Anger over York's No.5 bus service between Strensall and Acomb

Published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , mark.stead@thepress.co.uk

A YORK bus firm has defended its performance after being accused of ignoring passengers’ concerns about one of its services.

Almost 1,000 Huntington residents signed a petition organised by City of York Council’s Liberal Democrat group to vent their unhappiness about First’s No.5 route, which runs through their community as it travels between Strensall and Acomb through the city centre.

The passengers have claimed that, despite changes to the route last year and claims from First that its reliability had improved, there were still problems with buses running late and “poor facilities”.

The petition was discussed at a decision session for Coun Dave Merrett, the council’s cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, last week, at which transport officials were asked to speak to First about the residents’ concerns.

But Coun Keith Orrell, who represents Huntington and New Earswick for the Lib Dems, said he was “surprised and disappointed” a representative from First was not at the meeting.

He claimed it showed York’s Quality Bus Partnership – the effectiveness of which was questioned in a report by experts last year – “seems to have made little actual impact”. “By not attending the meeting, First were effectively ignoring the concerns of 1,000 people,” he said.

“People in Huntington feel that if First has a problem, it is always the No.5 which suffers. This unreliability leads to problems including overcrowding, the inability of people with wheelchairs or buggies to get on the bus, and residents being late for work or appointments.

“It has been reported that First’s reliability has improved and we all hope this is true, but the feedback from residents on the ground is mixed.”

A First spokesman said the operator had started addressing the concerns raised in the petition, with last October’s network changes aimed at improving punctuality.

He said more than 90 per cent of No.5 services were on time in December and January “despite poor weather and roadworks”.

“We will not rest on our laurels and will look at performance on the No.5 route in the next few weeks to see if we can improve further,” he said.

“Engaging with the public is something we are keen to do and we will be fully participating in a public consultation session on bus services in general on February 8 at York Explore Library Learning Centre.”

Comments (19)

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9:32am Mon 21 Jan 13

chickpea says...

It's not just the 5, it's the 12 which runs every 30 mins to monks cross. It frequently doesn't turn up but Firsts statistics will not reflect that because it simply cuts off half the route by going down malton road straight to monks cross if it is late, leaving all of us in the fossway and monkton road area stood in the cold for a further 30 mins.
It's not just the 5, it's the 12 which runs every 30 mins to monks cross. It frequently doesn't turn up but Firsts statistics will not reflect that because it simply cuts off half the route by going down malton road straight to monks cross if it is late, leaving all of us in the fossway and monkton road area stood in the cold for a further 30 mins. chickpea
  • Score: 0

9:45am Mon 21 Jan 13

chillout says...

sTRENSALL TO
sTRENSALL TO chillout
  • Score: 0

9:45am Mon 21 Jan 13

chillout says...

sTRENSALL TO
sTRENSALL TO chillout
  • Score: 0

9:52am Mon 21 Jan 13

chillout says...

start again !! strensall to york city centre is usually easy apart from the odd traffic jam at peak times in clarencegillygate.th
e problem is when the buses have been sent on the extended route into acomb, was on a five last week and it took 25mins to get from leeman rd to boroughbridge road through these road works on boroughbridge road.why didnt they just leave the old 5 route alone and swing it around on the station rise or crank it round nunnery lane loop.And obviously first need more drivers as they are pulling buses off the road when drivers are late off or havent turned in - SPARES !!!
start again !! strensall to york city centre is usually easy apart from the odd traffic jam at peak times in clarencegillygate.th e problem is when the buses have been sent on the extended route into acomb, was on a five last week and it took 25mins to get from leeman rd to boroughbridge road through these road works on boroughbridge road.why didnt they just leave the old 5 route alone and swing it around on the station rise or crank it round nunnery lane loop.And obviously first need more drivers as they are pulling buses off the road when drivers are late off or havent turned in - SPARES !!! chillout
  • Score: 0

10:43am Mon 21 Jan 13

againstthecuts says...

number 6 from clifton moor is terrible on a saturday night. hardly ever turns up and the driver always says not my fault im just covering this route due to my colleague been off sick.
number 6 from clifton moor is terrible on a saturday night. hardly ever turns up and the driver always says not my fault im just covering this route due to my colleague been off sick. againstthecuts
  • Score: 0

10:58am Mon 21 Jan 13

patch77 says...

