Catch the Bus Week: New timetables to be rolled out city wide

 bus-stop1

Bus users will be able to ‘catch the bus’ from this week using a new-look bus timetable, as part of a city wide makeover to improve bus services and waiting facilities in and around York.

New-look timetables will be installed at all stops throughout the city during this week’s Catch the Bus Week (28 April – 4 May) a national campaign lead by Green Journeys.

Following a successful two-month trial along the Hull Road to Dunnington route (number 10 service) last year the new timetables provide a much more accessible format for bus users, compared to the existing timetables which are currently provided by both the council and individual operators in a variety of different designs, shapes and sizes.

The roll out is funded through part of the £3.5 million government Better Bus Area Fund awarded by the coalition government to York  in 2012.

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Air quality improving in York ……but

The Council has published its latest data on air quality in York.

The main contaminant – and potential source of health issues – NO2 is reducing overall. However individual street level figures have not been released nor are up to date figures included on the dedicated air quality web site

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The improvement is put down to the increasing number of low emission vehicles being used on York’s roads.

The Council has been encouraging the transfer to low emission cars since 2003 when parking discounts for small vehicles were introduced (ResPark).

This was followed up in 2010 by the trial use of electric and hybrid buses on some routes in the City.

More recently the coalition government has made funding available for the purchase of “all electric” buses. These will be introduced over the next couple of years.

However the fly in the ointment is the recent change to access arrangements in the City centre. The Lendal Bridge trial is already adding significant amounts of traffic onto routes which already have an air quality issue.

Principle amongst these are Leeman Road and Fulford Road.

While Bootham and Gillygate (traditionally a problem street) have also seen changes.

The Council have so far failed to update their initial trial data report on the closure

Even that made no objective assessment of the closure on pollution levels.

Bus use in York down by 10% last year

Bus use click to enlarge

Bus use click to enlarge

Over a million fewer journeys were made by bus last year in York.

This is equivalent to a 10% reduction in “stage carriage” service use. The figures are described as “provisional”.

The Council has yet to respond fully to a Freedom of Information request on bus usage in the City.

Requests for the City to publish bus reliability information are also mired in a legal wrangle.

Although Park and Ride use increased from 4.1 to 4.3 million trips, it did not offset what is the largest single year decline ever recorded in public transport use in the City.

The start of the decline can be traced back to 2011 when the Council confronted the major provider of services in the City (First) in an attempt to get the futuristic ftr taken off York’s roads.

The ftr had been popular with passengers but the dispute led to a period of conflict between the Labour run Council and bus operators.

Recent attempts to “hype” a fares reduction through the media proved to be ill judged as many users found that their journey was actually costing more.

The Council announced at its last meeting that it is scrapping the Quality Bus Partnership which has been a liaison point between bus operators, passenger representatives and the Council.

It will be replaced by another”behind closed doors” discussion group

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NB. Following on from the bad news about reduced footfall in the City, the Council report has also revealed a drop in car park use from 1.62 to 1.52 million.

They are forecasting a net shortfall of £250k (3.5%) from parking income following data from the first six months.

The decline in use followed a decision by the new Labour Council to implement a 36% increase in parking charges.

Have your say on York’s new-look bus timetables

Bus users along the Hull Road to Dunnington route in York will notice new-look bus timetables have been installed as part of a two month trial.

Bus timetable 2013

New timetables have been installed at 42 stops along the number 10 route.

Funded through part of the £3.5 million government Better Bus Area Fund, it is intended that following the trial any necessary improvements can be made, and that the timetables will then be rolled out city wide to the whole network during December/January.

The roll out will include every bus stop in the York area receiving a new timetable cases, which will use a single consistent design showing all departures from the stop in time order.

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York’s first £500,000 bus shelter.

Only a few months after the Council, announced that it was to provide a bus interchange next to the station, it is set to spend £500,000 on upgrading the bus shelters on Rougier Street and Station Rise.

£500,000 bus stop

£500,000 bus stop

It will dub them as a “central interchange” showing the plan to demolish Queen Street bridge, and centralise facilities off the main highway, to have been a bit of idle window dressing.

A Council report talks of the “use of lighting and public art to make the facilities generally more attractive, and a better place to spend time waiting for a bus”

Actually what passengers want is the bus to arrive on time plus timely and accurate information about any delays.

Once again it seems that the sub-urban areas are being ignored

In a separate announcement the Council says that it expects to spend over £1.4 million on improvements that will benefit bus services in the “inner” part of York.

Behind closed doors logo

The “better bus area” apparently includes part of Acomb and Dringhouses”

Most of the money will come from bus companies but around £400,000 will come from taxpayers.

Some will be spent on new sections of bus lane, traffic signals and kerb lines.

Once again there has been no consultation with passengers, residents or even local ward Councillors.

Museum Street bus stop to get 12th century style shelter

Under new proposals, passengers waiting for the Rawcliffe Park&Ride at the Musem Street bus stop will be able to wait under a new canopy shelter, funded out of the £3.5 million government Better Bus Area funding.

The canopy is adjacent to St Leonards Hospital which was founded in 1137. The canopy design will respect the setting of the adjacent building

Proposed shelter design

Proposed shelter design

The Council says that it undertook full consultation with key stakeholder groups including English Heritage, York Museums Trust, York Civic Trust and businesses who front Museum Gardens. The scheme is estimated to cost in the region of £75 to £80k.

The upgrade will improve the flow of pedestrians along the northwest side of Museum Street, reduce the conflict with bus passengers and improve passenger waiting facilities at the bus stop.

"best possible taste"

“best possible taste”

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member of Transport, Planning and Sustainably, said: The new shelter will be done in the best possible taste

In addition to the new shelter, the proposed alterations will include localised removal of the existing stone walls which will be reused where possible to retain the fabric of the original walling, and a new curved section of walling will be provided to ensure security to Museum Gardens is maintained.

The mature cherry tree will need to be removed as the roots are damaging the adjacent drainage system and are penetrating into the monument’s wall joints. Removal of the tree will open up the view of the adjacent Willow tree, which is considered to be the dominant and more attractive tree, as well improving the view to The Minster.

It is also proposed to provide new railings on the new curved walling to match the adjacent Brierley railings that link between the bus stop and the Library, as this is the natural continuation.

Alternatively, the original railing (which extends from the Museum Gardens entrance to the bus stop) is an option being considered.

To view the proposals or to attend the decision session visit: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=738&MId=8022