Rougier Street bus stops set for major upgrade

From Monday 14 August City of York Council is set to improve the Rougier Street bus stops, some of the most used in the city, with new paving and kerbs ready for a major overhaul later in the year.

The work will take place after the scaffolding which has been used to redevelop Roman House is removed. The area will then be repaved ahead of the new bus shelter being installed in October.

Unfortunately, it will not be possible for buses to stop on the Roman House side of Rougier Street whilst the scaffolding is being removed or the pavement renewed.  Because of this, bus stops on this side of the road (CA-CC) will be closed for seven weeks between 14 August and 24 September.

Bus route diversions

From Monday 31st July for up to two weeks, Coastliner services will divert via Monkgate and Heworth Green to avoid possible delays due to traffic signal works in Heworth Village. East Parade and Heworth Road will not be served.

Rougier Street stops CA-CC will be closed from Monday 14th August for seven weeks during scaffolding removal and footway repair works. During this time, the nearest alternative stops will be:

  • Rail Station RF-RJ for services 13 (to Copmanthorpe), 16 (to Acomb), 21 (to Colton), 24 (to Acomb), 26 (to South Bank), 37 (to Tadcaster), 66 (to Nunnery Lane), 840, 843 and 845 (to Leeds), Cityzap (to Leeds);
  • Temporary stop Micklegate CL for services 3 (to Askham Bar Park & Ride) and 7 (to Designer Outlet Park & Ride);
  • Station Avenue RM for services 6 (to Clifton Moor) and 181 (to Sheriff Hutton/ Castle Howard);
  • Station Road CD-CE for services 10 (to Poppleton), 11 (to Bishopthorpe), 12 and 14 (to Foxwood).

Stops for services heading towards Stonebow and Piccadilly will not be affected by these works. All other stops will remain open as normal.

Stonebow stops SA, SB and SC are closed until the end of 2017 due to major refurbishment works at Stonebow House.

  • Monks Cross Park & Ride (service 9) will stop on Pavement, outside M&S.
    All other services will use the temporary stop closer to the Peasholme Green end of Stonebow, between the junctions with Garden Place and Hungate.

Depending on the bus route, the nearest alternative stops will be at Low Ousegate, Station Avenue, the Railway Station or a temporary stop at Micklegate.  A list of bus services showing the nearest alternative stops during the closure period is available at www.itravelyork.info
(more…)

York residents invited to give views at “Bus Surgery”

York’s bus users are being invited to give the city’s bus operators and the council their views on York’s bus services at a ‘Bus Surgery’ event on Thursday 6 October opposite York Railway Station.

The sessions come at a time where pressure continues to grow on the Council and bus operators to provide at least monthly reliability information on their services.

2016-02-Bus-stike-performance

In some countries like New Zealand reliability stats are routinely published

At present only an annual figure – derived from a single week monitoring – is provided each year.

In the past opposition Councillors have called on bus operators to provide the kind of information routinely provided by train operating companies.

The information is available from the monitoring systems already installed in most busses in the City.

This weeks drop in  sessions will be running from 12pm-2pm and 4pm-6pm will see representatives from First, Arriva, Transdev, EYMS and Harrogate Coach Travel/ Connexions bus and the council on hand to speak with York’s residents and bus users about their experiences, what they think works well and what could be improved in future.

Executive Member for Transport and Planning, Cllr Ian Gillies, said: “Whilst bus use is increasing in the city, and York scores high in passenger satisfaction surveys for its bus services, the council alongside the Quality Bus Partnership want to continue to improve the city’s services. Bus Surgery events like this help us gain valuable feedback from bus users that can directly help us shape York’s bus service for the future. I would urge all bus users to come along and give us their views.”

The bus surgeries are part of a range of measures being taken forward by York’s Better Bus Area Programme – an initiative by the council and the city’s bus operators – to improve bus services in the city.

Work undertaken through the Better Bus Area has included refurbishment of many of the city’s bus stops and shelters, real-time information screens at many locations in the city, provision of York’s Bus Wardens and improved management of traffic to benefit bus services.

Since the Better Bus Area programme was formed in 2012 bus use in York has increased by 6 percent*. This equates to 900,000 passenger journeys a year, or approximately an additional 3,000 journeys a day.

For more information on travelling and around York visit http://www.itravelyork.info/

Westfield bus services face axe

Foxwood Lane (12 & 14), Gale Lane (20) and Hamilton Drive (16A)  links could be lost

bus-stop1The Council is organising “drop in” sessions at which the scale of the cuts that they plan to local bus services will be revealed.

The Council has decided to cut £350,000 from its public transport support budget so dramatic changes can be anticipated.

The Council says that members of the public will have the opportunity to give their views on the services proposed for withdrawal or alteration between Monday 11 April and Friday 6 May, either by emailing buses@york.gov.uk or through drop-in sessions (“details to be announced nearer the time”).

The Council claims that public feedback will be considered as part of a report which will be taken to an Executive Member Transport and Planning public meeting on Thursday 19 May.

A final decision on the services to be withdrawn or altered will be taken at this meeting and it is anticipated that the changes will take effect from Sunday 28 August.

The services which the council currently subsidises and which may be altered, reduced or withdrawn are:
• Monday to Saturday daytime services: 12, 19, 20, 27, 36, 627, 637 and 647
• Evening services: 10, 11, 14, 18
• Sunday services: 11, 12, 13, 14,16a and 19

For existing timetables click here

So far the Council has not released details of alternative provision. As a minimum, residents who depend on the bus service to get around will expect Dial and Ride services to be expanded. There is also likely to be a call for the option, for pensioners to be able to choose transport tokens (instead of a bus pass), to be reintroduced. The tokens can be used to pay taxi fares.

ftr bus in York

ftr bus in York

Eighty per cent of bus services are commercial in York and are not subsidised by the council. Local authorities across the country have the discretion to provide financial support for local bus services where the commercial bus market does not provide such services, but it is not a statutory duty.