I use the number 10. I'm late for work practically every day because the bus is late. It was 15 minutes late before I even got on it this morning. And I get on at the start of the route.

Late running buses probably affect every route in York, not just the no.5.

I don't think First really care about running to time so long as they get people's money and get to keep their monopoly.
I use the number 10. I'm late for work practically every day because the bus is late. It was 15 minutes late before I even got on it this morning. And I get on at the start of the route. Late running buses probably affect every route in York, not just the no.5. I don't think First really care about running to time so long as they get people's money and get to keep their monopoly. patch77
  • Score: 0

11:35am Mon 21 Jan 13

leont says...

At a recent consultation, I spoke to a 'manager' from 'First'. I had just got back from abroad, and I asked him why his company's service in York was so abysmal compared to what local transport does elsewhere in Europe.
.
His response? 'Oh, you can't compare public transport in Europe with what we have here. They're not privatised, so they're bound to be loads better!'
.
Sadly, I couldn't get him to put this in writing. Still, what he said is certainly true. Privatisation = bad service. Even managers of privatised utilities admit as much in private (no pun intended).
.
If we want a decent public transport service, we'll have to pay for it. We won't get one by paying people like Firstgroup, though. They just take the money and laugh at their passengers waiting in the rain and snow for the number 5 that doesn't come.
.
.
At a recent consultation, I spoke to a 'manager' from 'First'. I had just got back from abroad, and I asked him why his company's service in York was so abysmal compared to what local transport does elsewhere in Europe. . His response? 'Oh, you can't compare public transport in Europe with what we have here. They're not privatised, so they're bound to be loads better!' . Sadly, I couldn't get him to put this in writing. Still, what he said is certainly true. Privatisation = bad service. Even managers of privatised utilities admit as much in private (no pun intended). . If we want a decent public transport service, we'll have to pay for it. We won't get one by paying people like Firstgroup, though. They just take the money and laugh at their passengers waiting in the rain and snow for the number 5 that doesn't come. . . leont
  • Score: 0

11:39am Mon 21 Jan 13

south bronx red 2 says...

First are terrible
But there again so are Liberal councillors . They only pick and choose what they wish to get involved with, mainly with the express aim of winning votes and not serving all voters on all issues.
Little wonder why their leaders lose their seats.
First are terrible But there again so are Liberal councillors . They only pick and choose what they wish to get involved with, mainly with the express aim of winning votes and not serving all voters on all issues. Little wonder why their leaders lose their seats. south bronx red 2
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Mon 21 Jan 13

nomadic85 says...

I'd not been on a bus in years until last Friday. Living in York and working in Doncaster I drive every day. Last Friday we were due to take some clients out after work so I decided on the train. Waiting for the number 5 TWO buses never turned up. Advertised as being due at 7.40 and 7.50, I was at the stop from 7.30. Neither turned up. The 0805 turned up on time. I dare say it'll be a number of years before I get on a bus again.
I'd not been on a bus in years until last Friday. Living in York and working in Doncaster I drive every day. Last Friday we were due to take some clients out after work so I decided on the train. Waiting for the number 5 TWO buses never turned up. Advertised as being due at 7.40 and 7.50, I was at the stop from 7.30. Neither turned up. The 0805 turned up on time. I dare say it'll be a number of years before I get on a bus again. nomadic85
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Mon 21 Jan 13

tobefair says...

