Terry Walker, Transport Planner from Development and Transport, spoke about bus services in the ward. He explained that no one could attend from First as they are currently restructuring, which means that the management team will be moving from York to Leeds. Cllr. Simpson-Laing invited the meeting to address questions about the bus service to Mr Walker.
Q. There is no start/finish date for the timetable for the No. 1 bus route and the published timetable is unspecific, indicating that it will travel at frequent intervals. How is it possible to estimate the time of a bus?
A. The paper leaflet has a start date but it is not prominent and it’s common not to put an end date on the timetable as it’s often not known when it will be altered. The new timetables should be available in a week. There shouldn’t be reduced frequency at peak times. “Frequent intervals” is used by many companies, and is taken to mean at least every ten minutes, and when advertised as such it is monitored by the industry regulator. The interval should not be more than 15 minutes, allowing the company 5 minutes leeway. It was originally introduced to increase frequency, but in practice it cuts down the information against which the company is monitored.
Each bus stop has a unique number. If you send a text message with this number, and if the bus has tracking equipment, you can get an estimated arrival time. If there are problems with the service it defaults to the scheduled times, which can be misleading. It’s not perfect, but when it’s working well it’s very good.
Q. The X54 service is now run by two different companies, but you can’t split your journey between the companies.
Q. The X54 has limited stops and there is inconsistency between drivers about what the stops are. There is also inconsistency in ticket prices.
A. (Cllr. Simpson-Laing) It is the national policy of First not to take up cross-ticketing schemes, but they have done it elsewhere so they could do it in York.
A. (Terry Walker) The council supplements moving between bus companies, so the other company should offer a First York customer a maximum £1 supplementary fare.
Q. Some companies don’t offer this at all, TransDev for example.
Q. (Cllr Simpson-Laing) Lots of children going to Millthorpe and All Saints schools use the No. 10 bus in the morning. On the 7.46 bus there are often up to 20 people standing and children sitting three to a seat. The next bus is at 8.15, but it doesn’t arrive at Blossom St. until 9am, so the 7.46 is the only bus the children can take. This is potentially dangerous. Because we only have a half-hourly service, we need a double decker bus on the route.
Q. Because we have to change buses, it takes 1 ½ hours to get to Bishopthorpe.
A. 18 months ago First wanted to increase the frequency of the No. 10 bus to 15 minutes, but then road works on the route damaged public confidence and the problems with reliability drove people away. They may increase the frequency when the bollard is working at the new Manor School, but they are waiting to see how it affects the route. It’s in their hands because it’s their commercial service but we are exploring the possibility of getting the frequency back to every 20 minutes.
Q. What route will it take to Poppleton?
A. The nearest it will get is Millfield Lane.
Q. It now costs £1.30 on the First service, which is a 30p increase.
A. How much do they need to sustain services? We don’t have access to their books to know.
Q. Would the frequency of the No. 10 bus increase to 20 minutes for the whole day?
A. I expect it would be all day. We’ll have to see what they say about whether they can increase frequency without putting an extra bus into the system.
Q. Is the Ripon bus subsidised? Is it possible to reroute it through Poppleton village to Poppleton Station?
A. I expect not because the timetable doesn’t allow for it. I can enquire about whether it might be possible at off-peak times, between 9 and 3.
A. (Cllr. Simpson-Laing) The Rural West councillors are applying pressure to deliver this service.
Q. How successful is the airport bus?
A. They reduced the frequency and put buses on the route instead of coaches. They are happy to continue in its current form – it is covering costs.
Q. Will the airport bus pick up en route?
A. It’s first stop is Fox, Ainsty and Millfield Lane and any stop thereafter.
Q. Can you phone ahead and request or book a stop?
A. That’s a very good suggestion – I’ll pass it on to First, as well as your queries about Trans Dev, Harrogate Coaches, the First website and the capacity on the No. 10.