Bus shelter upgrades get underway

Improvements to local bus shelters have got underway, with digital displays and audio installed at the bus shelters on Moorcroft Road (near the shops) and Eason View (near the junction with Chaloners Road).

The work has been made possible thanks to the £17.4m Bus Service Improvement Plan funding that was secured by the previous Lib Dem / Green administration which ran City of York Council before May 2023.

Where the display shows minutes, eg ’11 minutes’ then that is a real time estimate based on location information sent by the bus. When the bus is approaching (less than 1 minute away) it will display “Due”. If the display does not receive information from the vehicle it will display the scheduled timetable departure from that stop eg ‘12.25’.

The display may not receive information for a variety of reasons such as the equipment on the bus is missing/faulty or it is passing through an area with poor network signal. It is only as good as the information provided by the operators.

It is planned to roll out these features to more bus shelters over the coming months.

Bus route changes as resurfacing work starts

Moor Lane resurfacing work gets underway on Monday 19 June at 7pm. The overnight closure of the road between Cairnborrow and Eden Close will have an impact on the number 12 and number 14 bus services.

Due to the location of the closure, buses will not be able to operate beyond Grassholme and will instead terminate at Woodthorpe shops.

This means that the stops on Moor Lane beyond Grassholme and on the Alness Drive / Acomb Wood Drive / Bellhouse Way / Foxwood Lane loop will not be serviced after 7pm for the next ten weekday evenings. 

More information is available on the East Yorkshire buses website HERE

Call for number 12 timetable change

Councillor Stephen Fenton has asked council officers to work with Transdev to implement a change to the timetable for the number 12 bus service so that it will enable young people to get to school on time.

Transdev took over the route on 23 January after First Bus decided to withdraw from running the service. The service runs on a hourly basis, with Transdev agreeing with council officers to retain the number 12 timetable operated by First. The 12A service ended, but it was the timings of this service, rather than the 12, which best suited young people going to school.

For example, the current 12 timetable sees the bus depart Woodthorpe shops at 7.25am (which gets children to school too early) and 8.25am (which gets children to school too late).

This has led to a number of young people walking through to either Foxwood Lane or Eason View to catch the number 4 service operated by First, but this already busy service is struggling to cope – feedback from residents is that it is significantly overcrowded with the risk that passengers are left behind. This happened on Friday 27th January, when First ran a single decker which led to some passengers being left at the bus stop. Then on Monday 30th the scheduled number 4 service didn’t arrive, which again left passengers stranded.

Cllr Fenton has shared these example with council officers to highlight the need for a re-think of the number 12 timetable.

“Everyone wants the number 12 to be a success and to continue beyond the end of March. That is more likely to happen if the timetable is configured in a way that suits as many users of the service as possible, including young people going to school.”

Petition to save number 12 bus tops 1,000

Over 1,000 residents have signed a petition launched in December following an announcement by First that they plan to axe the number 12 bus service from 22nd January.

The online and hard copy petition – and an accompanying survey – was organised by Lib Dem councillors representing the Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield wards, as the loss of the number 12 would leave many hundreds of residents in Woodthorpe, Acomb Park and Foxwood with no practical access to public transport.

As well as the petition and survey, councillors organised a public meeting, which took place on 18th December at St James the Deacon Church Hall in Woodthorpe. At the meeting around 40 residents shared why the service is important for them, and what they would like the service to look like in future, if it can be retained.

The feedback gathered has been shared with council officers, who are currently working to find an operator to take on the number 12 service after 22nd January.

Stephen Fenton, one of the Lib Dem councillors for Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward, thanked all those residents who have signed the petition, completed the survey or attended the meeting. Cllr Fenton said: “It was clear from the turnout at the meeting that this is an issue which local residents feel very strongly about, and the numbers who have signed the petition further demonstrates the strength of feeling locally. There were many personal stories shared at the meeting about just how vital the bus service is to enable residents to get to school, college, work, medical appointments or just to have access to some social interaction.

“Many bus operators are struggling with increased costs and driver recruitment, which has impacted service reliability and in turn made it more difficult to retain and attract passengers. And with the Government financial support for the bus industry due to end in March, it has all created something of a ‘perfect storm.’ In York we are better placed than most to weather this storm, having successfully bid for £17m of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding, but the future remains uncertain. The priority has to be to retain geographical coverage to prevent many of York’s communities, such as Woodthorpe, being cut off from access to public transport.”

