days per week.
A revised timetable and a leaflet summarising the changes is available from the Welcome Centre in Douglas Sea Terminal and online at www.iombusandrail.info
Bus Vannin currently receives an annual government subvention of £6.5 million.
The changes are expected to reduce operating costs of £300,000 as well as capital spending.
There will be four fewer drivers, which has been achieved without redundancies.
Currently, there are 70,000 passenger journeys a week.