Transport transformation agreed at private meeting

First published in News

YORK’S transport bosses are to look at creating a city-centre bus station and changing car-parking charges.

Bus companies will also be given new targets on ticketing, vehicle standards, pollution and passenger information, under proposals aimed at improving public transport.

Coun Dave Merrett, City of York Council’s cabinet member for transport issues, yesterday approved various steps aimed at improving bus services.

But he came under fire for making the decision in a private, unannounced meeting.

The council secured £2.9 million from the Department for Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund in March, topped up with £1.6 million from the council and bus operator contributions, giving a total of about £6 million.

The council said yesterday a new “policy statement” would be drawn up to set the benchmark for standards.

It would also commit the council to improving services and facilities, including considering developing of a bus station, improving road layouts and “ensuring car parking is priced to ensure the costs of bus and car are competitive”.

Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015.

He made the decisions yesterday morning in private, which angered opposition parties.

Tory group leader Ian Gillies said the issue was on the council’s forward plan but without a specific date.

He said: “We have had no input other than what is on the forward plan, and no opportunity to ask questions. It is throwing democracy out of the window.”

Liberal Democrat group leader Carol Runciman said: “Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors.

“The first we knew about this decision, which involves more than £4.5 million of taxpayers’ money, was when a press release was sent out by the council’s growing public relations machine.”

She said her party could not know whether the money was well spent or whether the proposals were sound.

A council spokeswoman said: "The council advertised the details of the meeting which took place yesterday on its forward plan 28 days in advance [which it is required to do when meetings are held in private].

"This decision was not about the bus strategy or the changes to the network, but rather the way in which relationships can be built on with bus operators in the city and the way in which we can work together. This included confidential operational information and so a decision was taken to hold the meeting in private."

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:49am Tue 20 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

“Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. "

Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note.
“Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. " Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note. Sawday2
  • Score: 0

10:56am Tue 20 Nov 12

peterstreet says...

Sawday2 wrote:
“Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. "

Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note.
For goodness sake get your facts right, nowadays it is perfectly normal for decisions to be taken in this way and it is done all over the country, the reason is to save time and money and the scrutiny, if it is necessary is by a scrutiny committee of councillors. It was done many times by the last Lib Dem Council and in addition the Lib Dems gave power to some officers to take certain decisions without having to refer to elected Councillors. No wonder less and less people are bothering with this site. I believe it is because of blatant politicking without any regard to accuracy. Why can't you comment on the issue?
[quote][p][bold]Sawday2[/bold] wrote: “Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. " Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note.[/p][/quote]For goodness sake get your facts right, nowadays it is perfectly normal for decisions to be taken in this way and it is done all over the country, the reason is to save time and money and the scrutiny, if it is necessary is by a scrutiny committee of councillors. It was done many times by the last Lib Dem Council and in addition the Lib Dems gave power to some officers to take certain decisions without having to refer to elected Councillors. No wonder less and less people are bothering with this site. I believe it is because of blatant politicking without any regard to accuracy. Why can't you comment on the issue? peterstreet
  • Score: 0

11:22am Tue 20 Nov 12

tobefair says...

Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015

When will the council realise that buses and bicycleas are for people who don't own cars.
Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015 When will the council realise that buses and bicycleas are for people who don't own cars. tobefair
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Tue 20 Nov 12

LibDem says...

“Peterstreet” is just plain wrong in his claims. It was Labour Councillors in York who voted to scrap the all party policy advisory groups (EMAPS) and replace them with single member decision meetings.

Although perhaps a little sterile, these decision meetings were, while the Council was LibDem led, all held in public with agendas published on the Council web site at least a week in advance of the meeting.

The reports were also made available to the media.

Representations from residents and Councillors were encouraged.

What has changed is that Labour now choose to take many of these decisions at private meetings with no reports being published in advance.

This almost invites opposition Councillors to “call in” issues for further – public – consideration. Far from reducing costs and speeding up decision making the reverse is the case.

And that is the situation with the “Bus Improvement Study” considered in private yesterday. Clearly it is an area of general interest, if only to regular bus users.

The Cabinet member ironically held a public decision session on the same day. The bus report could easily have been added to the agenda for that meeting.

No, the reason why the report was kept secret was to allow Labour to “spin” its contents in a highly selective media release.

They tried to avoid comment on controversial aspects of the report (including the suggestion that City Centre car parking charges should be further increased to force travellers onto buses) as well as avoiding the more awkward conclusions of the Consultants (not least that Labours flagship bus “franchising” plan was a non starter).

Labour have budgeted £200,000 to send on bus reports over the last 18 months. The least that taxpayers should be able to do is read the reports, that they have paid for, on the Councils web site.

If Labour respected York residents then they might also recognise the need to be open and frank with the people who elected them.
“Peterstreet” is just plain wrong in his claims. It was Labour Councillors in York who voted to scrap the all party policy advisory groups (EMAPS) and replace them with single member decision meetings. Although perhaps a little sterile, these decision meetings were, while the Council was LibDem led, all held in public with agendas published on the Council web site at least a week in advance of the meeting. The reports were also made available to the media. Representations from residents and Councillors were encouraged. What has changed is that Labour now choose to take many of these decisions at private meetings with no reports being published in advance. This almost invites opposition Councillors to “call in” issues for further – public – consideration. Far from reducing costs and speeding up decision making the reverse is the case. And that is the situation with the “Bus Improvement Study” considered in private yesterday. Clearly it is an area of general interest, if only to regular bus users. The Cabinet member ironically held a public decision session on the same day. The bus report could easily have been added to the agenda for that meeting. No, the reason why the report was kept secret was to allow Labour to “spin” its contents in a highly selective media release. They tried to avoid comment on controversial aspects of the report (including the suggestion that City Centre car parking charges should be further increased to force travellers onto buses) as well as avoiding the more awkward conclusions of the Consultants (not least that Labours flagship bus “franchising” plan was a non starter). Labour have budgeted £200,000 to send on bus reports over the last 18 months. The least that taxpayers should be able to do is read the reports, that they have paid for, on the Councils web site. If Labour respected York residents then they might also recognise the need to be open and frank with the people who elected them. LibDem
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Tue 20 Nov 12

york_chap says...

