£44 million to be spent on transport in York this year

Large budget but little being invested in west York

The Council has revealed its transport investment budget for the new financial year.

£44.2 million has been allocated to a range of improvements although the vast majority of the budget has been earmarked for dualling the outer ring road (£21.3 million) and improvements to the railway station frontage (£13.5 million). Neither of the schemes will be completed during the year as extensive preparatory works are required.

£1.2 million will be spent on the ongoing programme of modernising traffic signals (this will include replacing the Front Street pelican crossing along with lights at 8 other locations across the City).

Residents of the west of the City will be disappointed to see that their neighbourhood has been snubbed when allocations from the pedestrian and cycling budget have been made. Not for the first-time investment, is being focused on the central and eastern parts of the City.

A welcome, but very modest, allocation has been made for bus shelter replacement (£100k). Many of the council owned shelters are looking very tatty now with a belated repainting programme proving to be “too little, too late” and failing to bring about a lasting improvement.  

Similarly, a £50,000 allocation for Public Rights of Way (PROW) structural repairs is long overdue.  Sadly, the budget will barely make a dent in the backlog of work need to stiles, signage, and repairs to flooded sections of path.

All in all then, a mixed picture.

Hopefully the highway maintenance allocations – which have still not been publicised – will be targeted at repairing the worst roads and paths many of which are located in west York.

Bus subsidies for hospital and Community Stadium services

A government subsidy of £83,000 is to be used to support to bus service links in the City

Rawcliffe Bar Park and Ride – Hospital
See the source image

This service has run into financial difficulties as bus patronage fell during the pandemic.  The service is used by staff and patients to access the Hospital, while avoiding congestion and parking charges, in the Wigginton Road area. The subsidy only lasts until the end of March 2021 so what happens to the service after that is unclear.

Originally it was hoped that the link would reduce car usage in and near the City centre.

Community Stadium
See the source image

Tonight sees what may be the first game for York City at the Community Stadium.

It will be a behind closed doors event.

With the National League North likely to be abandoned before the end of the month, it may also prove to be the last football match there until late summer.

£63,000 has been allocated for new bus service links to the stadium. Although there would be little point in introducing such links while the ban on spectators remains, they would be a welcome addition when things return to “normal”.  

Hopefully the government will extend the availability of the subsidy so it can be used during the 2021/22 financial year.

The first to benefit may be York Knights fans who hope that limited attendances might be permitted during the latter part of their campaign which starts in March.

Council bus service subsidy decisions

Railway station transformation gets go ahead

Work can begin this Autumn to create a fitting gateway to York after plans to transform the railway station entrance planning committee approved.

The plans to modernise the arrival to the station include removing Queen Street bridge, which hasn’t been needed since trains stopped passing under it in the 1960s. Removing the bridge will create space for vastly improved access for all modes of transport while revealing hidden sections of the city’s historic walls.

The scheme has been developed by the Council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Network Rail and LNER. 

The plans will change and improve the entrance to the railway station in order to:

  • keep vehicles and pedestrians apart
  • make it easier to change between modes of transport
  • create new public spaces and a more pedestrian-friendly experience
  • create an improved setting for the City Walls and other heritage buildings in the area
(more…)

Real time bus information reaches suburbs

Pleased to see that information screens, which indicate when the next bus will arrive, have finally reached Westfield.

They are common in other parts of the City

A screen has recently been installed at a stop on Tudor Road.

We hope that the programme will soon extend to cover busy stops like the ones on Green Lane and Foxwood Lane.

Still its some progress at a time when public transport services are facing huge pressures as a result of the pandemic

Coronavirus York updates; 15th January 2021

Deaths

ONE additional death announced by the York Hospital Trust today. The fatality occurred on Wednesday.

Test results

ONE HUNDRED and NINETEEN (119) new positive test results announced today. Brings total to 9841

Infection rate continues to decline in the City.

Rate /100k population is now 603.49. Trending down to 500 early next week.

There was a reduction of 114 cases compared to previous days figure.

That is a big improvement but still some way to go before we get back to pre Christmas levels.

Case numbers are continuing to reduce at all levels (City, county, regional and national)

Hospitals

As of 12th January there were 156 Coronavirus patients occupying beds at the York Hospital Trust.

Of these, 6 were in intensive care.

Neighbourhoods

10th January – the latest date on which data was validated – saw reductions in infection levels in many neighbourhoods.

More are now showing in the “blue” category – indicating that they have an infection rate below 400.

There was a reduction in cases in the Westfield area but a small increase in Woodthorpe comparing one day’s figures with the previous.

Residents will be hoping to see a sustained reduction in case levels, in west and north York in particular, next week.

Vaccinations

Across the United Kingdom 3,234,946 people have now had their first dose of vaccine. 443,234 have received their second dose.

Over 300,000 vaccinations are now taking place each day.

No local data has yet been published by the government. The most recent NHS figures (14th Jan) for the regions are

Vaccination centre parking and buses

A new regional vaccination centre is being set up at Askham Bar. It is an extension of the existing facility there and will have extended opening hours

Askham Bar vaccination centre being expanded

First York have issued the following statement about the impact that the centre may have on its services

Askham Bar Park & Ride to help users of new Covid vaccine centre

A section of parking spaces at Askham Bar Park & Ride, operated by First York in partnership with City of York Council, will be cordoned off from Monday 18 January to help users arriving for appointments at a new Covid vaccination centre.

Disabled parking and electric charging points situated immediately behind the Park & Ride building are not affected and the site remains fully operational.

The opening of the vaccination facility, adjacent to the nearby Tesco store, means from today Service 3 buses will begin using the entrance and exit of the main public carpark at Askham Bar as the bus-only lane at the rear of the supermarket will be closed off to allow simpler traffic flow and access to the vaccination point. 

Service 3 will use the Moor Lane Car Park bus stop off the roundabout on the A1036 Tadcaster Road close to the Tesco store in both directions and will not use the Tesco Car Park stop. The change will remain in place until further notice.

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director of First York, said: “This is a minor alteration that won’t cause any delays for our customers and has been planned out carefully. It’s a further example of the close working relationship we have with the council and other partners in the city to help the community manage life in lockdown. It also demonstrates our joint approach with the council to support the tremendous effort to roll-out the vaccine which will provide a path out of the pandemic.”

He added: “Our drivers are there on the frontline, as they have been throughout the crisis, to ensure key workers and anyone making essential journeys can get where they need to be safely.

“Although we are carrying fewer passengers right now, it is important that everyone continues to wear a face covering properly for the whole time they are on the bus and use a cashless way to pay, if possible.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, City of York Council said: “It’s great to be playing our part and supporting the NHS with the space for this vaccination roll-out. I would like to encourage residents who have been contacted to attend a vaccination centre that this a safe, quick and easy process.

“As we continue to stay home and follow lockdown restrictions, is it vitally important that we maintain smooth public transport services for those who need them for essential journeys and for critical workers.”

First York drivers and other staff have been involved a variety of initiatives for communities across York during the crisis including hospital fundraising, council refuse collection, shopping and prescription pick-up and at the end of last year the company teamed up with Age UK York to support the elderly who have been isolated due to lockdown and Covid restrictions.

“It’s a testament to the attitude and passion of the team to do what they can to help York and local people through this situation and aid the recovery,” said Marc Bichtemann. 

Help and Advice

Yorkshire Water working on Askham Lane leak

Traffic lights are in operation on Askham Lane at its junction with Tedder Road. Yorkshire Water are attempting – not for the first time – to deal with a recurrent leak near the bus stop.

The lockdown restrictions mean there is little impact on traffic volumes which are very light (and most buses are running empty).

Bus shelter lets down new disabled centre

The condition of the bus shelter outside the spanking new disabled centre in Ascot Way is disgraceful.

Out of use for a year as it was taken over by a builders compound, the expectation had been that a new shelter would be erected before the Councils contractors left the site.

This hasn’t happened so it – and the nearby public noticeboard which was also damaged – remain as unfortunate reminders of poor planning

The bus shelter is rusty, panels are missing or loose, weeds cover the floor and the whole structure is filthy. Altogether a poor advert for public transport in York.

Nearby the council have invested in some tiny “entry” and “exit” signs for the centres car park. We doubt anyone will see them. It would be more effective to paint carriageway arrows to indicate the one way system.

The playground – for the use of children at the centre – has been completed.

Meanwhile the Council has now completely demolished the all weather multi user games area (MUGA) . There is still no sign of the promised replacement which was to have been erected on the Thanet Road Sports Area.

Bus shelters getting a coat of paint

Good to see some of the Councils bus shelters getting a much needed coat of paint. In contrast to the advertising shelters – which are generally kept clean and safe – many of the Councils shelters are dirty and neglected.

Some are overgrown with weeds and hedges.

Askham Lane bus shelter

Shelters are an important factor in making public transport an attractive option for travellers. They should be cleaned and repaired regularly

Number 4 bus returning to old route from Sunday

First York buses have announced a raft of changes to their services which will be implemented on Sunday.

Redundant bus stop on Tudor Road

Click here for new timetables

The changes will see the popular number 4 service revert to its old one way “loop” using Gale Lane, Front Street, Green Lane and Tudor Road.

The lack of a two way service on Green Lane and Tudor Road will disappoint some elderly residents who appreciated being able to travel easily to the village for shopping and other purposes.

Local Councillors promised to consult on the option of retaining the longer 2 way route via Acomb Green & Ridgeway which was introduced to accommodate the use of articulated buses. These former park and ride buses, are now being redeployed elsewhere.

We have heard nothing about the results of any consultation with passengers.

Future of number 4 bus service

UPDATE: WE HAVE HEARD FROM FIRST THAT THEY INTEND TO REVIEW THE WORKING OF THE NEW ROUTE IN SEPTEMBER.

Everyone knows that usage of bus services has reduced since the start of the pandemic. Some services are recovering passenger numbers more quickly than others.

Earlier in the week the York Council decided to continue its subsidy payments for concessionary travel (elderly and disabled passes) at historic levels despite the drop off in use.

That is the right decision if public transport is ever to become the first choice travel option for York residents

First York need to make their strategic intensions clear.

About 2 months ago they changed the route of the number 4 service on the Acomb village loop. For some time the service had used Gale Lane , Front Street, Green Lane and Tudor Road on a one way basis.

This is the route still currently shown on the First York web site timetable map (click)

First York web site map 29th Augst 2020

The alternative loop involves providing a two way service on Tudor Road/Green Lane. This is what is still in operation today. This route misses out the top section of Gale Lane.

However the flags at the bus stops in Tudor Road (east bound) do not show the number 4 stopping there. We think that is just an omission,.

Generally the return of a two way service in the Tudor Road area has been welcomed by local residents.

First should now confirm that the change will be permanent and that timetables, maps and bus stop signage will be amended accordingly.

Two way working on Tudor Road