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six-year trend in air pollution reduction means that two of York’s three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) could be withdrawn in the next two years.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

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

York bus services reliability stats

The latest figures released by the Council suggest that frequent bus services are getting more reliable in York
Bus reliability trends in York

Bus reliability trends in York

The figures which represent a snap shot of bus reliability – are taken in the autumn of each year.

By last autumn, frequent bus services (defined as those routes with more than 6 buses per hour)  were on average less than 1/2 minute late.

However performance on routes with less frequent services showed a small decline in reliability. 83% were on time compared to 87% the previous year.

The figures are bound to rekindle calls for weekly service reliability figures to be published. These figures can be made available easily using the technology installed to provide “next bus due” real time information.

Other public transport providers such as the train operating companies are required to routinely publish similar information.

Buses 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 14 & 66 diverted – Rougier Street closure tonight

diversion-sign-by-daquellamaneraRougier Street will be closed towards the railway station on Tuesday 1st November, from 2100 until 0600 the following morning.

This is for repairs to a manhole cover. Stops CA, CB and CC on Rougier Street will be out of use. The road will be open in the opposite direction (towards George Hudson Street and Ouse Bridge).

Services will be diverted as follows:

4 – Acomb to City will follow normal route into town.

City to Acomb. From Clifford Street the bus will go over Ouse Bridge as normal, then LEFT onto Skeldergate, RIGHT Bishopgate Street and RIGHT Nunnery Lane. It will then continue AHEAD to the railway station, turn around by looping round Station Ave/Station Road, back to railway station, then as normal route.

14 – Foxwood Lane to Haxby will be normal route.

Haxby to Foxwood Lane. The bus will divert from Foss Bank, RIGHT onto Jewbury and ahead onto Lord Mayor’s Walk, then LEFT Gillygate, LEFT past Theatre Royal, RIGHT over Lendal Bridge then normal line of route from Station Road.

Please note: the stops at Stonebow and Low Ousegate WILL NOT BE SERVED. Alternative stop: Theatre Royal. The bus will serve all stops on diversion.


Mixed news for York as bus usage figures published by government

Nearly 16.9 million bus journeys were made in the York area in the year to March 2016, per figures released this month by the Department for Transport.
Bus use in York compared to rest of country

Bus use in York compared to rest of country

The statistics, which are collected for every local transport authority in England, show that the number of bus users in York increased by 700,000 in the same time period, an increase of 4.4 per cent.  This is the third consecutive year of increase for York, with passenger journeys increasing by 1.6 million, or nearly 11 per cent, since 2012/13.

The figures show that York has defied the regional and national trend of decreasing passenger numbers. Nationally the number of bus passenger journeys fell by 2.6 per cent last year and 2.9 per cent in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. York was the only Yorkshire authority to see an increase in passenger numbers.

However, the figures also reveal that the number of bus journeys made per head of population still haven’t recovered to the level seen in 2009.

Much of the increase over the last couple of years can be traced to the opening of a new park and ride site (Poppleton) and a greatly expanded and modernised site at Askham Bar.

Stage carriage services have remained stable.

Interestingly the number of journeys made by those using elderly or disabled persons (free) passes has now stabilised at 5 million a year following several years of decline.

Around 30% of local bus journeys are made by people using passes.

Passengers must wait a few more months to find out how reliable services have been. Frequent services – the majority in York – showed a decline in reliability when last year’s figures were published.

The York Council and bus companies refuse to publish the reliability statistics that they collect from journey management computer systems.

Bus usage figures in the rest of North Yorkshire are declining at an alarming rate.

Bus use in York and North Yorkshire compared

Bus use in York and North Yorkshire compared

Renewed call in York for lower public transport fares

Petrol prices down again August 2016 compared to July 2016:

Fuel proce gra[ph as at Aug 2016According to government figures released today petrol prices reduced by 2.4 pence per litre whilst diesel prices were down 1.6 pence per litre. Click for details

The figures are likely to increase calls for taxi and bus fares in York to be reduced.

Renewable energy use down in UK for the 3 month period April to June 2016, compared to the same period a year earlier

Also according to the governmentEnergy imports August 2016

  • Primary energy consumption in the UK on a fuel input basis fell by 0.3%, on a temperature adjusted basis consumption fell by 1.8% continuing the downward trend. (click for details)
  • Indigenous energy production fell by 3.4%, due to reduced coal output, though both oil and bioenergy production increased. Click for details
  • Electricity generation by Major Power Producers down 0.9%, with coal down 72% but offset by increase in gas up 57%.* click for details
  • Gas provided 50.9% of electricity generation by Major Power Producers, with nuclear at 24.2%, renewables at 18.1% and coal at a record low of 6.8%.* click for details
  • Wind generation by Major Power Producers down 14.5%, with offshore down 9.0% and onshore down 20%, due to lower average wind speeds.* click for details
  • Low carbon share of electricity generation by Major Power Producers down 1.6 percentage points to 42.3%, as rise in bio-energy not enough to offset falls in nuclear and wind generation.* click for details

*Major Power Producers (MPPs) data published monthly, all generating companies data published quarterly.

Clarence Street bus improvements – project cut back

A report which outlines proposed amendments to the Clarence Street bus improvement scheme to provide better value for money and minimise disruption will be considered on Thursday 9 June

The Clarence Street Bus Improvement Scheme is a Better Bus Area Fund scheme, which aims to improve journey times for buses and other road users travelling towards York on Clarence Street.

Clarence Street

Clarence Street

The delivery of the scheme has been delayed due to the relocation of the utilities equipment required in the previously approved scheme would be much more time consuming and costly than originally anticipated.

In light of this it has been recommended not to progress with the installation of 20m of cycle lane which would require the road to be widened and would require utilities equipment to be moved. This saves approximately £90,000 and negates the need to close the junction for four weeks, significantly reducing disruption to road users.

It has also been proposed that the existing crossing island south of the Clarence Street bus stops is retained instead of replacing it with a toucan crossing.

The cost of delivering the amended scheme is £270,000, including the cost of replacing and changing the phasing of life expired traffic signals at the Clarence Street/ Lord Mayor’s Walk junction, and replacing the carriageway surface of most of Clarence Street. The scheme is funded principally from the Better Bus Area Fund which was awarded to the council from the Department for Transport.

The Decision Session takes place on Thursday 9 June at West Offices from 10am and is open to members of the public or is available to watch later online from:

Scheme layout. click to access

Scheme layout. click to access

Free young persons bus travel trial flops in York

Bus-Travel-Free-WeekendsThe Councils offer to provide free bus travel at weekends during January and February appears to have flopped.

During the first weekend in January, fewer than half the number of young passengers travelled by bus than had done so on the equivalent weekend in 2015!

The floods were blamed for a downturn in bus travel generally.

However, the following two weekends were also a disappointment for those who thought that cost was discouraging bus travel.

Figures revealed that a similar number of young people travelled by bus as had done so in January 2015.

The low take up means that only £28,000 of the allocated £100,000 budget has been used.

A meeting on 11th February is being recommended to terminate the trial at the end of February. It is likely that a survey of young people will be undertaken to try to better understand their transport needs.