In September the current operator of services 3A and 12, First York, announced that they planned to withdraw service 3A (the 7-day per week evening Askham Bar Park & Ride service) and part of service 12 (specifically the section between Foxwood Lane and Alness Drive) as they were “no longer commercially viable”.
The Council agreed to subsidise the services until the end of the financial year, while seeking tenders for their continuation.
The cost of continuing the services is £24,000 for the 3A and £65,000 for the 12.
The Council is being recommended to use part of a government funded bus service operators grant (worth £150,416 in total) to subside these two services. The Council already allocates over £700,000 a year for bus service subsidies (not including the cost of the free pensioners bus pass, which is funded from central taxation).
The Council is banking on the two services being more popular in the future and therefore requiring a lower subsidy.
It says demand for service 3A may increase when the planned paid overnight parking service at Askham Bar Park & Ride site comes into action in spring 2020 and that demand for service 12 may increase when the LNER Community Stadium (at the other end of the route) opens in 2020.
Improvements in other bus services
Through the “Funding for Local Bus Services 2020-21” scheme, the council has the opportunity to bid for £83.5k one-off funding in order to achieve one or more of the following objectives (which must deliver an increase in services and therefore the 12 and 3A services are not eligible as they currently exist):
- “to improve current local bus services – for instance increasing evening or weekend frequencies, or supporting additional seasonal services in tourist areas.
- “to restore lost bus routes where most needed to ensure people have access to public transport services.
- “to support new bus services, or extensions to current services, to access e.g. new housing, employment opportunities, healthcare facilities etc.”
The funding must be used for the provision of local bus services- i.e. time tabled services open to any member of the public upon payment of a fare.
The funding available in York is £83.5k – equivalent to the operating costs for a single bus for approximately 8 months. It would not therefore have a major impact on service levels.
The City has submitted a bid for “a package of enhancements to routes which support York’s evening economy”