New Park and ride contract may bring changes at Askham Bar

Park and Ride network

It seems that the council has finally received a bid to run its park and ride service. When the contract was first advertised no bids were forthcoming.

In the main the service will continue at it is today.

Key changes include

  • a facility to use contactless bank cards to pay for journeys.
  • Motorists will be able to park overnights (for up to three days) at the Askham Bar and Monks Cross sites (involving the provision of barrier access).
  • New Euro IV compliant buses including the replacement of some articulated single deck buses with double deckers
  • 11 single deck fully electric buses will be retained together with 3 fully electric double deckers

New Alexander Dennis Enviro 400MMC buses proposed

However users face a fare hike from £2-90 to £3-10 with a 10 minute frequency.

A number of enhancements including a late night service are on offer but are unlikely to be accepted for cost reasons.

The new contract will reduce the council’s income to an estimated £80,000 a year.

The Council have refused to disclose the name of the proposed operator.

The new contract will start next year.

Christmas bus services in York

“Free” Park and Ride from some sites on Boxing Day

All Services
Click to access
Click to access

[5]Additional buses from:

  • (1) Wigginton at 0607, 0633, 0725 /
  • Chapelfields at 0625, 0655 /
  • (5/5A) Strensall at 0620 /
  • Acomb at 0620, 0650 /
  • (11) Bishopthorpe at 0703 /
  • Ashley Park at 0753 /
  • (12) Foxwood Lane at 0635, 0725 /
  • Monks Cross at 0658, 0728
Park and Ride
Click for full timetable

Click for full timetable

[6] Free buses on 3, 7 and 9 running every 15 minutes, calling at all stops: York Boxing Day timetable

Later park and ride bus services this Christmas

 City of York Council and First York are making it easier for residents and visitors to stay in the city centre longer and take advantage of extended shop opening times in the run up to Christmas with a later running Park & Ride service.

Park and ride buses

Park & Ride services will be operating later than usual every Thursday evening until 17 December inclusive, with last buses leaving the city centre at around 9.30pm.

Additional late buses will also be running to and from the Designer Outlet with the last pick up from the city centre at 9.30pm on weekdays and 8.19pm on Saturdays until 23 December.

Shoppers looking to take advantage of the Boxing Day sales will be able to make use of three of the city’s Park & Ride services for free. Services from Askham Bar, Designer Outlet and Monks Cross will be free of charge on Saturday 26 December and will run from 7am with the last city centre pick up at approximately 6.40pm.
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Use of electric buses in York to be suspended

New electric bus fleet launched last week

New electric bus fleet launched last month

As we said yesterday, it would be prudent to suspend the use of electric buses in York until the cause of yesterdays vehicle fire had been established.

It seems that, after some dithering, First intend to do just that.

UPDATE: First say that the vehicle manufacturers are undertaking precautionary checks on the fleet. Park and Ride services are unaffected

Safety must come first and we were concerned that comments from the York Council (which lets the contract for the Park and Ride services on which the buses are used) and local bus managers implied yesterday that the buses would continue in use.

In petrol powered engines, fires were not uncommon. Fires are comparatively rare in newer vehicles and, those that do occur, can usually be traced to faulty electrical components.

New technology – like that deployed in the battery powered bus fleet – is another matter. The technology is in its infancy and , although inherently safer than the internal combustion alternative, deployment needs to be cautious.

A quick investigation should reveal the cause of the fire.

If, for example, it turns out that a spanner was left by maintenance staff in the engine compartment, and this led to the short circuit which caused the fire, then that would  be one thing. A relatively easy fix (count the spanners!) and get the buses back on the road!

If a component has been incorrectly fitted then again the remedy is obvious.

Only if faulty components or – heaven forbid – a design flaw is revealed would an extensive and debilitating delay become inevitable.

We are after all just going through the first sustained period of warm weather since the large scale introduction of the buses in the City and who knows whether that might be factor?

So full marks to First for adopting a cautious approach, albeit a little late in the day.

They, and the Council, now face the headache of back-filling the gaps in the Park and Ride fleet.

Hopefully the York Council will now be open and transparent about the incident and the action that is being taken.

Park and Ride compensation claim

The York Council is to seeking liquidated damages for the 5 month delay in completing the park and site and associated highways works at Poppleton.

Weeds2 Park adn Ride siteIt says that the issues will be assessed during the preparation of the final accounts for the scheme which was completed using “using a standard construction contract which includes liquidated damage clauses if the works over run beyond the contract completion date

The ongoing road works became something of a joke for residents living on the west of the city with deadline after deadline passing without completion.

The roadwork’s were temporarily lifted for the start of the Tour de France but were re-imposed shortly afterwards.

Even the Park and Ride site itself was opened 2 months before necessary landscaping work was completed.

The extent of any compensation likely to be claimed is not yet known.

Residents living near the A59 roundabout are understood to be seeking compensation from the Council for the delays and inconvenience that they suffered

Moor Lane bus stop – good news for pensioners

Park and Ride bus stop Moor LaneFirst have confirmed that pensioners with a valid pass joining the Park and Ride bus at the Moor Lane car park stop WILL be entitled to travel free of charge.

