City bus priorities

PHIL Shepherdson queries (Letters December 26) the reason why three No 6 buses arrived at once at his stop.

Unlike railways with their dedicated tracks, and some cities with segregated busways, York’s buses must share much of the highway network with other users.

If a bus is delayed, a gap occurs in the service. It will spend more time picking up passengers at each subsequent stop, and fall still farther behind. Following buses may then catch it up.

Such bus “bunching” can be reduced by priority measures such as bus lanes, bus gates and bus priority at traffic signals.

York is increasingly using technology that detects buses on the approaches to traffic signals and gives them priority. Real-time departures can be shown at stops and via hand-held internet devices.

But we are still caught in a vicious circle. Greater bus reliability would encourage more commuters to switch from cars.

But greater bus reliabilty will only come with reduced peak car use, and wider public acceptance of York’s need for bus priority measures.

Read more about York’s Quality Bus Partnership at itravelyork.info

Paul Hepworth, Windmill Rise, York.

Comments (11)

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8:51pm Fri 28 Dec 12

PKH says...

Bus bunching regularly occurs because First's timetables do not allow sufficient time for traffic. Over the years the more First have altered their timetables in pursuit of more profit, the tighter the timetables have become, the less reliable the service so now less people are using the buses. The route of the No6 does not lend itself to priority lanes and bus gates so the letter is pretty irrelevant.
Bus bunching regularly occurs because First's timetables do not allow sufficient time for traffic. Over the years the more First have altered their timetables in pursuit of more profit, the tighter the timetables have become, the less reliable the service so now less people are using the buses. The route of the No6 does not lend itself to priority lanes and bus gates so the letter is pretty irrelevant. PKH

10:24pm Fri 28 Dec 12

Stevie D says...

@PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late.

If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible.

Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that.
@PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late. If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible. Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that. Stevie D

1:07am Sat 29 Dec 12

Silver says...

PKH wrote:
Bus bunching regularly occurs because First's timetables do not allow sufficient time for traffic. Over the years the more First have altered their timetables in pursuit of more profit, the tighter the timetables have become, the less reliable the service so now less people are using the buses. The route of the No6 does not lend itself to priority lanes and bus gates so the letter is pretty irrelevant.
I agree if take the number 6 from the city centre to clifton moor the route is unavailable for bus lanes, that and the bus do still display the sign saying they are going to turn up within 10 minutes is insulting as you can walk from clifton to the city centre and that takes 30 minutes for me and I arrive at St Leonards Place often never seeing a bus
[quote][p][bold]PKH[/bold] wrote: Bus bunching regularly occurs because First's timetables do not allow sufficient time for traffic. Over the years the more First have altered their timetables in pursuit of more profit, the tighter the timetables have become, the less reliable the service so now less people are using the buses. The route of the No6 does not lend itself to priority lanes and bus gates so the letter is pretty irrelevant.[/p][/quote]I agree if take the number 6 from the city centre to clifton moor the route is unavailable for bus lanes, that and the bus do still display the sign saying they are going to turn up within 10 minutes is insulting as you can walk from clifton to the city centre and that takes 30 minutes for me and I arrive at St Leonards Place often never seeing a bus Silver

3:27am Sat 29 Dec 12

Magicman! says...

The same is true of the 5, and that is made worse due to the lower frequency of the 5. If you had a timetable of buses every 5 minutes then three together wouldn't be so much of an issue as it is when these three vehicles are forming what is supposed to be the service for the next 30-45 minutes.

One main problem is quite simply that bus routes have been cross-city since 2000. Previously we did have one or two cross-city routes but most started and terminated inside the city centre, and had timetables to accommodate some slack in case of bad traffic. When the whole York network was redesigned in 2000 it was a major streamlining which saw less overall bus routes being operated by First, and since then frequency changes now mean we have less actual vehicles on non-P&R services than back in the 1990's too... all in all it is cost cutting to maximise profits, just in another guise.

Also:
Unlike railways with their dedicated tracks, and some cities with segregated busways, York’s buses must share much of the highway network with other users.

If a bus is delayed, a gap occurs in the service. It will spend more time picking up passengers at each subsequent stop, and fall still farther behind. Following buses may then catch it up.

Such bus “bunching” can be reduced by priority measures such as bus lanes, bus gates and bus priority at traffic signals.

