City centre visitor numbers show small increase in February


Continuing mild weather, and a recovering economy, boosted visitor numbers in York City centre by 3% during February compared to the same month in 2013.

Although the increase is less than is being experienced in similar High Streets elsewhere in the country, no doubt tourism chiefs will point to the success of special events such as the Viking Festival as part of the explanation for the reversal in fortunes.

The modest increase is unlikely to be enough to deflect criticism from the unpopular Lendal bridge closure which continues to dog the reputation of York City centre.

Huge increases in car parking charges – which are scheduled to be introduced later in the spring when York residents will lose their “Minster badge” discounts – are another cause for apprehension.

The first Saturday in March saw 38,882 visitors recorded on the Parliament Street footfall cameras.

This compared to 50,054 on the equivalent Saturday last year.

The full footfall figures can be seen by clicking here.

Lendal Bridge

As we predicted when the “trial” started the Council intends to continue the restrictions on access to Lendal Bridge for an indefinite period.

There is no item in the Councils forward programme of meeting topics so a decision before June is unlikely.

The latest figures on the Council web site show that most Park and Ride bus services are talking longer to complete their journeys. No data has been produced for other bus services.

No information on bus passenger numbers has been published although total passenger journeys in 2013 showed a further reduction on 2012.

The number of shoppers in the City centre has reduced

Other road users – particularly those living near the city centre – have found journey times doubling.

Meanwhile over 60,000 motorists have been fined on Lendal and Coppergate. Many of these have been visitors who have vowed never to return to the City.

Labour Councillors have now stepped up their campaign of misinformation.

They say that there were forecasts of gridlock. Few said this because (between 10:00am and 4:30pm) there is spare capacity on most of the highways network in York for most of the week.

Some predicted traffic chaos in some circumstances such as poor weather conditions. In a generally mild winter, they were proved right.

Labour have claimed that the LibDems included in their 2011 Local Transport Plan proposals to close Lendal bridge. Actually the reference was to a trial closure of Ouse Bridge (which has many more bus services using it and which does not form part of the ring road). But this would only have happened after proper consultation.

Labour claim that “traffic congestion will increase three fold in 10 years“.

But their transport spokesman made the same claims a decade ago and, of course, it hasn’t happened. Drivers have found different ways of getting to their destinations and at different times of the day.

They don’t rush lemming like to the nearest traffic jam.

Congestion levels in York have been fairly stable now since 1998.

It would be a strange Council that argued that “something has to be done“, then promptly decided on a course of action that actually makes things worse for the majority of travellers.

Reopen Lendal Bridge Now!

Lendal Bridge/Coppergate camera fine victims now exceed 60,000.

Lendal bridge notice60,414 drivers have been issued with penalty notices for driving on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate since new restrictions were introduced in August.

Of these 46,323 were caught by cameras on Lendal Bridge while 14,091 were photographed on Coppergate.

The numbers being caught in both locations increased towards the end of January.

The complete figures can be downloaded by clicking here.

Meanwhile the media are reporting that the Council has received £1.3 in fine income.


Latest Lendal Bridge report reveals 3000 drivers a week still being fined

 No significant change to Park and Ride bus service journey times as total number fined climbs to 45,000.

The Council have now published an updated report on their web site assessing the impact of the Lendal Bridge closure.

Traffic on Lendal bridge after closure

Traffic on Lendal bridge after closure

Any hopes that the information would be objective and impartial are quickly dispelled as the report resorts to sloganising “York remains very much open for business” whatever that is supposed to mean.

The figures for Park and Ride show small increases in the number of passengers (following a trend evident for the last 6 years over which passenger growth on the services has been sustained each year).

Some services show small reductions in journey times since the Lendal Bridge restrictions were introduced. Others – like the link to the Designer Centre – show increases in journey times.

This rather confirms what is so obvious to many – that traffic congestion, on alternative routes to Lendal, is continuing to increase.

No information is provided on normal “stage carriage” bus services.

There was a 10% increase in traffic volumes on Clifton bridge when comparing November 2013 with the same month last year. Increased traffic volumes on Foss Islands Road are also evident.

The report makes no attempt to assess increases in journey times or costs for drivers. There is no information about pollution levels

The Council has also updated the tables showing the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued to drivers on Lendal Bridge and in Coppergate.