Bus usage in York has increased during recent years following a slump when the last Labour Council pulled out of public transport modernisation plans like the ftr “superbus” project.

The Council has consistently refused to publish weekly reliability stats for bus services in the city

To find out more about the bus travel in York visit www.itravelyork.info 

Residents invited to give their views on buses

BusWant to help shape York’s bus services?

City of York Council is offering bus users the opportunity to give their views on local services at a ‘bus surgery’ event next week.

The ‘bus surgery’ will take place at Explore York Library and Learning Centre on Wednesday 9 December, from 12- 2pm and will give bus users the  chance to speak with representatives from bus providers including First York, Arriva and Transdev.

(more…)

York Council backtracks on bus support

The York Council has withdrawn its plans to make changes to the funding criteria for uneconomic bus services in the City.

Bus weight lifter timthumbTwo months ago it said it would consider 

Three options; two which would guarantee minimum levels of bus service to areas within the York boundary where the council currently supports a bus service (and for which no commercial alternatives exist), or a third option to retain the current criteria, which does not guarantee any minimum service level”.

The item has now been withdrawn from the “forward programme” without explanation.

“87% of York bus services running on time” says Council

Unidentified object flies over Guildhall

Flying pig

Relative too many other areas, York’s bus services have achieved higher passenger numbers (per head of population)  for almost 15 years.

Although down from the high of 12 million passengers carried in 2006, stage carriage services still managed to attract 11 million users last year. On top of this, the expansion in Park and Ride continues with 4.5 million using the enlarged network last year.

At a time when the annual DpT statistics see bus services losing passengers in some other Cities, this is a cause for some relief in York and the Council might claim justification in celebrating its relative success through a media release (see below right)

It is being disingenuous in suggesting that passengers can expect to wait less than a minute for bus services to arrive or that timetabled services are 87% reliable. That simply isn’t the case at the times of the day, and seasons of the year, when people travel most.

Media release by York Council 9th Oct 2015

Media release by York Council 9th Oct 2015

The claims are based on DpT published statistics which can be found by clicking here for waiting times and here for passenger numbers

The reliability figures are the result of a one off check undertaken by the local authority in the autumn of each year (usually the least busy time on the highways network).

Sadly with the York Councils supposedly independent scrutiny committee system bogged down with trivia, it seems unlikely that anomalies like these will ever be challenged. Most scrutiny committee chairs seem to back away for even asking for regular quality of service reports. That leaves consumers in the dark – none more so than on bus service reliability.

The sooner that the figures collected each day by the “Your Next Bus” computer systems are routinely published, the sooner we are likely to get a more candid analysis of both the Councils performance and that of York’s bus operators.

Bus service performance stats provided by York Council and Department of Transport

Bus service performance stats provided by York Council and Department of Transport

York bus service reliability wobbles as York Council set to spend £7 million on transport

Hitherto reliable bus services like the number 4, which links Acomb to the City centre and the University beyond, have suffered a loss of reliability during recent days.

On the busesThe problems seem to have arisen since the changes to the timetables were introduced last month.

Checks – taken in the mid afternoon this week when congestion shouldn’t be a major issue – suggest that only about 40% of buses are now arriving on time*

This compares to an 80% reliability rate in the City reported in the lastest DpT “snapshot” survey recorded on their website.

First, and some other bus companies refuse, to release reliability figures although commendably Transdev – who now run the 44 link down Hamilton Drive – say they will release service reliability figures. This would bring them into line with train operating companies who release reliability figures each month.

They also operate a “mystery passenger” audit which they use to improve journey quality

The York Council used to check reliability and the quality of bus journeys in the City but this was ditched when Labour took control of the Council in 2011.

Since then they have relied on the computer system which generates “next bus due” information on mobile phone “apps” as well as on the signs at some bus stops. The contract for renewal of the service is currently being let. However the historic reliability information generated by a sub set of the system – cannot be released by the Council without the agreement of participating bus companies.

The York Council, will shortly agree how to spend around £7 million this year on improvements to the transport system in York.

Of this £1.6 million  will be spent on public transport improvements.

 £104,390 will go on “off bus ticket machines” which will be funded by West Yorkshire CA.

There is little in the programme for improvements to sub-urban bus stops. We continue to believe that busy suburban stops like Foxwood Lane should have a “next bus due” screen.

That would be doubly important if buses continue to run up to 30 minutes late.

*Up to 5 minutes after scheduled time or 1 minute before.

2015 transport investment

New Green Lane/Tudor Road/Hamilton Drive/Piccadilly bus service

Transdev have launched a new bus service link from Acomb to the University via Piccadilly. It is a summer only (University vacation) amendment to their number 44 service and will provide a half hourly frequency.

The timetable can be downloaded by clicking here

First recently announced that they were scrapping their 13A service via Hamilton Drive.

Later the Council vowed to step in and fill the gap although it is now less clear what the long term plans are for bus services in the Hamilton Drive area.

Although during term time the 44 “unibus” is mainly aimed at York University students, anyone can use the service.

Green Lane to University bus timetable click to enlarge

Green Lane to University bus timetable click to enlarge

University to Green Lane bus timetable click to enlarge

University to Green Lane bus timetable click to enlarge