Bus bunching also occurs in York because a lot of drivers seem to think they are driving trams and thusly are incapable of overtaking the late running bus or using a quicker road to catch up with the point where the busy/late bus has lost its place on the timetable (ie with the 5 to Strensall if there are two buses together, the bus drivers could use their on-board radios to communicate plans and then the bus behind calls at St Lenoards Place as it's last stop and then runs non-stop to Strensall Camp going straight along Haxby Road, into Haxby, Towthorpe (it is suitable for buses as double deckers have been along there in the past), and onto the Strensall Road near the army camp. The combination of avoiding the Hayleys Terrace junction, the chicanes along Huntington Road and the speed humps along there and in the village, combined with all the stops missed out would put the bus at least 10 minutes ahead of the other one, if not 15 or even 20.
The same is true of the 5, and that is made worse due to the lower frequency of the 5. If you had a timetable of buses every 5 minutes then three together wouldn't be so much of an issue as it is when these three vehicles are forming what is supposed to be the service for the next 30-45 minutes. One main problem is quite simply that bus routes have been cross-city since 2000. Previously we did have one or two cross-city routes but most started and terminated inside the city centre, and had timetables to accommodate some slack in case of bad traffic. When the whole York network was redesigned in 2000 it was a major streamlining which saw less overall bus routes being operated by First, and since then frequency changes now mean we have less actual vehicles on non-P&R services than back in the 1990's too... all in all it is cost cutting to maximise profits, just in another guise. Also: [quote] Unlike railways with their dedicated tracks, and some cities with segregated busways, York’s buses must share much of the highway network with other users. If a bus is delayed, a gap occurs in the service. It will spend more time picking up passengers at each subsequent stop, and fall still farther behind. Following buses may then catch it up. Such bus “bunching” can be reduced by priority measures such as bus lanes, bus gates and bus priority at traffic signals. [/quote] Bus bunching also occurs in York because a lot of drivers seem to think they are driving trams and thusly are incapable of overtaking the late running bus or using a quicker road to catch up with the point where the busy/late bus has lost its place on the timetable (ie with the 5 to Strensall if there are two buses together, the bus drivers could use their on-board radios to communicate plans and then the bus behind calls at St Lenoards Place as it's last stop and then runs non-stop to Strensall Camp going straight along Haxby Road, into Haxby, Towthorpe (it is suitable for buses as double deckers have been along there in the past), and onto the Strensall Road near the army camp. The combination of avoiding the Hayleys Terrace junction, the chicanes along Huntington Road and the speed humps along there and in the village, combined with all the stops missed out would put the bus at least 10 minutes ahead of the other one, if not 15 or even 20. Magicman!

10:56am Sat 29 Dec 12

roadwars says...

Removal of all busses would clearly get rid off the problem of "bus bunching" it would also remove the need for espensive and inconvenient extra lanes and remove the extra traffic light cycles therefore reducing congestion. It would also make the streets a much safer place to cycle and walk and would remove so may roadside obstructions (waiting busses) from the city centre streets.
I fail to understand why this perfect solution has not been implemented.
Removal of all busses would clearly get rid off the problem of "bus bunching" it would also remove the need for espensive and inconvenient extra lanes and remove the extra traffic light cycles therefore reducing congestion. It would also make the streets a much safer place to cycle and walk and would remove so may roadside obstructions (waiting busses) from the city centre streets. I fail to understand why this perfect solution has not been implemented. roadwars

12:42pm Sat 29 Dec 12

PKH says...

Stevie D wrote:
@PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late.

If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible.

Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that.
The No5 used to be a fairly reliable service until First 'streamlined the service' now pensioners with free travel are using there cars to go to appointments/station in York when buses to not turn up. It is very funny how First could run a very reliable service just in front of Glen Coaches also ran buses to Strensall, that speaks volumes!!!!
[quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: @PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late. If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible. Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that.[/p][/quote]The No5 used to be a fairly reliable service until First 'streamlined the service' now pensioners with free travel are using there cars to go to appointments/station in York when buses to not turn up. It is very funny how First could run a very reliable service just in front of Glen Coaches also ran buses to Strensall, that speaks volumes!!!! PKH

10:22am Sun 30 Dec 12

heworth.28 says...

PKH wrote:
Stevie D wrote:
@PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late.

If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible.

Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that.
The No5 used to be a fairly reliable service until First 'streamlined the service' now pensioners with free travel are using there cars to go to appointments/station in York when buses to not turn up. It is very funny how First could run a very reliable service just in front of Glen Coaches also ran buses to Strensall, that speaks volumes!!!!
Funnily enough the #4 service, where First actually has some competition on the route, is more efficient & cheaper than any of the others too!
[quote][p][bold]PKH[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stevie D[/bold] wrote: @PKH – it cuts both ways. Traffic in York is so unpredictable. One day the evening peak journey from town to Fulford can take 8 minutes and the buses are waiting for time at the church, and the next (for no evident reason) the journey takes 25 minutes and is seriously late. If you allow enough slack in the timetable to cope with traffic levels on 90% of days then you will have buses hanging around for 5–10 minutes two or three times along the route. Not only does this cost a lot more in terms of resources and staffing, but it irritates passengers who just want to get where they are going as quickly as possible. Where you have a frequent service in a congested urban area, it's practically impossible to keep the buses apart without having severely extended running times, and it isn't in anybody's interest to have that.[/p][/quote]The No5 used to be a fairly reliable service until First 'streamlined the service' now pensioners with free travel are using there cars to go to appointments/station in York when buses to not turn up. It is very funny how First could run a very reliable service just in front of Glen Coaches also ran buses to Strensall, that speaks volumes!!!![/p][/quote]Funnily enough the #4 service, where First actually has some competition on the route, is more efficient & cheaper than any of the others too! heworth.28

11:21am Sun 30 Dec 12

MadHaxMan says...

I am surprised that the Number 1 service has not featured in the list of "bunchers". My record sighting is 3 double-deckers and a single decker, all going in the same direction inside of 5 minutes total time .
A friend of mine says that if he were driving a bus to Chapelfields, he might think there was safety in numbers too!
(only joking folks).
I am surprised that the Number 1 service has not featured in the list of "bunchers". My record sighting is 3 double-deckers and a single decker, all going in the same direction inside of 5 minutes total time . A friend of mine says that if he were driving a bus to Chapelfields, he might think there was safety in numbers too! (only joking folks). MadHaxMan

1:19pm Mon 31 Dec 12

sparkseffect says...

York has suffered from traffic congestion for at least 50 years - we had buses running in pairs in the '60s as well - but the Traffic Commissioners still expect operators to plan a timetable and adhere to it, whether or not traffic congestion is predictable - and in York it often isn't. First were taken to task in both Bristol and Manchester for late running due to unpredictable traffic congestion beyond their control, but the Commissioners weren't living in the real world, didn't listen to reason and fined them anyway. The Traffic Commissioners' "rules", developed in their ivory towers, are also the reason why timetables show "frequent service" instead of something more helpful. The company I worked for was once taken to task for running buses early. We pointed out that they weren't early but the monitoring officer had misread the timetable. The response was not an apology but a warning that action would be taken if we did it again. YCNMIU!
York has suffered from traffic congestion for at least 50 years - we had buses running in pairs in the '60s as well - but the Traffic Commissioners still expect operators to plan a timetable and adhere to it, whether or not traffic congestion is predictable - and in York it often isn't. First were taken to task in both Bristol and Manchester for late running due to unpredictable traffic congestion beyond their control, but the Commissioners weren't living in the real world, didn't listen to reason and fined them anyway. The Traffic Commissioners' "rules", developed in their ivory towers, are also the reason why timetables show "frequent service" instead of something more helpful. The company I worked for was once taken to task for running buses early. We pointed out that they weren't early but the monitoring officer had misread the timetable. The response was not an apology but a warning that action would be taken if we did it again. YCNMIU! sparkseffect

1:01am Wed 2 Jan 13

jake777 says...

Magicman! wrote:
The same is true of the 5, and that is made worse due to the lower frequency of the 5. If you had a timetable of buses every 5 minutes then three together wouldn't be so much of an issue as it is when these three vehicles are forming what is supposed to be the service for the next 30-45 minutes.

One main problem is quite simply that bus routes have been cross-city since 2000. Previously we did have one or two cross-city routes but most started and terminated inside the city centre, and had timetables to accommodate some slack in case of bad traffic. When the whole York network was redesigned in 2000 it was a major streamlining which saw less overall bus routes being operated by First, and since then frequency changes now mean we have less actual vehicles on non-P&R services than back in the 1990's too... all in all it is cost cutting to maximise profits, just in another guise.