The numbers fined on Coppergate doubled to 595 during the St Nicholas Fayre week.

The number issued on Lendal Bridge is still regularly in excess of 2500 a week.

70% of the tickets issued are to visitors to the City

02-08 Sept (4   days enforcement, commenced Wednesday 1675
09-15 Sept   2015 (6 days enforcement, because of the Skyride event) 2015
16-23   Sept  (5 days enforcement, cameras   updating) 1766
23 – 29   September 2,762 PCNs issued (6 days enforcement) 2762
30 Sep – 6   October 1,885 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 1885
7 – 13   October 2,487 PCNs issued (5   days enforcement)  2487
14 – 20   October 3,640 PCNs issued  3640
21 – 27   October 3,879 PCNs issued  3879
28 Oct – 3   November 4,098PCNs issued  4098
4 – 10   November 1,921 PCNs   issued  1921
11 – 17   November 3,172 PCNs issued 3172
18 – 24   November 2,801 PCNs issued 2801
25 Nov – 2   December 2,553 PCNs issued 2553
15-18   August  (4 days enforcement, commenced   Wednesday) 1085
19-25 August 1741
26-01 Sept 880
02-08 Septd 850
09-15   Sept  (6 days enforcement, because of   the Skyride event) 841
16-22   Sept  (5 days enforcement, cameras   updating and gas works commenced) 324
23 – 29   September 405 PCNs issued (6 days enforcement) 405
30 Sep – 6   October 345 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 345
7 – 13   October 593 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 593
14 – 20   October 869 PCNs issued 869
21 – 27   October 755 PCNs issued (6   days enforcement)  755
28 Oct – 3   November 416PCNs issued  416
4 Nov – 10   November 146 PCNs issued # 146
11 – 17   November 240 PCNs issued # 240
18 – 24   November 251 PCNs issued # 251
25 Nov – 2   December 595 PCNs issued 595

– Of all PCNs reviewed, up to Monday 8 December 2013, there was a 30:70 split on YO and non-YO postcodes.

# – only one camera operational.

Shopper numbers down 10% in York City Centre.

285,000 fewer people have visited the Parliament Street area since new traffic restrictions were introduced in August.

Shambles empty
The number of visitors to the City has dropped dramatically since the new restrictions were introduced on Coppergate and on Lendal Bridge.

The latest figures have been released by the York Council following a Freedom of Information request

In total, footfall cameras on Parliament Street recorded 2.695 million people between 1st August and the start of the St Nicholas Fayre on 28th November.

The equivalent figure for 2012 was 2.980 million, a fall of 10%.

Figures recovered over the 4 days of the St Nicholas Fayre although the concentration of footfall may have been influenced by the positioning of the market.

The figures are even more disappointing given the relatively good weather that we have experienced so far this autumn.

They confirm that the new restrictions are having a major adverse effect on the economic viability of many retailers in the City centre.

The Council has previously resisted calls for the restrictions to be suspended at least until the busy pre Christmas period is over.

  • The detailed figures are:
  • August 746,340 visitors (780,646 in 2012 – 4%)
  • September 699,042 (798,182 – 12%)
  • October 717,634 (775,144 – 7%)
  • November 532,157 (646,226 -18%) to start of St Nicholas Fayre on 28th November

By contrast, in the first 7 months of the year, visitor numbers had fallen by a total of 5% with the decrease being blamed on a large increase in car parking charges.

A spreadsheet showing individual figures for each day can be found by clicking here.

A Council survey on residents and visitors reactions to the traffic restrictions can be found here


Alexander resigns from City centre role.

York City centre "to let"

York City centre “to let”

The Councils Leader is standing down from the chair of the “City Team York” group which was established in response to the national effort to improve the fortunes of the high street.

The move follows months of protests from City centre traders who have seen shopper numbers fall in the wake of the new traffic restrictions and huge increases in car parking charges introduced by the Labour led Council.

Launched in August last year, the group is made up of retailers, the city council and a range of professional and businesses organisations from across the city centre with a remit to improve business growth, resilience and economic vitality.

It replaced a City centre traders group which had worked closely with the Council for many years with the introduction of a cheap “shoppers car park” on Fossbank one of its achievements.

An advert for a new private sector chair has been published.

