Reprieve for number 3A and 12 bus services in west York

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”

Changes to tendered bus services in York

Bellhouse Way will lose its early evening service

The York Council has finally caught up with social media and confirmed which bus operators will provide which subsidised services from next week.

The Council says, “following a decision made by City of York Council’s Executive last month, arrangements have now been made for the continued operation of tendered bus services when the current contracts expire next Saturday 31 August”.

“Commercial interest from bus operators First York and Reliance means that some of the routes that previously required financial support from the council now need a reduced level of support or, in some cases, none at all”.

Timetables will be available at from early next week, and the new service arrangements are as follows:

Service 10: First York will operate the evening service commercially (with no financial support from the council) from Monday 2 September. Journey times will be very similar to those currently provided by Transdev.

Service 11: First York will continue to operate the evening service, with financial support from the council.

Service 12: First York will operate the daytime service commercially from Monday 2 September. First York will also operate a commercial evening service between Acomb Park, Moor Lane and the city centre until approximately 9.30pm from Monday to Saturday.

Service 14: Transdev will operate an evening service, with financial support from the council, from Monday 2 September. This will include hourly journeys between Haxby (West Nooks) and the city centre all evening, extending to Woodthorpe and Foxwood after First York’s commercial service finishes at around 9.30pm. This means that the bus service along Alness Drive, Acomb Wood Drive and Bellhouse Way will not operate until late evening.

Service 19: Reliance will operate the weekday service commercially from Monday 2 September, with the exception of one morning peak-time journey, which will require support from the council. Transdev will operate the Saturday service, with financial support from the council. Journey times will be similar to those provided currently.

Service 20: Transdev will continue to operate the service, with financial support from the council.

Service 21: York Pullman will operate this service with financial support from the council, starting from Saturday 31 August. Journey times will be very similar to those provided currently by the Connexionsbuses service but, to improve reliability, all trips will terminate and start in the city centre, rather than at the Morrisons store off Foss Island Road.

Services 24, 25 and 26 will all be operated by Transdev, with financial support from the council, from Saturday 31 August. Journey times will be very similar to those currently offered by Arriva. Transdev will also operate the Friday and Saturday late evening service 26.

Subsidised bus services in York set to continue

The Council is being recommended to continue to subsidise several bus services in York. The services serve either remote areas or provide services at times of the day when commercial services don’t run.

Tenders to continue services were sought earlier in the year.

The affected series are

  • 10 Evening Poppleton – City Centre – Dunnington Stamford Bridge
  • 11 Evening Bishopthorpe – South Bank – Stonebow
  • 12 Daytime Stonebow – Heworth – Monks Cross
  • 14 Evening Foxwood – City Centre / New Earswick – Haxby West Nooks
  • 19 Daytime Skelton – Clifton & Rawcliffe – Exhibition Square
  • 20 Daytime Rawcliffe – Clifton Moor & Haxby – Monks Cross / Osbaldwick
  • 21 Daytime Colton – Acaster Malbis & Bishopthorpe – Foss Islands
  • 24 Daytime Ascot Way (Acomb) – Acomb & Holgate – Piccadilly
  • 25 Daytime Derwenthorpe – Foss Islands – Crossfield Crescent (Fulford)
  • 26 Daytime Crossfield Crescent (Fulford) – City Centre – South Bank
  • 26 Fri/Sat eve Piccadilly – Crossfield Crescent (Fulford)

There is a question mark against the evening link (new service 15) between Stonebow and Monks Cross but officials hope to sustain the service in some way.

If approved the cost of subsidising bus services in the City will rise to £3/4 million.

The full report can be read by clicking here

A decision is expected on 18th July.

Subsidised bus services in York