Irony lost on Council as it downgrades its “green” specification for new park and ride contracts
Only a few days after the York Council leadership agreed to consider tenders for new park and ride services which do not include the use of ultra low emission vehicles on most routes, its existing electric fleet won a sustainability award. The service has been run in partnership with First from the sites at Poppleton and Monks Cross for the last couple of years.
Fears about the cost of replacement batteries, led the Councils Executive last week to downgrade its emission expectations when discussing a new contract specification for park and ride services in the City.
A contract for the new services attracted no tenders when it was advertised earlier in the year.
A media release for the Council today says, “York’s Park & Ride Scheme, which is run in partnership with First York and City of York Council, is setting the standard for other Park & Ride sites across the country, after scooping a prestigious accolade for its contribution to sustainable transport, at the North of England Transport Awards.
The North of England Transport Awards reward and encourage innovation and excellence and help disseminate the very best practice throughout the north of England, and this year, York’s Park & Ride scheme received the Contribution to Sustainable Transport Award.
In particular, First York was recognised for its wider commitment to providing greener travel for the region, with its fleet of electric vehicles, helping to reduce CO2 emissions in the city.
First York operates two fully electric Park & Ride routes at Poppleton Bar and Monks Cross, working in partnership with City of York Council and local bus manufacturer, Optare. The two schemes, which launched in 2014 (Poppleton Bar) and 2015 (Monks Cross), run 12 zero tailpipe emission electric vehicles, and were one of the first fully electric Park & Ride schemes in the UK”.
Speaking about the award win, and the First York electric vehicle fleet, Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, said: “We’re thrilled that the York Park & Ride Scheme has been praised at the prestigious North of England Transport Awards, and in particular, that our work to reduce the impact that our vehicles have on the city, has been recognised. We are constantly striving to introduce cleaner vehicles, improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, so this award win is a fantastic achievement.
“We operate 12 electric buses between the Poppleton Park & Ride, Monks Cross Park & Ride, and York City Centre, all of which deliver zero tail pipe emissions and support our local authority partners’ goal to reduce air pollution in the city. The electric vehicles are not only performing to a really high standard, but they are popular with our customers too, and we are proud to be setting the standard for other Park & Ride Schemes across the country.”
Cllr Ian Gillies, Executive Member for Transport and Planning at City of York Council, said: “We’re delighted that our Park & Ride service has won this award for sustainable transport. Over four-million passenger journeys are made on the service every year, making this one of the most used Park & Rides in the UK. As well as reducing congestion on York’s roads, the fully electric buses replace existing diesel buses and therefore represent a further step towards improving air quality in the city.”
Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, Optare, said: “We are very pleased that our award-winning electric buses have been recognised once again for the important role they play as an efficient and sustainable transport solution, which actively improves air quality in our towns and cities. Optare is also particularly proud to have been able to work with First York and the City of York Council to supply buses manufactured locally at our production facility in Sherburn, Elmet.”
Poppleton Bar and Monks Cross are two of the six Park & Ride sites in York that provide frequent, good value and accessible services, in order to help reduce the number of cars entering the city.