The detailed new bus timetables – which will be introduced on Sunday – can now be viewed on the First web site.
However, the Council continues to refuse to release information about bus service reliability in the City.
Ironically a meeting is taking place today which talks about the importance of “journey planning”. It seeks to promote increased bus use but develops acute myopia on the issue of service reliability information.
Uncertainty is the single factor most likely to cause potential bus users to instead opt for the car.
The Council in response to the latest Freedom of Information request, says that it has entered into a confidentiality agreement with the local bus companies.
It receives reliability data but the council claims that it is prevented, by the terms of the agreement, from sharing the information with passengers.
Only an annual reliability figure is published and that on an obscure DPT web site. The latest (2011/12) figures suggest that around 80% of York services run on time.
Incredibly even reliability data on services paid for by the Council taxpayer (around £800,000 is paid out in subsidies each year) is not published.
What has compounded the mistake has been a decision to cease independent checks of service reliability. These would not be covered by the data sharing protocol and could – as happened in the period up to 2011 – be published. Labour stopped the checks shortly after taking office.
The so called data sharing protocol is effectively a restrictive practice. which is to the disadvantage of the taxpayer and bus passenger.
It is likely that – unless more information is offered – that an appeal to the Information Commissioner (and possibly the Ombudsman) may be lodged.
In the mean time the governments Transport Minister is being urged to introduce regulations which require all public transport providers to publish the same quality of service information which rail operators have been forced to do for over a decade.
Over 12 months ago the Minister responsible urged the Council to start providing more quality of service information.