At present pensioners with a pass joining Park and Ride services are charged 80p a journey.

Ann Reid says,

“I fought hard to retain this stop to allow residents who live within walking distance to still use the P& R service and avoid driving to the new site but the increased fares might well see increased car use”

Big bus fares hike for those using Moor Lane old park and ride stop

Park and Ride bus stop Moor Lane

The Council and the bus company have decided that Park & Ride fares won’t be available for journeys from Moor Lane Car Park from Sunday 7 September.

The Adult Single fare to the City Centre will remain at £2, but Park & Ride return fares won’t be available and MinsterCards won’t be valid to/from this stop.

For customers making a return journey, the FirstDay ticket is priced at £3.70 can be used across the  whole York network.

This compares to the £2 – 70 standard return Park and Ride fare (which will remain available for anyone willing and able to walk the extra 600 yards along Tadcaster Road to the new car park).

It seems that although this bus stop is now being treated as part of the normal “stage carriage” network, pensioners will also not enjoy free travel. We understand that they will have to continue to pay the standard 80p per journey.

While we are pleased that this bus stop has been retained as it is appreciated by many older residents who live in nearby flats, we think that the authorities are being harsh in implementing what is effectively a 37% increase in fares.

It seems irrational that passengers joining the service at this stop – and using what would otherwise be vacant seats – will be charged more for what will be a shorter journey than those who joined the service at Askham Bar!

 

York Park and Ride site let down

Still work to do at Poppleton Bar

Weeds2 Park adn Ride site

The York Council issued a statement on Friday claiming that work at the Poppleton Bar Park and Ride site had finally been finished – 5 months behind schedule.

But as our photos reveal, this is far from the truth with both landscaping and white lining work still outstanding. The site compound is also still in place.

Sadly the City has become all too familiar with weed growth in gutters, public spaces and even bridges around the City over the last 6 months.

However claiming a site is finished while it is still covered in 3 foot high weeds is surely a bit too disingenuous for even the Councils Labour Leadership.

It is after all the first point of call for some tourists and their impression of the City is likely to be coloured by their early experiences.

Low flying cyclists?

Low flying cyclists?

More seriously, from a safety perspective, is the Councils decision to encourage shared cycle/pedestrian use of the path from the A1237 underpass to the Park and Ride site.

unsegregated cycle/pedestrian path

unsegregated cycle/pedestrian path

Apart from one sign – which we suspect most pedestrians will not recognise – there is no reminder of the need to take extra care because of possible conflicts.

At the very least there needs to be repeater signs and warnings painted on the surface of the path.

At the moment, there not even a white line separation.

Organisations represented partially sighted people have been very critical about this kind of arrangement in the past.

No doubt they will be knocking on Cllr Levene’s door before very long!

 

Poppleton Bar delays continue as Council responds to Freedom of Information request

At the last Council meeting Councillors were told that all work on the Poppleton Bar Park and Ride project would be completed by the end of July.

No end to Poppleton Bar works

No end to Poppleton Bar works

However there is still a considerable amount of work outstanding with periodic impacts on congestion levels in the area.

While the final May deadline for conclusion of the whole Access York contract is long past, it is unclear why there are continuing delays at Poppleton (other than the obvious one that the contractors are simply not fully resourcing their contract obligations).

Cycle tunnel in use but no lane marking on paths

Cycle tunnel in use but no lane marking on paths

Councillor Ann Reid is now pressing for answers and some have emerged as responses to Freedom of Information requests

One (click to download) confirmed that the whole Access York project – of which the Poppleton works form part – was due to be completed by 23rd May.

Details of the road closure orders have also been published on the Council’s web site

Meanwhile, the permanent traffic signals at the A59 junction with the Park and Ride access road are now in place, but the following work is still outstanding

  1. Considerable surfacing and landscaping work
  2. White lining (e.g. on the cycle path exit from the A1237 pedestrian/cycle tunnel. (If this is intended to be a shared cycle/[pedestrian space then it does not seem to comply with the specification agreed with the Blind and Partially Sighted Association)
24 hour lighting on new roundabout

24 hour lighting on new roundabout

Yesterday (Thursday) the street lights in the area were permanently lit. Taken with the decision to exclude the provision of on-site electricity generation from the project, this does seem to fly in the face of the Councils environmental policies?

Drivers now want a realistic completion date for the project.

Residents would also like to be reassured that there are penalty clauses in the contract which will be invoked to compensate the Council, taxpayers and drivers for the inconvenience and additional expense that they have suffered over the last few months.

Askham Bar Park and Ride college boost

The Construction Division at York College has worked alongside main contractor Balfour Beatty to produce a fitting sculpture for the new Askham Bar Park&Ride site, owned by City of York Council and operated by First bus.

Askham Bar bus waiting area

Askham Bar bus waiting area

The sculpture, a medieval stone window in a brick surround, depicts the heritage of the city as the site is situated on the original roman road leading to the gateway to the City of York.
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