Council speak: “ensuring car parking is priced to ensure the costs of bus and car are competitive”.

English translation: Big increases in parking charges to bring them in line with rip-off bus fares.

When will the cycling, bus-riding Hitlers like Merrett realise that gradually preventing car owners from visiting York will just drive business away from the city centre. I've had to use buses in the past and no matter what these proposed changes are, buses will always be inconvenient, expensive and unpleasant. I and other people I know who live more than 10 minutes from the city centre are increasingly using the Internet, monks cross and the fulford outlet for shopping/transacting business. I haven't visited town in a few weeks as it's just too much hassle and expense.
Council speak: “ensuring car parking is priced to ensure the costs of bus and car are competitive”. English translation: Big increases in parking charges to bring them in line with rip-off bus fares. When will the cycling, bus-riding Hitlers like Merrett realise that gradually preventing car owners from visiting York will just drive business away from the city centre. I've had to use buses in the past and no matter what these proposed changes are, buses will always be inconvenient, expensive and unpleasant. I and other people I know who live more than 10 minutes from the city centre are increasingly using the Internet, monks cross and the fulford outlet for shopping/transacting business. I haven't visited town in a few weeks as it's just too much hassle and expense. york_chap
  • Score: 0

2:11pm Tue 20 Nov 12

hokey cokey says...

tobefair wrote:
Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015

When will the council realise that buses and bicycleas are for people who don't own cars.
I have a large car but also use my bicycle and bus regularly. When will tobefair realise he has blinkers on?
[quote][p][bold]tobefair[/bold] wrote: Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015 When will the council realise that buses and bicycleas are for people who don't own cars.[/p][/quote]I have a large car but also use my bicycle and bus regularly. When will tobefair realise he has blinkers on? hokey cokey
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Fat Harry says...

It doesn't matter too much to me how a decision is reached, I'm just delighted that one small step has been taken on the road to getting a bus station for York - after decades of buck-passing, someone has grasped the nettle and made a decision.

Hallelujah - give it 50 or 60 years and it might become reality.

Any move to encourage people onto the buses must be accompanied my measures to make the buses reliable; ie ensure every bus that is timetabled to run does actually run, and that all buses run as close to time as humanly possible.
It doesn't matter too much to me how a decision is reached, I'm just delighted that one small step has been taken on the road to getting a bus station for York - after decades of buck-passing, someone has grasped the nettle and made a decision. Hallelujah - give it 50 or 60 years and it might become reality. Any move to encourage people onto the buses must be accompanied my measures to make the buses reliable; ie ensure every bus that is timetabled to run does actually run, and that all buses run as close to time as humanly possible. Fat Harry
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Tue 20 Nov 12

tobefair says...

hokey cokey says...
2:11pm Tue 20 Nov 12


tobefair wrote:
Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015

When will the council realise that buses and bicycles are for people who don't own cars.

I have a large car but also use my bicycle and bus regularly. When will tobefair realise he has blinkers on?

When will hokey cokey sell his large car and get a more economical smaller car and then he can get rid of his bike?
hokey cokey says... 2:11pm Tue 20 Nov 12 tobefair wrote: Coun Merrett said the council aimed to significantly increase passenger numbers by 2015 When will the council realise that buses and bicycles are for people who don't own cars. I have a large car but also use my bicycle and bus regularly. When will tobefair realise he has blinkers on? When will hokey cokey sell his large car and get a more economical smaller car and then he can get rid of his bike? tobefair
  • Score: 0

8:53pm Tue 20 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

I could name half a dozen residents in my street who own both a car and a bike. They make intelligent travel choices eg cycle the short distance into York for commuting, and use the car for other journeys.
I could name half a dozen residents in my street who own both a car and a bike. They make intelligent travel choices eg cycle the short distance into York for commuting, and use the car for other journeys. pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

10:07pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

peterstreet wrote:
Sawday2 wrote:
“Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. "

Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note.
For goodness sake get your facts right, nowadays it is perfectly normal for decisions to be taken in this way and it is done all over the country, the reason is to save time and money and the scrutiny, if it is necessary is by a scrutiny committee of councillors. It was done many times by the last Lib Dem Council and in addition the Lib Dems gave power to some officers to take certain decisions without having to refer to elected Councillors. No wonder less and less people are bothering with this site. I believe it is because of blatant politicking without any regard to accuracy. Why can't you comment on the issue?
The quote was from the article. Perhaps you should get your facts right. T*T.
[quote][p][bold]peterstreet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sawday2[/bold] wrote: “Yet again Labour has taken a decision in private and away from proper scrutiny by residents or opposition councillors. " Anyone thinking about voting Labour in the future should take note.[/p][/quote]For goodness sake get your facts right, nowadays it is perfectly normal for decisions to be taken in this way and it is done all over the country, the reason is to save time and money and the scrutiny, if it is necessary is by a scrutiny committee of councillors. It was done many times by the last Lib Dem Council and in addition the Lib Dems gave power to some officers to take certain decisions without having to refer to elected Councillors. No wonder less and less people are bothering with this site. I believe it is because of blatant politicking without any regard to accuracy. Why can't you comment on the issue?[/p][/quote]The quote was from the article. Perhaps you should get your facts right. T*T. Sawday2
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree