Cashless bus travel/car parking on way?

Passengers may soon be able to travel on York’s buses without the need to fumble around for cash or commit in advance to expensive season tickets.
York’s major bus company are looking to trial the use of charge card enabled terminals which will allow debit card holders to “touch on, touch off” when they use bus services.
The system would allow regular users to be given a discount with daily and weekly ceiling charges introduced to encourage bus use.
The system would also facilitate so called “through ticketing” with no need to purchase a “ticket” for the second leg of an extended journey.
In many ways the new system – which exploits the new technology being rolled out in the latest charge cards and mobile phones – replicates the convenience of the Oyster card system which has been in use in London for some years, although no separate card purchase is necessary.
For operators the new system has the advantage of speeding up boarding times and reducing the amount of cash carried on the buses.
York could become a trial site for the system if the local Council co operates. A similar system is already working in Singapore.
The same technology could also revolutionise payments for car parking. Here drivers would touch their card when arriving and this would – like payments by mobile phone – activate their car registration number on the parking wardens hand held screen. When leaving, motorists would “touch off”.
The advantage of using this system in car parks is that it would be more flexible allowing drivers to stay for as long as they wished and then to pay for the actual time used. It avoids the costly installation of pay on exit barriers and addresses the reliability problems inherent in such mechanical systems.

York Council Housing the best

Tenant satisfaction with Council housing in York is higher than in other parts of the country.
In a postal poll of tenants undertaken in January – the last to test the effectiveness of the Liberal Democrat Councils policies – 86% of tenants said that overall they were satisfied with Council housing services in York.
Council housing in York was substantially better than in other local authority areas on a range of indices. These include overhead costs, the time taken to complete repairs, the quality of repairs, insulation standards, average re-let times, rent costs, the level of rent arrears and satisfaction with complaint handling.
The main area, where tenants thought that the Council needed to improve, was in bringing complaints about anti social behaviour to a satisfactory conclusion.

Report it!

Its reached the time of year when bushes over growing footpaths can become an increasing hazard.
In addition tree detritus can be knocked or blown onto the highway posing a hazard for cyclists (see below on Tadcaster Road). It is worth taking the time to report issues like this to the local Council at
Can be done 24/7.

Tadcaster Road

The “Big Read” and Acomb Explore Library

Full marks to the City’s Libraries team as they have come up with an outstanding programme to cover the summer months.
First off is the “Big City read” – launched this evening – which they describe as:
“Celebrating an Edwardian Summer with our 2011 Big City Read”.
“Organised by City of York Libraries, York’s Big City Read is an annual event where everyone comes together to read the same book and then share in events celebrating the chosen novel. This year we’re asking everyone to read Andrew Martin’s ‘The Lost Luggage Porter’, an exciting detective drama starring Jim Stringer set in a dangerous Yorkshire underworld.
The Big City Read programme offers a fantastic array of events designed to celebrate York’s railway heritage and capture the vibrancy of York’s Edwardian past. There will be something for all ages.
Copies of ‘The Lost Luggage Porter’ will be available from all libraries from Wednesday 20 July, or come and collect your book from York City Football Club vs. Bolton Wanderers at Bootham Crescent on Saturday 6 August. Also, look out for copies when out and about across the city”.

Big City Read
More details can be found at this web site
while the author of the book can be found here:
Explore Acomb Library Learning Centre Programme
Tickets and further information available from Explore Acomb Library Learning Centre
Tel. 01904 552651 email
Railway Walk
Friday 22nd July, 11.00am
Friday 2nd September, 11.00am Walk your way through York’s railway history on this walk from Explore Acomb Library to Explore York library taking in the site of the old carriage works and York station. You will be guided by a trained walk leader with a display of railway archives at the end of the walk. Suitable for everyone
Professor Turnkey’s Clockwork Circus
Friday 29th July 2.30 – 3.30 p.m.
All sessions are for 5 – 11 year olds Tickets cost £2 per person or £5 per family (a maximum of 2 adults and 3 children). Roll up, roll up and marvel at Professor Turnkey’s Amazing Clockwork Circus. We have clockwork performers that you will never have seen before!
A Question of Crime Quiz
Wednesday 3rd August Time 7.00pm
Price £3.00 (YorkCard) or £4.00 Do you know your Morse from your Poirot? Test your knowledge and pit your wits against other readers. A quiz covering a wide range of crime writing. Come as a team (max 6) or join a team on the night.
Be a Cheerleader!
Thursday 4th August 2.00pm – 3.00pm
All sessions are for 5 – 8 year olds. Tickets cost £2 per person or £5 per family (a maximum of 2 adults and 3 children). Have you ever seen cheerleaders performing at a match and wanted to join them? Here is your chance to have a go. No equipment needed. Just come in comfy clothes.
Edward Marston & Judith Cutler
Wednesday 10th August Time 7.00pm
Price £4.00 (YorkCard) or £5.00 An evening with Edward Marston and his wife, fellow crime author Judith Cutler. Edward Marston is the hugely successful Inspector Colbeck Railway Detective series, The Restoration mysteries and the historical adventures of Captain Rawson Judith Cutler is the author of five series of Birmingham-based crime novels. Her latest book ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is a Linda Townsend mystery.
Join the Crime Team, with Steve Skidmore
Friday 12th August 11.00 – 12 noon
Suitable for 8 – 12 year olds £2 per person or £5 per family (maximum 2 adults and 3 children). Join author Steve Skidmore as he tells us all about his new series “Crime Team”. Help him to solve the clues and crack the mystery. We need you there. Only you can prevent disaster!
Ask a policeman!
Tuesday 16th August Time 2.30pm – 3.30pm
Suitable for 5-11 year olds Price £2 per person £5 per family (max 2 adults 3 children) Meet North Yorkshire Police, and hear all about their work. Get up close to a police car, see the equipment the police use and ask everything you have always wanted to know about the police.
The Art of the Railway Poster: a practical workshop
Friday 19th August 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Price £7.00 (YorkCard) or £8.50 Come along and have a go at producing your own poster in the style of an old Railway advertising poster, using a selection of media including acrylic paints. All materials will be provided.
Getting it Together: An evening with PJ Quinn
Wednesday 24th August 7.00pm – 8.30pm
£3.50 (Yorkcard) or £5.00 Come and meet the mother and daughter team who write as PJ Quinn. Jo and Pauline will be talking about how they wrote Foul Play and sharing tips on how to have fun writing together, despite the occasional email sulk!

Council chaos

In the space of only a few hours, the council has changed its proposals for a 20 mph speed limit trial.
Instead of Bishopthorpe the council now intends to trail its approach in the much smaller village of Murton. Here residents have already petitioned for a lower speed limit although, with average speeds at around 32 mph, it is likely most of the residents will be keener to have the existing 30 mph limit enforced when faced with the reality that a 20 mph limit may be ignored by many drivers. The top speed recently recorded through the village was 68mph.
Labour are now trying to include most of Bishopthorpe Road in the South Bank 20 mph speed limit area. (Bizarrely the shopping area – where 20 mph is certainly a high enough limit – falls outside the proposed trial zone).
This is contrary to the promises made by Labour at the local elections when they said that the main arterial roads into the City would not be included in their 20 mph plans. So they really must now intend to have a general 20 mph limit.
There is no clue yet as to how the Police – who are responsible for enforcing speed limits and who have resolutely said that any 20 mph limit must be “self enforcing” – will react. What is clear is that they struggle to enforce the existing 30 mph limit in some urban streets. Demands for more enforcement action in “residential areas” could mean even less time tracking down the habitual “speeders” who ignore any limit that is imposed.
Elsewhere, the Council has been forced to call a special meeting to discuss the Union Terrace car/coach park sale controversy. Labour have responded by threatening to agree the sale later on the same day at the Council meeting (4th August). Presumably common sense will prevail shortly and a way of continuing the parking provision and giving St Johns the opportunity to expand will be found.
Labour’s leaders were probably hoping that the new development could have provided a new public access, City centre, swimming pool, but with that clearly not viable, their enthusiasm for the sale seems to be waning.

20 mph speed limit for York?

