York Council may bid for government fund for huge improvements in local bus services

16 February 2012

City of York Council’s cabinet member for city strategy, Councillor Dave Merrett, will be asked to agree to take steps towards massive improvements for the city’s bus users at a decision session meeting on Tuesday 21 February.

He will be asked to agree that the council puts in a bid to the Department for Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund in partnership with the city’s bus operators, and supports another bid to the fund by West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (PTE).

To support the council’s priority to Get York Moving, Councillor Merrett is to consider whether a bid should be made for £4.2m of funding from the Government’s Better Bus Area Fund and the council’s Economic Infrastructure Fund (EIF). The bid will be supported by local bus operator investment.

If successful, this bid will cover three main aspects that will enable York’s Quality Bus Partnership to launch a smart ticket to be used across the city’s bus operators.

This would build on plans to introduce a paper based ticket which may be used on any bus, regardless of the operator, later this year. The smart ticket will make bus travel far more attractive, as there would no longer be any need for passengers to struggle to find change for their fares and buy different tickets for different operators. Coupled with targeted marketing initiatives and better on-street bus information, the new range of ticketing options will promote greater bus usage.

The second part of the bid would create five city centre bus interchanges at Stonebow (for the west of the city), Piccadilly (south), the railway station (west), the Theatre Royal (north), and Rougier Street / Station Road (centre). The new interchanges would feature better infrastructure for people waiting for buses, clear printed timetables and maps, and real time travel information.

The third part of the bid would be for a range of measures to improve the ease of bus travel through the city centre. These would include CCTV to enforce the existing traffic restrictions in Coppergate, so reducing the queues that are often caused there by vehicles driving illegally; a bus lane along part of Clarence Street; and a bus controller for all services to monitor punctuality of services and take action to restore punctuality if necessary.

In addition, the council is considering supporting a bid to the fund by the West Yorkshire PTE, which is bidding for funding for the quicker delivery of smart ticketing across the region. This bid, if successful, would secure up to £0.75m of funding for the city to develop on-street ticketing facilities.

Councillor Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for City Strategy, said: “If successful, this bid would see a major step forward in improving York’s local bus services, which we know is a top transport priority for York residents. Across operator ‘smart’ ticketing, much better bus interchange points and measures to tackle journey hold ups in the city centre will all help to bring York’s local bus services into the 21st century, and give residents a real alternative to the car.”


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