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Bus changes mean I will be worse off
AS a member of university staff who works on the Heslington East campus, I would like to echo the concerns expressed by Josh Allen (Campus bus cut worry, The Press, September 22) about the withdrawal of the First number 4 service from this campus.
On a general level, this move will seriously impact the university as there is a considerable amount of movement between campuses during the day.
I work in an interdisciplinary research group with close collaborations with other researchers on both campuses. I regularly “campus hop” for meetings and while I do appreciate that there will be the 44 service available, I fear that this service alone will simply not cope with the volume of campus commuters.
On top of this, the number 4 service will actually be less frequent between town and the campus during university holidays (with a timetabled service only once in about 15 minutes, according to the information I picked up on the number 4 last week). This “non-term time” service erosion occurs on other services during school holidays (notably the First number 6 service, which I also use on my daily commute). But that is another matter.
On a more personal level, this move by First will have a very big impact on my working life. I use the First number 6 to get to town (it’s the only frequent service) and so I buy a First Week ticket (£16 a week) and use the number 4 to get from town to the university.
Now I will have to either pay £20 a week for an All York Week ticket and use the 44 to get from town to campus, or use three buses.
Alternatively, I could use the new 14 service to the sports village from town and the free shuttle from the sports village to the Ron Cooke Hub, where I am privileged to work.
The three bus options are obviously going to cost me a lot more in time I already don’t have to spare in a busy working day, with the second three bus option being practically unworkable. Either way I lose out – time or money – and in practice I suspect I’ll probably be worse off on both counts.
Dr Richard B Greaves, Morehall Close, York
•WITH reference to Josh Allen’s concerns about the First service 4 (The Press, September 22) may I fully sympathise with him. Remedies as suggested, however, are not that simple. City of York Council has, by law, no power to intervene on any service declared by the operator to the Traffic Commissioner as being commercial.
All the council can do is to try to fill in the gaps left through offering subsidised services – but even then this is voluntary and cannot be used to compete with a commercial service. Worse, a commercial service can be changed to cherry-pick the profitable parts of any supported service at six weeks’ notice and the council must withdraw funding from that part of it.
First Group’s primary interest is, again by law, to its shareholders. York residents are only a means of satisfying these shareholders. This is a result of Margaret Thatcher’s Transport Act of 1985 which, incidentally, exempted London from this free-for-all.
The good news is that the rules have changed. So my question is, why cannot York do as West Yorkshire Metro is doing currently which is to take full control of our bus services, even if that means that we have to become part of the Metro network?
Neil Raw, Oriel Grove, Clifton Without, York
•YET again First has treated bus passengers with contempt. Despite many complaints about service number 12, it seems to think that reducing the frequency to hourly and removing the evening/Sunday service is the way forward.
There are many people who depend on this service and service number one is only hourly in the evenings, which is no good for a place the size of Haxby .
The reliability problems on service 12 only started after the route was extended to Foxwood Lane last year and no extra buses were provided.
It is about time First were replaced with an operator who understands the customers’ needs. York does not shut down at 6.30pm.
Ian Foster, Haxby, York