It looks like Labour are going ahead with their plan to introduce a 20 mph speed limit in York. A report due to be approved by the Council’s “Cabinet” tomorrow (18/7) says,
“We will start by putting in place a programme to introduce 20mph limits in residential areas and minimise associated street clutter. By the end of 2011/12 we will implement 20mph speed limits in a ‘first phase’ of residential areas. Following this we will roll out 20mph limits across the rest of the city’s residential areas by 2013”. No attempt is made to define a “residential area”.
York already has 20 mph speed limits near schools and at other potential accident black spots. 20 mph zones have been introduced in Fishergate and the Milner Street areas with a much larger South Bank zone also scheduled for implementation this year.
The intention had been to assess the impact that these trials had on accident rates before reviewing other speed limits.
Now it seems that Labour plan to pilot their plan in Bishopthorpe
The decision to press ahead with a city wide speed limit reduction comes at a time when experts like University of London Professor John Wann have said that “too many 20 mph zones can dilute their effectiveness as motorists fail to recognise that they are in a high risk area”. That view is also supported by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
The cost of introducing a city wide 20 mph limit in York has been put at £1 million. Much of this would be spent on signs although central government have said recently that speed limit markings can be painted on the road surface. The problem with the later option is that such markings wear out very quickly and can be difficult to see in wet and muddy conditions.
York has seen a 50% reduction in serious road accidents over the last few years. That trend could be reversed if limited resources are spent on a 20 mph limit which is widely abused and largely unenforceable. Labour should rethink their plans.

Milner Street area 20 mph zone

Bus service changes in Westfield

Changes to bus services in York will take effect from 28th August. Details will appear on the Yorkshire journey planner towards the end of August.
Several changes affect the Westfield area.
There are no changes to the number 4 ftr service.

Planned bus service changes

Crime in Westfield and Woodthorpe down

Westfield and Woodthorpe crime figures

Scare stories by some Labour politicians about crime levels are questionable at least in the west of York. Here crime levels are still reducing and are about average when compared to the country as a whole.
Obviously no one should be complacent. The absence of Community Ranger patrols may affect the figures and usually there is a blip in anti social behaviour during the school holidays.
The Council will need to ensure that areas are secure. For example, we found recently that the entrance chain, which helped to stop unauthorised vehicles and motor cyclists entering the Cornlands Road Park, had disappeared.

Cornlands Road park entrance.

Residents can now access crime figures for their street and neighbourhood via the following web site
Similar a recent press story highlighted relatively high levels of complaints about noise from some local streets. These included St Stephens Road, Thoresby Road, and Windsor Garth. All, of course, contain a large number of flats that were built around 50 years ago. Sound insulation standards at that time were not designed to meet modern demands.
The Councils noise nuisance service generally does a good job. You can complain about noise on Friday and Saturday nights, between 9.00pm and 3.00am, by telephoning the Noise Patrol service on tel: (01904) 551555.

Taxi changes

Prius taxi in New York

The Council is to increase the number of taxis on York’s’ streets by four a year. The vehicles will have to be either electric or hybrids. With no suitable electric vehicles available at present (range issues) it is likely that we will see more Toyota Prius style hybrid vehicles plying our streets for hire. (The current Prius model can be leased for around £100 a week with low fuel costs and zero VED).
We think the Council are right to take this decision as the new vehicles will reduce emission levels and should be quieter.
The Council has also introduced new standards for replacement taxi and private hire vehicles. For 2012 replacement vehicles will have to meet the latest Euro emission standards.
“Plug in” Toyota hybrid’s have been on trial in the UK for the last 12 months. They and the Chevy “Volt” are an increasingly common sight on roads in the USA. One would be an obvious choice for the Lord Mayors new car when the existing ones lease runs out shortly.
We’d like to see the Council now start to introduce low emission vehicles across its fleet. After a good start, when they bought 3 Smart cars 7 or 8 years ago, the fleet now fails to set a good environmental example by contemporary standards.
Unfortunately the Council has blundered by reintroducing a 24 hour taxi rank on Duncombe Place. The rank is currently closed at 10:00pm with alternative facilities being made available in St Sampson’s Square. We think it is wrong to encourage, sometimes noisy, patrons into the Minster neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning. The area has several residential properties as well as hotels whose guests deserve a good night’s rest!

Charging points in San Francisco