York Council consults on Wigginton Road improvements

City of York Council is asking residents and businesses for their views on proposals to improve key junctions on Wigginton Road (near York Hospital).

Plans include rebuilding the junction between Haxby Road, Wigginton Road and Clarence Street and replacing the existing mini-roundabout between Wigginton Road and Fountayne Street with a new junction.

This will help to:

  • reduce journey times for traffic, particularly buses, on Wigginton Road
  • improve pavements and crossings – and create larger pedestrian islands at the Haxby Road/ Wigginton Road/ Clarence Street junction
  • replace the traffic signals at the Haxby Road, Wigginton Road,  Clarence Street junction.

To submit feedback on the proposals email buses@york.gov.uk or post responses to Julian Ridge, Better Bus Area Manager, City of York Council, West Offices, York, YO1 6GA –  by Sunday 2 September 2018.

Further information about the proposals, including plans, can be found at www.itravelyork.info (apparently) . Or, view the FAQs below.
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York Council seeks views on new “Clean Air Zone” for York’s city centre

Fuel cell bus under test in London. Zero tail pipe emissions. Still no sign of the technology reaching York

City of York Council is seeking views on the proposed introduction of a Clean Air Zone in York’s city centre, to help tackle traffic pollution which can be harmful to people’s health.

As part of this consultation, a drop-in event is taking place on Monday 23 July between 3- 6pm at West Offices, where officers will be on-hand to answer any questions and provide more information about the proposals.

Unlike other parts of the country where a Clean Air Zone is a mandatory requirement, the council is proactively looking to introduce the new zone.

This will help to reduce the amount of traffic pollutants in York’s city centre, which are mainly caused by diesel vehicles.

The council is looking at many ways to improve air quality in the city centre. One of these options is by working with bus operators to apply the proposed Clean Air Zone to local bus services.

The authority knows (through York’s Third Air Quality Action Plan) that local bus services make up three per cent of the traffic but cause 27 per cent of the main pollutants in York.

The survey is available to complete at www.york.gov.uk/consultationsAlternatively  ask for a paper copy at West Offices.

To find out more about which bus services could be affected, or for more background on this proposal, visit: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=10195

Those reading the background  reports may be disappointed by the lack of information on pollution trends in the City (Euro 6 standards are already prompting improvements) while auto idling devices are fitted to all new vehicles.
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York bus services back in the firing line?

New Rougier Street bus shelter

The York Council, as part of a “Clean Air Day”, is claiming that users of 75 cars could be accommodated on one double decker. Maybe so, but if they choose to wait at the new bus shelter on Rougier Street they will find that the real time information about bus services has disappeared.

Failure to roll out the electronic information screens to more stops has been a failing of the Council.

There are none at bus stops on Tadcaster Road which accommodate the, otherwise successful, inter city services.

Busy stops in the Acomb area have never had them.

They may be needed more and more as, following a good year in 2017 with high passenger numbers and record-breaking approval ratings in surveys, the service quality seems to be falling away again. This is mainly down to reliability with some buses being dropped without warning.

Back to the “Clean Air Day” and the Councils frankly disingenuous “on line” survey. The survey purports to ask residents whether they favour the use of lower emission buses on, and within, the inner ring road.

No prizes for the likely answer to that question. Might as well ask if residents would prefer have hemlock added to the  water supply!

Generally, air quality in York has improved in recent years with cleaner vehicles making their way onto the streets. York already has some electric buses operating on Park and Ride routes. This will reach 100% shortly following a government grant decision.

The latest Euro 6 specifications substantially reduce emission levels on new diesel buses. However, Euro 6 buses cost £250,000 each meaning that upgrading just the First fleet in York would require investment of £17.5 million.

Having raised the possibility of access for only the least polluting buses by 2020, the Council singularly fails to tell residents how much a forced modernisation programme would cost and who would pay?

One of the questions implies that the change could mean a substantial increase in fares.

Another option for bus companies seeking to pay for the minimum £15,000 per bus cost of modifications to just exhaust systems, would be for them to withdraw services from less well used routes.

The Council can’t fund additional social bus services, so the consequence would be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of more cars on City streets.

Quite the reverse of what the Council hopes to achieve.

The Council needs a well thought through and costed modernisation programme for public transport in the City.  Sloganising simply clouds the decision making process.

Changes to traffic arrangements near Hospital on Wigginton Road

A meeting next week will consider plans to reduce bus journey times on Wigginton Road. There is a congestion black-spot near the hospital which may be made worse as more homes are built on land next to Nestle.

Wigginton Road mini roundabout set to be removed

A Council report says,

“Observation, analysis of bus journey time data and modelling all indicate that, since the improvements made at the Clarence Street/ Lord Mayor’s Walk junction, the worst source of unreliability for buses on the corridor is found on the stretch of Wigginton Road between the Crichton Avenue bridge and the Wigginton Road/ Haxby Road/ Clarence Street junction.

