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Council sets out priorities for improving bus services in York

Published Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Next week, we'll be putting forward a multi-million pound bid for government funding for major changes to bus provision in the city.

Ahead of the Decision Session for the Executive Member for Transport next week (19 October), we've published our Bus Service Improvement Plan.

The plan, a document required by the government’s Department for Transport (DfT) National Bus Strategy published in March 2021, reflects the key priorities for improving bus services across the city and requests around £34m from the DfT over the next 3 years and a further £14m post 2025 to improve York’s bus network. It states that the vision for York bus network is to be inclusive, accessible to all, attractive and welcoming, becoming a source of pride for the city and its residents.

The document responds to consultation with operators and adjacent local authorities. The funding it requests has been shaped by feedback from York Bus Forum and York Civic Trust’s bus policy work. Furthermore, the plan reflects operational assessments of the network, research with bus passengers and our own 'Our Big Conversation' engagement with local residents and businesses earlier this year.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne , Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport said;

Providing sustainable and accessible public transport across the city is fundamental to achieving the city’s carbon reduction goals and supporting the growth strategy set out in the Local Plan. To encourage greater use of the bus network, services must be safe, convenient and attractive to residents, commuters and visitors.

“Over the last year, electrification of the city centre bus network has had a positive impact on air quality and 44% of respondents to Our Big Conversation told us this has improved their experience of the city centre. We know York residents want to do their bit to tackle climate change and 17% of those surveyed also said they plan to use public transport more to help ease congestion and reduce air pollution over the next few years.

“Here in York we are fortunate that our latest Bus Service Improvement Plan can build upon the legacy of a successful, high standard bus service. Whilst we must continue to develop and improve this essential service, we know that the bus network is the 11th highest used in England, outside of London.

“I look forward to considering the proposals within York’s Bus Service Improvement Plan as a key contribution to further developing public transport for the city.”

Key areas of funding asks within the plan include:

  • £3m to improve bus service frequencies, provide more routes and support the reintroduction of park and ride services from Poppleton Bar following its use as a COIVD-19 testing centre
  • £5m to provide better, cheaper tickets for young people, and better tickets which are valid for travel on all bus services in York
  • £12m to complete the electrification of York’s bus fleet, following in the footsteps of the 33 electric buses already operating in the city
  • £15m to provide bus priorities and support rapid bus services to new developments around York
  • £5m to upgrade York’s park and ride network, allowing it to support a wider range of bus services, provide overnight parking at more sites and refurbish the two oldest sites, at Rawcliffe Bar and Grimston Bar.

We've also asked for funding to provide benches and lighting at more bus stops, provide audio announcements on all buses in York and install 100 more real time bus information screens across the city.

The city’s Bus Service Improvement Plan is a key supporting document of the council’s new Local Transport Plan which is currently being developed. The Bus Service Improvement Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis to respond to the changing bus market and to tie in with other policy development such as the Carbon Reduction Plan, Local Plan and Local Transport Plan.

View the full agenda for the Executive Member for Transport Decision Session on 19 October at 10:00am.

All webcast meetings can be viewed online.