Closing date for applications is 31st December 2013 and full details for any business person who would be interested in applying for this voluntary post may be found here:

Lendal Bridge/Coppergate update published. Number fined tops 35,000!

Stand and deliver  Labour revive traditional transport funding in York

Stand and deliver
Labour revive traditional transport funding in York

25,911 motorists have attracted penalty charge notices, for using Lendal Bridge, since ANPR cameras were switched on to enforce restrictions at the beginning of September.

On Coppergate, a total of 9122 drivers have now been penalised.

Together that means that 35,033 drivers have been told to cough up £60 each.

That is the equivalent of over £2 million in fines income.

Of course, the amount actually received by the Council will be less than half that figure as many will pay early to get a £30 discount, while others will successfully challenge the fine.

It is still a damming indictment of the adequacy of the signage used to advertise the restrictions.

Fines levied by week. Click to enlarge

Fines levied by week. Click to enlarge

The figures are admitted in the Councils latest update report on the effects of the new traffic restrictions.

The report is otherwise remarkable for what it hides rather than what it reveals.

There are no footfall (shopper) statistics included, accident and air quality figures are missing, only the effects of the closure on park and ride bus services are reported (journey times up in October) while the normal stage carriage services (which have been hit by increased traffic congestion in other parts of the City) are omitted.

No information on journey times for drivers is provided.

The Council only admits that traffic volumes on Foss Islands Road and Clifton Bridge are up on the same period last year.

The report, such as it is, can be read by clicking here.

Lendal Bridge cameras – high fault levels Council admits


A Freedom of information request has revealed that the ANPR restriction enforcement cameras on Lendal Bridge were not working for long periods in late September and early October.

This will come as little consolation to the increasing number of visitors to the City who are being caught out by bus lane cameras.

Many are using this web site to vent their concerns.

Some say that they will never return to York.

Others are just bemused by the poor signage of the restrictions.

The Council has still not published its assessment report for October

The Council says that, “for technical reasons the cameras on Lendal Bridge were not operational in one or both directions on the following dates”.

  •  13/09/2013
  • 21/09/2013
  • 22/09/2013
  • 23/09/2013
  • 29/09/2013
  • 30/09/2013
  • 01/10/2013
  • 05/10/2013
  • 06/10/2013
  • 07/10/2013
  • 08/10/2013

Gridlock forces Lendal Bridge and Coppergate re-opening

Burst water main in York today

Burst water main in York today

As had been forecast, gridlock on the inner ring road forced the Council today to reopen Lendal Bridge and Coppergate to general traffic.

However it wasn’t a major accident on the trunk road network or very bad weather that prompted the Council to remove the restrictions.

A burst water main in the Piccadilly area was to blame.

The Council agreed to waive access restrictions on both Coppergate and Lendal Bridge.

However their decision came at lunch time and was too late to help the hundreds of drivers that had been caught up in the jams during the previous 2 hours.

The traffic restrictions are likely to be re-imposed tomorrow.

York City centre shopper decline started in 2012

York City centre "to let"

York City centre “to let”

The calamitous decline in the number of shoppers in the City centre first became apparent in 2012.

In that year, the new Labour administration increased car parking charges by 20p for residents.

Yearly footfall figures click to enlarge

Yearly footfall figures click to enlarge

In 2013 they went up a gain meaning that residents faced a 36% hike in just 2 years.

We forecast that this could have major implications for City centre traders.

The additional traffic restrictions have simply accelerated the downward spiral with “to let” notice springing up all around the City centre as shops pull out.

In the period up to 2011 the, then LibDem led, Council had frozen parking charges.

It had even reduced them at an innovatory “shoppers car park” at Foss Bank.

Footfall figures reveal that for the first 3 years of the recession (2008 – 2011) the numbers accessing the City centre were remarkably stable.

2012 saw a 6% reduction while this increased to 12% comparing September 2013 with the same month in 2012.

Bus Journeys in York Click to enlarge

Bus Journeys in York Click to enlarge

New traffic restrictions were blamed for the accelerating trend.

Meanwhile the numbers of bus passengers has also fallen away although the Council has so far refused to reveal the 2012 passenger numbers.

As we said yesterday, the Council seems to be frozen into inactivity with no real idea what to do to get itself out of the self created crisis.

Nero showed a greater sense of urgency.