The delays are particularly severe at Hospital shift start and end times. At these times it usually takes around 8 minutes (and sometimes much longer) for buses to cover the 1.5 km between Crichton Avenue and the Bootham/ Gillygate junction – an average speed of 7mph”.

The proposals involve:

Remodelling the Wigginton Road/ Haxby Road/ Clarence Street junction (as shown in figure 1) to prioritise Wigginton Road traffic (saving of up to 20 seconds);

  • Replacing the existing mini-roundabout at the junction between Fountayne Street, Wigginton Road and the Hospital’s northern access road with a conventional give way junction

A council report says, “(saving of up to 10 seconds); and

  • Working with the bus operators to reduce the amount of time buses wait at the Fountayne Street pair of stops – by making changes to their fares structures and timing points so that vehicles no longer have to wait time at these stops (saving of up to 10 seconds)

Consultation on the plan will take place in the summer with a budget of £250,000 being set aside for implementation later in the year.

One major issue is likely to be the effect that the changes would have on the accessibility of the Hospital

Bus servics 3. 4 and 9 return to Railway Station route

According to the First website there are changes to the diversion put in place to avoid the Lendal Gyratory roadworks

 From Sat 3rd March

Lendal Gyratory

From Saturday 3rd March, there will be revisions to the diversions for the roadworks on Lendal Gyratory.

This is because the roadworks are moving to the Station Avenue/Leeman Road junction and what was planned to be the most disruptive phase of the roadworks has now finished and did not cause as many issues as anticipated.  However, the gyratory will not be able to cope with all services returning to normal.

Services 3, 4 and 9

  • Will revert to normal running

NB. Apparently 3s and 4s are back to their normal route to serve the Station today (Thursday)

Services 59 and 66

  • Remain on current diversions

These diversions will remain in operation until further notice but may change again as we assess the extent of the disruption.

Modern bus on number 4 route today

Most modern looking bus in York since underrated ftr scraped.

A modern double deck bus is being used in the City at the moment. It replaces some hybrid models which have been sent to Ireland for modification.

It was operating on the number 4 route earlier today.

The new bus is understood to be a Wright Streetdeck. It has stop/start technology to reduce carbon emissions.

It achieves Euro 6 emissions standards.

All aboard the new Routemaster - it's big, red and made in Britain

Controversial New Routemaster bus in London. Hybrid technology but now overtaken by “all electric” vehicles. Problems with high temperatures on the top deck and now doors stay closed on “jump on fall off” rear platform

The latest Streetdeck model uses some of the technology which was deployed on the London Transport “New Routemaster” a couple of years ago.

Wrights says that  “The ride characteristics of the new StreetDeck are excellent thanks to advanced axle and suspension systems.”

“An improved airflow throughout both salons has been achieved, along with reduced solar gain in the upper saloon. Whilst improvements in areas such as cab door lock design, wireless bell pushes and revised hand pole fixings illustrate the attention to detail that has characterised the whole product development programme”.

 

York set to implement UK’s first Clean Air Zone

Electric buses have been introduced in York

Proposals for York’s first Clean Air Zone, the first in the UK, are due to be considered by the Council’s Executive on the 25th January.

The Clean Air Zone, or CAZ, will seek to reduce emissions from buses in the City and further tackle poor air quality in York and include a single ultra-low emissions standard for the majority of vehicles operating on local bus services.

Furthermore, within the CAZ are measures to deter drivers who leave their engines idling in the City centre and potential enforcement options to back this.

Plans to fine drivers £20 if they leave their vehicle engines running are likely to be unpopular.

The Liberal Democrats have been continuously working to tackle the issue of poor air quality in York for many years and with Liberal Democrat input, the Clean Air Zone will also seek to recognise and address particulate pollution caused by tyres and break pads – An issue recently raised by the Government’s top environment adviser, Professor Frank Kelly.

To kick-start it’s implementation, a consultation is being requested from Executive, with aims to introduce the CAZ by 2020.  Furthermore, the Executive are also to consider the inclusion of an improved single ultra-low emissions standard for the majority of vehicles operating on the City’s local bus services.

Cllr Andrew Waller said:

“In the Clean Air Zone, we will be targeting the most frequent buses coming into the city centre to reduce nitrogen dioxide but also looking at ways to build on the work done to reduce emissions from other vehicles.

This is the first Executive report which recognises the issue of particulate matter caused by tyres and break pads which is increasing in public awareness.

With its inclusion, the Clean Air Zone, if approved, will produce a more comprehensive plan to reduce pollution in the City centre and York can truly lead the fight against poor air quality. It builds on the work done during York’s participation in the first national Clean Air Day, which was held on June 15th this year and promoted sustainable transport and tackling idling engines.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to monitor the development of a Clean Air Zone for York and champion a better local environment for all.”

Air quality in York shows further improvement

A six-year trend in air pollution reduction means that two of York’s three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) could be withdrawn in the next two years.

