Tuesday, 13 September 2022

York Plans for an Enhanced Bus Partnership.

City of York Council’s executive will be asked to approve plans for an Enhanced Bus Partnership, which will unlock £17.36m in Government funding to improve bus services locally.

    In July 2022, the Department for Transport confirmed the funding award to the council as part of its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP).

    Creation of the “Enhanced Partnership” is a condition for receiving the BSIP funding.

    This award is in addition to £8.4m ZEBRA (Zero Emission Bus Regional Area) funding which the council has been allocated, to be match-funded by bus operators.

    York was one of only two places in the Yorkshire region to receive indicative BSIP funding, which, once confirmed, will enable the council and local bus operators to implement a range of improvements to the city’s bus network and associated infrastructure.

    Proposed improvements include:Upgrades to York’s bus infrastructure, including stops, shelters, improved bus information and real-time information screens.
    Better ticketing and cheaper fares for young people
    Improvements to local bus service levels and new bus priorities
    Park and Ride site upgrades, including overnight parking and improved connections to longer-distance bus services
    Development of a customer charter to include redress, particularly around late buses and buses which do not run
    A feasibility study for a new city centre shuttle service
    Provision of audio-visual announcements on buses and at bus stops

    Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said: “We’d like to thank everyone for sharing their views on the draft agreement, which will be considered before the improvement programme begins.

    “The plans outline a clear and ambitious vision for the future of bus services in the city.

    “The funding will help us improve bus services across York to make them more inclusive, accessible and attractive, adapting to new travel patterns and expectations of local residents businesses and visitors.”

    Cllr Andy D’Agorne, executive member for Transport, added: “This is a critical time for public transport in the face of changing travel patterns, increased costs and staffing challenges.

    “The BSIP funding represents a great chance to drive positive change across the city, upgrading services working in partnership with local operators.

    “The significant investment and the new ‘Enhanced Partnership’ between the council and local bus operators sets out the responsibilities of both and makes a commitment to honouring them for the benefit of residents and visitors.”

    The council executive meeting takes place at 5.30pm on 15 September.

    Focus Comment - Enhanced Bus Partnerships are still on offer. They give Councils the opportunity to work closely with local bus operators to give passengers services based on local needs identified and agreed between the two parties.

    A number of cities have not embraced this idea and instead have decided to run all their services through franchising, which puts all the costs at the door of the councils.
    The London system of franchising has been put forward as the answer to running buses, but unfortunately this has backfired, as London can no longer fully fund the bus services and are having to make big cuts.to their services. The government say that they don't have a bottomless pit of money to keep increasing the subsidies so any councils pushing for franchising should take this into account.