Also:
Unlike railways with their dedicated tracks, and some cities with segregated busways, York’s buses must share much of the highway network with other users.

If a bus is delayed, a gap occurs in the service. It will spend more time picking up passengers at each subsequent stop, and fall still farther behind. Following buses may then catch it up.

Such bus “bunching” can be reduced by priority measures such as bus lanes, bus gates and bus priority at traffic signals.

Bus bunching also occurs in York because a lot of drivers seem to think they are driving trams and thusly are incapable of overtaking the late running bus or using a quicker road to catch up with the point where the busy/late bus has lost its place on the timetable (ie with the 5 to Strensall if there are two buses together, the bus drivers could use their on-board radios to communicate plans and then the bus behind calls at St Lenoards Place as it's last stop and then runs non-stop to Strensall Camp going straight along Haxby Road, into Haxby, Towthorpe (it is suitable for buses as double deckers have been along there in the past), and onto the Strensall Road near the army camp. The combination of avoiding the Hayleys Terrace junction, the chicanes along Huntington Road and the speed humps along there and in the village, combined with all the stops missed out would put the bus at least 10 minutes ahead of the other one, if not 15 or even 20.
buses have to stay on the route of a running board and can not just go and please themselfs where they go, you really need to get your facts right before making stupid comments like "using a quicker road to catch up".
[quote][p][bold]Magicman![/bold] wrote: The same is true of the 5, and that is made worse due to the lower frequency of the 5. If you had a timetable of buses every 5 minutes then three together wouldn't be so much of an issue as it is when these three vehicles are forming what is supposed to be the service for the next 30-45 minutes. One main problem is quite simply that bus routes have been cross-city since 2000. Previously we did have one or two cross-city routes but most started and terminated inside the city centre, and had timetables to accommodate some slack in case of bad traffic. When the whole York network was redesigned in 2000 it was a major streamlining which saw less overall bus routes being operated by First, and since then frequency changes now mean we have less actual vehicles on non-P&R services than back in the 1990's too... all in all it is cost cutting to maximise profits, just in another guise. Also: [quote] Unlike railways with their dedicated tracks, and some cities with segregated busways, York’s buses must share much of the highway network with other users. If a bus is delayed, a gap occurs in the service. It will spend more time picking up passengers at each subsequent stop, and fall still farther behind. Following buses may then catch it up. Such bus “bunching” can be reduced by priority measures such as bus lanes, bus gates and bus priority at traffic signals. [/quote] Bus bunching also occurs in York because a lot of drivers seem to think they are driving trams and thusly are incapable of overtaking the late running bus or using a quicker road to catch up with the point where the busy/late bus has lost its place on the timetable (ie with the 5 to Strensall if there are two buses together, the bus drivers could use their on-board radios to communicate plans and then the bus behind calls at St Lenoards Place as it's last stop and then runs non-stop to Strensall Camp going straight along Haxby Road, into Haxby, Towthorpe (it is suitable for buses as double deckers have been along there in the past), and onto the Strensall Road near the army camp. The combination of avoiding the Hayleys Terrace junction, the chicanes along Huntington Road and the speed humps along there and in the village, combined with all the stops missed out would put the bus at least 10 minutes ahead of the other one, if not 15 or even 20.[/p][/quote]buses have to stay on the route of a running board and can not just go and please themselfs where they go, you really need to get your facts right before making stupid comments like "using a quicker road to catch up". jake777

1:03am Wed 2 Jan 13

jake777 says...

roadwars wrote:
Removal of all busses would clearly get rid off the problem of "bus bunching" it would also remove the need for espensive and inconvenient extra lanes and remove the extra traffic light cycles therefore reducing congestion. It would also make the streets a much safer place to cycle and walk and would remove so may roadside obstructions (waiting busses) from the city centre streets.
I fail to understand why this perfect solution has not been implemented.
beause it was thought by an idoit like you.
[quote][p][bold]roadwars[/bold] wrote: Removal of all busses would clearly get rid off the problem of "bus bunching" it would also remove the need for espensive and inconvenient extra lanes and remove the extra traffic light cycles therefore reducing congestion. It would also make the streets a much safer place to cycle and walk and would remove so may roadside obstructions (waiting busses) from the city centre streets. I fail to understand why this perfect solution has not been implemented.[/p][/quote]beause it was thought by an idoit like you. jake777

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