Transport changes in York

A raft of changes to transport and travel in York will be discussed at a meeting taking place on 11th May. The changes include

e-scooters & e-bikes

Officials claim that there have been no accidents involving the hire scooters since they were introduced to York last year. No information is provided on reliability or the scooters vulnerability to vandalism.

Very recently e-bikes have been added to the hire options available.

Officials are now proposing to extend their availability to areas outside the outer ring road. Initially these will include Haxby, Wigginton and Poppleton.

Bus franchising option rejected.

The Government is set to end the COVID-19 bus support grants in July 2021. They may be extended in certain circumstances.

Councillors are set to reject an opportunity to introduce bus franchising into the City. In effect this option allows the Council to seek tenders to run bus services on specific routes or zones. It offers an opportunity to influence fare levels and frequencies and avoids competition. However, it could be a very expensive option

In York, which (pre virus) had a generally well used bus service,  several routes already operate on a contract basis. These include the popular park and ride services and those to and from the University.

Seven bus companies currently operate in York. The largest in First.

Instead of extended franchise working, the authority seems likely to opt for what is known as an “enhanced partnership”.

By October, Councils must publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP), setting out how bus services will be improved in the local area.

ResPark decision for Tadcaster Road area

The Council is set to turn down a request for a Res Parking zone to be set up in the Slingsby Grove/Royal Chase area. Residents turned the idea down in a recent poll.

A scheme will  be introduced in the St Edwards Close area where the majority of residents supported the idea.

“e-bikes” to be added to York e-scooter trial?

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The trial of e-scooters has been operating in York since the 12th October.

According to a Council report, “the e-scooters are being introduced in a phased approach, gradually increasing the service area and number of e-scooters available.

This has split the city broadly into 5 sectors. Currently e-scooters are available in Sector 1 and 2, which includes e-scooter provision at the University of York, York Hospital, York St John’s University, and city centre locations.

 In the first six weeks of the trial, 10 parking locations were available for scooters with 116 e-scooters available for hire.

Over the first six weeks of the trial, 3,822 trips were taken, with a total of 25,012km travelled on e-scooters. During this period, no incidences (collisions) were reported”.

The report says, “other local authority areas participating in the trial have noted an increase in use of private e-scooters which remain illegal to ride on the public highway. Whilst their use has not been as prevalent in York, as the trial continues we may see a similar increase in use of private e scooters”.

The organisers of the scheme (TIER)  now want to expand the scooter numbers to 700 and add in some electric bikes.

 The rental of e-bikes would follow the same model as for e-scooters, with riders unlocking and paying for usage via a mobile phone app.  In line with government regulation, the maximum speed-assist of the e-bikes would be 15.5mph, with the power not exceeding 250 watts. Geo-fencing technology would be used to ensure a user cannot end their trip outside of designated parking locations and will continue the hire cost if left outside of these locations.

Pricing for e-bikes would be at the same cost as e-scooters, with £1 to unlock and £0.15 per minute to ride. (Thus a 20 minute ride from Acomb to the City centre would cost more than the equivalent bus fare)

Communal use transport, of course,  presents its own issues during the pandemic.

The proposal is to expand use as follows;

Sector 3 to include Clifton and Rawcliffe in January;

· Sector 4 to include Southbank and Heworth in February;

· Sector 5 to expand to the rest of the city from March 2021.

A meeting next week will decide whether to agree to expand the number of e-scooters available to 700. It is unclear how many e-bikes might be deployed.

There have been many previous attempts made to establish casual bike hire services in York. None have been successful, possibly because of the compact nature of the City which makes walking a viable option for many “journeys”.