Falling concentrations of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is mainly from traffic, means that it is no longer having a health impact on people in those areas.

City of York Council’s annual air quality status report is being presented to the executive member for environment on 7 August for a decision-making session.

The report shows that the Salisbury Terrace AQMA has had nitrogen dioxide concentrations consistently below the level where it affects health for the last four years, so the AQMA for this area is recommended to be revoked.

The Fulford Road AQMA has been showing that, while average levels of pollutants are continuing to fall across the whole area, one location continues to show higher than permitted levels. Should another year of monitoring levels indicate a continued decline, that AQMA may be recommended to be reduced or revoked in 12 months time.

In the meantime, increased concentrations of NOmonitored on Coppergate could mean that, depending on monitoring data submitted early in 2018, the boundary of the city centre AQMA boundary may need to be amended. However changes in traffic restrictions and buses on this route may be responsible for the change in concentrations.

York’s Low Emission Strategy continues to deliver the air quality improvement measures in York’s third Air Quality Action Plan including:

  • 14% of York’s taxis have converted from diesel to ultra low emission electric hybrids since York’s unique taxi incentives and

    Electric buses have been introduced in York

  • new taxi licensing policy specifying minimum emission standards for new or replacement taxis
  • encouraging residents to walk, cycle and use public transport to beat congestion and pollution through the Local Transport Plan and i-Travel York
  • introducing electric buses on two Park&Ride routes with a third to be delivered via the new Park & Ride contract
  • retrofitting the world’s first electric double-decker sightseeing bus with plans to convert a further five diesel buses to full electric drive
  • City of York Council has been awarded £816,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) after becoming the only Yorkshire location out of eight in the country to achieve ‘Go Ultra Low’ city status. The money will be used to fund a city-wide network of charging hubs
  • implementing a ‘pay as you go’ fast charge public electric vehicle recharging network in addition to 11 publicly accessible rapid chargers across the city. 1,500 charges – including those made by electric buses – are made each month and are rising on a monthly basis.
  • Low Emission Planning guidance requires electric vehicle recharge infrastructure, Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs), and emissions mitigation plans on new building developments.

Idle-Free Zone, Turn Engine Off Sign

We are also currently considering the following air quality improvement measures:

  • reducing emissions from buses by developing a bespoke Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
  • introducing anti-idling measures via signage and a new anti-idling enforcement policy.

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment, said: “While our sustained work on combating air pollution has made a significant contribution to improving air quality in York, it’s important to recognise that much still needs to be done.

“Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts – especially in children and older people – including contributing to the onset of heart disease and cancer and we will continue to work with partners to further improve the air we all breathe in the city.”

The full report can be read at http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=870&MId=10031&Ver=4

Hyper electric vehicle charging points could be installed next year

Changes to 44 Hamilton Drive bus service from April

LibDems petitioned for the 44/16 sercive to be retained

LibDems petitioned for the 44/16 service to be retained

Connexions buses have been awarded the service 16 (currently 44) contract from 1st April. We understand that they will be using new low carbon Euro 6, locally built, buses from the Optare group

The service, which links Acomb Front Street, Green Lane and Hamilton Drive to the railway station,  is currently run by Transdev.

The new service will be extended to Piccadilly

The announcement follows several months of campaigning by Liberal Democrats who collected a petition seeking retention of the service.

 

Uber buses?

Interesting idea from TransDev in Harrogate

harrogate-bus-jan-2017TransDev was experiencing capacity issues in the morning peak on its flagship 36 service between Ripon and Harrogate. It was as a result of a large number of young people travelling to school in Harrogate on the 36, creating overcrowding problems. Over a two-week period 70 parents said they would be willing to pay for their children to use a dedicated door-to-door service and committed to buying season tickets that not only include travel on this dedicated school bus, but the rest of the Harrogate bus network too. As more and more parents came onboard the overall cost to all reduced.

The operator’s school bus fleet vehicles are typically parked up outside the traditional travel to school times. A wish to fully utilise these assets has led to the creation of the VAMOOZ app which will be launched in the coming months.

VAMOOZ will see Transdev Blazefield launch trips to destinations that are currently unserved by its conventional bus network. These destinations could include places like shopping centres, such as Meadowhall near Sheffield and the Trafford Centre outside Manchester, and trips to sporting events, concerts and music festivals too, as well as potentially more traditional visits to towns and cities of interest across the north of England.

VAMOOZ app users will browse the range of destinations on offer or, alternatively, make a suggestion for a trip of their own choosing. They will then commit to travel on that trip at the price offered by the app but uniquely this price will reduce as more and more users commit to travel.

Key to helping stimulate that demand is that users making a commitment will be invited to share their travel plans with friends on social media and by email in a bid to encourage them to travel too. As more and more people commit, the lower the price becomes to all.

Read a fuller article on this idea by clicking here