The petition reads “I the undersigned back the Lib Dem campaign to retain a bus service for the communities currently served by the number 12 and call for the Government help needed to ensure the service’s long term viability.”

First Bus to axe the number 12 service

The local Lib Dem team has vowed to fight to retain local bus services after news emerged that First is planning to withdraw the number 12 / 12A service entirely from 22nd January.

Councillors and campaigners from Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield wards are fighting to retain local bus services

The route is now being put out to tender in the hope that an operator will take it on and offer a service which residents can rely on.

A report to a council Executive meeting on 15th December notes that Government financial support for bus services will come to an end next March, putting further pressure on already financially-stretched local councils.

The number 12 already benefits from a subsidy from the council, but even with this support, First Bus seem determined to axe the service.

Cllr Stephen Fenton is encouraging residents to sign a petition to retain this vital service, and fill in a survey HERE

Stephen commented “Now we know that First are planning to axe this vital service, it’s critical that an operator is found. I would like to encourage residents to complete our survey so that we can work with council officers to ensure we have a service that meets residents’ needs and which they are more likely to want to use.”

Cllr Ashley Mason added: “Unless bus services receive urgent long term support from the Government both financially as well as through driver recruitment, services will continue to be under constant threat of cuts.”

The local Lib Dem team has organised a public meeting for residents to have their say on local bus services. It will be on Sunday 18th December at 1.30pm at St James the Deacon Church Hall on Sherringham Drive.

Councillors hit out at CityZap bus axe

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe Lib Dem councillor Ashley Mason has expressed concern at the potential impact of the decision by bus operator Transdev to axe the CityZap service between York and Leeds.

The service, which will cease operating on 19th November, has proved very popular with residents in Dringhouses who live along the route and commute to Leeds to work. Whilst passenger numbers have not fully recovered since the start of the pandemic, the CityZap has provided a convenient, affordable and sustainable transport offer for residents.

Councillor Ashley Mason commented:

“I appreciate the challenges that Transdev and other bus operators are facing, but it is very disappointing that a way could not be found to retain this direct service in some shape or form. Councillors would have been happy to invite users of the services to sit down with us and Transdev representatives to discuss this. With this unfortunate decision, users of the CityZap will be faced with more expensive and less convenient train journeys, or using a car, which from an environmental perspective is the worst possible outcome. The Coastliner service will remain but is less attractive as the morning journey from York Railway Station to Leeds takes an hour and a half, compared to an hour on the CityZap.

“I fear that unless Government takes seriously the warnings about ‘cliff-edge’ cuts to services when current funding streams run out, and provides investment that allows operators to plan ahead, there may be more bad news coming.”

Cllr Mason is asking local residents to let him know what the axing of the CityZap service will mean for them, so that he can make representations to Transdev to try to find a way in which the direct service that has proved popular with commuters could be retained in some form.

Have your say on ‘Enhanced Partnership’ bus plans

Residents are being encouraged to have their say about the detail of a proposed ‘Enhanced Partnership’ between the council and bus operators.

In April this year the Department for Transport made an indicative funding award of £17.3 million to City of York Council for its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). One of the proposed measures in the Plan is improvements to local bus service levels. To be able to make use of this funding, the council must enter into a statutory Enhanced Partnership with local bus operators.

There is now a public consultation on the Enhanced Partnership plans, which can be accessed at https://www.itravelyork.info/enhanced-partnership-consultation  The consultation closes on 8th September.

In the draft Enhanced Partnership Plan document on page 16 there is a proposed commitment (ref. A-BN1) for the council and bus operators to develop the core bus network, with a view to filling gaps in the current network provision.

In June and July the local Lib Dem councillor team undertook a residents’ survey in Woodthorpe and Acomb Park to gather feedback on local services and issues. One of the issues which frequently came up in the feedback was unhappiness with the number 12/12A bus service.

For many local residents, the 12/12A service is their only practical way of getting around, and so when the service doesn’t run to time or doesn’t turn up, it means that it can’t be relied on if you need to get to work, education or an appointment. And the withdrawal the 11S Sunday service when the pandemic began has left many residents effectively housebound every Sunday.

Last year we welcomed First’s introduction of the 12A service, to restore a half-hourly service between Woodthorpe and the city centre, but the route has not changed back to how it was, meaning that passengers travelling from town to the stops on the Woodthorpe loop have an elongated journey via Foxwood before coming back to Woodthorpe.

All of this means that if the service can’t be relied upon or doesn’t meet people’s needs, they are less likely to use it, and so the service becomes less viable financially.

We believe it is important that First, and the council, understand the importance of the number 12 service for Woodthorpe residents, so we are encouraging everyone to make their voice heard through this consultation.

Further details shared on Tadcaster Road cycling / walking scheme

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward councillors have welcomed the publication of further details of measures designed to support cycling, walking and bus use along the Tadcaster Road corridor and a commitment for further engagement with residents and modal groups on ‘light segregation’ proposals designed to improve cyclist safety.

These proposals will be considered at a public Executive Member for Transport Decision Session on Tuesday 18 January at 10am.

The report being discussed at the meeting is available HERE.

The proposed £1.4m scheme is funded from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund and will be delivered as part of a wider package of measures funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. The £1.4m funding can only be used on measures to promote cycling, walking and bus use, and cannot be diverted into general highway maintenance.

The Tadcaster Road proposals have been informed by feedback from residents

The latest draft of the proposals take into account feedback from residents that was submitted during a consultation exercise held in August and September 2021, which informed revised proposals set out in a report to a Decision Session held in October 2021. The October report stated that work would be undertaken to explore options for ‘light segregation’ along sections of Tadcaster Road to offer cyclists better protection. It also committed to looking again at proposals to relocate an inbound bus stop near to Slingsby Grove and the positioning of a proposed new pedestrian crossing in that area, both of which had attracted comments and concerns in the consultation.

The report to be considered at the 18 January meeting contains further revised proposals – summarised below – which reflect feedback received and detailed design and costing work undertaken:

  • Widening of the footpath / cycle path at the corner of Tadcaster Road and Knavesmire Road.
  • Confirmation of the proposed pedestrian crossing near to the junction with Nelsons Lane.
  • The pedestrian crossing proposed for The Horseshoe area is to be moved to just south of Slingsby Grove (nearer to the shops), retaining a pedestrian refuge to cater for crossing movements near Middlethorpe Grove.
  • The proposal to relocate the inbound bus stop near Slingsby Grove 75 metres south has been dropped. Instead, it is proposed to retain the bus stop within the shopping area, placing it approximately 20 metres north of its current location. This would create a continuous parking / loading bay outside the shops and provide an opportunity to take steps to improve sight lines for vehicles turning right out of Slingsby Grove. The report commits to localised consultation with residents and businesses in the Slingsby Grove area about the proposed changes from the plans presented last year.
  • Work is to continue to identify measures to improve the very narrow shared cycle / foot path opposite the Sim Balk Lane junction – known as ‘cemetery corner’ – with funds set aside to accommodate a scheme at this location.

Some sections of ‘light segregation’ are proposed as a means to improve cyclist safety on the corridor. The report notes that a variety of different techniques are being used by different local authorities. It states that design options should be considered carefully to minimise maintenance and visual intrusion while protecting users in the lane.

The various constraints along Tadcaster Road are summarised in the report, and these mean it is not possible to provide segregation all the way along the corridor but it is proposed to use segregation (in the form of bolt-down ‘rails’) at a number of locations where cyclists are most vulnerable. It is also proposed to introduce some light segregation in the form of a ‘stepped cycle lane’ on a section of Tadcaster Road in the Hunters Way area, where the road is wide enough to accommodate this.

The report commits to further engagement to refine the approach to light segregation which is proposed and to identify and address any issues or concerns that may be raised. Local councillors will ensure that residents are kept informed and have the opportunity to raise any comments or concerns.

Revised Tadcaster Road proposals announced

Following the recent consultation on outline proposals to support cycling, walking and bus use along the Tadcaster Road corridor, City of York Council officers have reviewed the feedback and have proposed a set of revised proposals, which will be discussed at a public Decision Session on Tuesday 19th October.

Local councillors held some drop-in sessions in September to give residents an opportunity to view the £1.4 million proposals, which are funded from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transforming Cities Fund and are to be delivered as part of a wider package of measures funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. Feedback from these drop-in sessions was fed in as part of the consultation.

Drop-in session held at Little Hob Moor on 18 September

The report for the Decision Session notes that a significant number of respondents were not in favour of some of the interventions intended to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers (especially the new signalised crossings), but many respondents felt that the provision for cyclists, pedestrians and bus passengers did not go nearly far enough. A number of alternative schemes were proposed, or alternative uses of the funding, including suggestions that all of the funding should be allocated to a single intervention, such as substantial modifications to Moor Lane roundabout to improve it for cyclists.

The report notes that a ‘lesson learned’ from the consultation is the need to prioritise funding to make the greatest possible overall benefit, but accepting that, at current funding levels, schemes which comply with every aspect of LTN 1/20 (Government guidance on cycle infrastructure design) may not always be possible.

Set out below are some of the recommended revisions to the initial proposals:

  • The proposal to widen the footpath from the Tyburn to the Marriott Hotel to create an off-road shared cycle / foot path has been abandoned. This seems to be in response to opposition to a shared cycle / foot path such as that proposed. The report states that creating an off-road path that would be wide enough to accommodate segregation would require the felling of 12 mature trees
  • It is proposed to explore options for ‘light segregation’ to give cyclists in the on-road cycle lane some protection
  • Proposed footpath widening near The Horseshoe has been dropped after residents queried the necessity for this
  • In response to overwhelming opposition to the proposal to relocate the bus stop from outside the Slingsby Grove shops 75 metres south, officers will look for an alternative location (hopefully in consultation with councillors, businesses and residents)

For the proposed off-road cycle lane section opposite the Slingsby Grove shops, local councillors fed back the suggestion that rather than install a new cycle path behind the layby (which more confident cyclists wouldn’t use), could the layby be moved into that area to create a ‘buffer’ to enable cyclists to continue along the road without fear of being ‘doored’. This doesn’t appear to have been considered.

Whilst there isn’t currently the money available for a major project at the Moor Lane roundabout, the report talks about options to widen the two-way cycle paths around the roundabout (many of which are very narrow) by possibly reducing the lanes on the approach roads from dual to single. This did not form part of the consultation, and it is unclear what assessment has been made of the impact of such a proposal, for example on bus reliability (which is meant to be a key aim of the overall scheme). There are concerns in particular about the possible impact that such a proposal could have on the reliability of the number 12 service during peak times, as it has to navigate the roundabout on its journeys to and from Woodthorpe.

Moor Lane approach to the Askham Bar roundabout

The report confirms that a feasibility study has been completed which considers subway options at the crossing point between York College and Tesco. A viable layout has been developed but not progressed due to an estimated cost of £1.5 million which is beyond what is available and would not fit with the funding conditions. A subway option would also be subject to land take and further design, assessment and consultation as part of a later phase of work.

New 12A to restore half-hourly daytime bus service

Councillor Stephen Fenton has welcomed the restoration of a half-hourly bus service between Woodthorpe and the city centre.

First York have announced that from Monday 27 September there will be a new 12A service which will run Monday to Saturday daytime on an hourly basis between Piccadilly, Foxwood and Woodthorpe, This means that, with the continuing hourly number 12 service between Woodthorpe and Monks Cross, there will in effect be a half-hourly daytime service between Woodthorpe and the city centre.

The new timetable is available on the First York website HERE  

Some points to note:

  • The 12A will operate between Woodthorpe shops and Piccadilly but will not stop at Askham Bar
  • It will go round the ‘Woodthorpe loop’ once, as the 12 does at the moment
  • There’ll still be an hour’s gap between the 6.25am and 7.25am departures from Woodthorpe shops, as the first 12A departure from Woodthorpe shops to Piccadilly will be at 7.55am

Stephen commented “I would like to thanks the many residents who sent me e-mails and messages explaining the impact that the temporary reduction in the frequency of the number 12 has had on them – this feedback has been very helpful in demonstrating to First that the service needs to be restored to its previous frequency as soon as possible. And I would like to thank First York for listening to and acting on this feedback from residents.”