There are two aspects of the new Park and Ride services which the Labour Council Leadership will be keen to avoid discussing over the next few days
The first is the crass stupidity of launching the Poppleton Park and Ride site before road works in the area had been completed.
Another 2 or 3 weeks and the service could have been sold – to those travelling to the City from the north – as being a quicker, cheaper, congestion reducing and a more environmentally friendly way of accessing the City.
It is none of these things at present with traffic congestion as likely to delay the park and ride buses as those drivers who continue their journeys into the City by car.
This morning (off peak) the electric buses were taking over 5 minutes to exit the site and cross the A1237 junction.
Not surprisingly the buses were empty with only a handful of cars parked at the new centre.
The second policy – now relegated to the long grass – is Labours “Quality Bus Contract” plan.
When In opposition, they were keen to blame all public transport deficiencies in the City on the lack of influence that the Council had on bus fares and routing policy.
Labour’s solution was to introduce what is known as a “Statutory Quality Bus Contract”.
This, in effect, is a franchising system when bus companies bid to provide services to a contract specification set by the Council.
Labour were warned in 2009 that their plan was impossibly expensive to operate and would only get the go ahead in areas where bus use was falling.
Decisions taken in 2011 by the new Labour administration – not least scrapping the popular ftr service – meant that bus usage reversed a trend of several years and started to decline.
However, more recently, timetable changes have reversed the trend again.
In 2010, when decisions on how to take forward a trial of a bus contract system were being considered, the Council agreed to trial the use of the franchise system in part of the City.
The area selected was York north west – essentially the Poppleton/Acomb to City centre quadrant.
One of the options was to integrate the new Park and Ride services with the stage carriage services in the area, providing a more frequent service for some parts of the Boroughbridge Road/Poppleton area.
It was likely that off peak services would have benefited considerably.
After spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the miscalculated “bus contract” adventure Labour quietly abandoned their plans some 18 months ago.
Unfortunately they now appear also to have ditched the promised integrated public transport system in north west York!