“York’s voice for bus users”
2018 © York Bus Forum
2018 © York Bus Forum
Progress to Date
Following the initial meeting, we have met at least once a month with 6-20 attendees and are also actively involved in the York Environment Forum www.yorkenvironmentforum.org.uk
We are establishing ourselves as the voice for bus users in York. We are in the process of establishing strategic partnerships with parish councils and groups that advocate for seniors and other actual or potential bus users.
We are seeking affiliation to Bus Users UK (the national lobby group for bus users) www.bususers.org/, which will give access to valuable information about public transport. We have good links with the Campaign for Better Transport’s National Campaigns Team www.bettertransport.org.uk/ and with its West and North Yorkshire Local Group www.bettertransport.org.uk/west_yorkshire_local_group
We have been active in many other directions in an attempt to raise the profile of YBF and arranged a series of “drop-in” sessions at library cafes to receive user views. A presence was also arranged at a One Planet York www.oneplanetyork.co.uk/ event at York University in June 2016 and the Over-50s Fair at the Guildhall in September 2016, arranged by York Older Persons Assembly www.yorkassembly.org.uk/y1/
The Forum has been successful in its application to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Community Fund, who have awarded us £1700. This includes £1200 for “Core” funding and £500 for “Access” funding. The Core funding will support the establishment of the Forum so it can operate in a self-sustaining manner, and will allow us to expand our public engagement activities such as via Bus Surgeries, the YOPA Information Fair and other events.
The Access funding is to support the setting up of our Access Working Group . This group was formed to represent the interests of anyone who has difficulty using buses. It will investigate and develop policy regarding bus provision in and around York for users with special needs (including potential users), especially those with sight loss.
Our Convenor, John Bibby wrote to First York to express the Forum’s concern about members’ recent experiences with their services. The Managing Director of First York Marc Bichtemann and his Operating Manager attended the Forum’s January meeting to respond to the issues raised. It was a generally positive mee ofting and Marc agreed to look into a number of the points raised.
At our April AGM Rachael Maskell MP gave us an update on the Buses Bill (now the Buses Act) and the opportunities it will bring for York. We were also fortunate to have representatives from the Council’s Better Bus Fund Team and from First Bus, who dealt with a wide range of questions.
In June we held a special meeting at the University of York as part of the Festival of Ideas. This included a fascinating talk about the amazing transport system in our twin city of Munster and a presentation on Intelligent Transport Systems by Darren Capes, the Council’s Transport Systems Manager. Marc Bichtemann (Managing Director of First York) also joined us and answered questions about current bus issues.
Our September meeting was addressed by two speakers from City of York Council. Andrew Bradley (Sustainable Transport Manager) explained the Council’s previous bus strategy and sought the Forum’s views on a new strategy. Julian Ridge (Better Bus Fund Team) presented the local results of the National Bus Passenger Survey www.transportfocus.org.uk/research-publications/research/bus-passenger-survey/ undertaken by Transport Focus (the government watchdog for transport passengers). This produced some interesting findings including the number of discretionary users in York (8%) and the growth in patronage over the last five years (14%), against a general decline across the Yorkshire & Humber Region.
In November, we were very pleased to welcome Keith McNally – Chair of York’s Quality Bus Partnership (QBP), He explained that although the QBP was set up in 2001, it was not until 2011 that it was possible to achieve significant improvements through the various government funding sources such as the Better Bus Area Fund and Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
The new Park and Ride contract has been awarded to First York and is due to commence in February 2018. We are very pleased that – following lobbying by the Forum and Councillors - the Government decided to award York a grant of £3.3m to enable the Park & Ride fleet to go fully electric www.itravelyork.info/news/yorks-park-and-ride-to-be-fully-charged-in-another-clean-air-coup
Bus Strategy Working Group The bus strategy working group had a successful meeting in early January and will be continuing its work looking at what a future bus strategy for York should be and what we should say about buses and transport in the impending consultation on the final draft of the Local Plan. If you want to join us or have any comments / ideas you'd like us to look at please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Dave for details of the next meeting.
Bus Station Working Group A working group has been set up to examine the question "Does York need a bus station?" and related matters. You are invited to join this group and/or to send your comments to its convenor, John Bibby at: email@example.com The next meeting of the working group will be from 4 to 5pm in West Offices on Tuesday February 20th.
1. We are still a small team and need more members to come forward to help.
2. We must become more than fire-fighters dealing with crises of the moment. Issues on the horizon include:
3. We want to work more closely with Council Officers and Bus Operators to ensure that York’s bus users’ needs are built in to their future plans.