Like I always say, buses are for people who don't have cars and bikes are for people who can't afford bus fares!
Like I always say, buses are for people who don't have cars and bikes are for people who can't afford bus fares! tobefair
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Mon 21 Jan 13

yorkborn66 says...

tobefair wrote:
Like I always say, buses are for people who don't have cars and bikes are for people who can't afford bus fares!
And your comment is for people without brains ?
[quote][p][bold]tobefair[/bold] wrote: Like I always say, buses are for people who don't have cars and bikes are for people who can't afford bus fares![/p][/quote]And your comment is for people without brains ? yorkborn66
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Mon 21 Jan 13

helzwash says...

We moved from Haxby to Rufforth in 2011 and I could not believe the difference in reliability. Rufforth buses are run between Eddiw Brown and Connexions. They turned up ON TIME as advertised. They're every hour which is a downer but I know I can rely on them being there. In Haxby I was always late arriving in town or at the station and I made sure I got 2 buses too early to guarantee I made it there for a specific time. The amount of number 1's not turning up was just ridiculous.
After getting our bus for a year I had the dis-pleasure of getting a First bus to Haxby for an appointment. It was awful. The bus driver was rude, he wouldn't let a lady on with a buggy for what looked like a literally only weeks old baby because there was no space and forced her to collapse it. When she got on she was mortified as there were only people sitting in the chair area when they could've easily moved. On that journey I didn't hear one person not complain about it.
I am glad our service is run by EB and CX - clean buses, reliable service and amazing drivers who are very friendly.
We moved from Haxby to Rufforth in 2011 and I could not believe the difference in reliability. Rufforth buses are run between Eddiw Brown and Connexions. They turned up ON TIME as advertised. They're every hour which is a downer but I know I can rely on them being there. In Haxby I was always late arriving in town or at the station and I made sure I got 2 buses too early to guarantee I made it there for a specific time. The amount of number 1's not turning up was just ridiculous. After getting our bus for a year I had the dis-pleasure of getting a First bus to Haxby for an appointment. It was awful. The bus driver was rude, he wouldn't let a lady on with a buggy for what looked like a literally only weeks old baby because there was no space and forced her to collapse it. When she got on she was mortified as there were only people sitting in the chair area when they could've easily moved. On that journey I didn't hear one person not complain about it. I am glad our service is run by EB and CX - clean buses, reliable service and amazing drivers who are very friendly. helzwash
  • Score: 0

8:15pm Mon 21 Jan 13

Minstermummy says...

And they wonder why local residents don't go into town when they can go to Monks Cross or Clifton moor and park for free -
Not pay a high price to sit on a filthy bus - if it turns up at all after waiting over 30mins in the cold !
And they wonder why local residents don't go into town when they can go to Monks Cross or Clifton moor and park for free - Not pay a high price to sit on a filthy bus - if it turns up at all after waiting over 30mins in the cold ! Minstermummy
  • Score: 0

8:33pm Mon 21 Jan 13

BLOBBY35 says...

kevin proctors dales and district buses in northallerton are no better !! 6 buses broke down the friday before xmas and his 2 year old bus on the northallerton to darlington bus has a broken gearbox so now he has hired in 3 buses , then i get started on my special needs childrens bus ran by kevin proctor driver on the phone ,driver shouting at the kids , bus breaking down and finally most of his school contracts have been running illegal
kevin proctors dales and district buses in northallerton are no better !! 6 buses broke down the friday before xmas and his 2 year old bus on the northallerton to darlington bus has a broken gearbox so now he has hired in 3 buses , then i get started on my special needs childrens bus ran by kevin proctor driver on the phone ,driver shouting at the kids , bus breaking down and finally most of his school contracts have been running illegal BLOBBY35
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Mon 21 Jan 13

south bronx red 2 says...

Minstermummy wrote:
And they wonder why local residents don't go into town when they can go to Monks Cross or Clifton moor and park for free -
Not pay a high price to sit on a filthy bus - if it turns up at all after waiting over 30mins in the cold !
Ah didums.
You sound like the type who scolds a child for getting dirty knees whilst playing football.
[quote][p][bold]Minstermummy[/bold] wrote: And they wonder why local residents don't go into town when they can go to Monks Cross or Clifton moor and park for free - Not pay a high price to sit on a filthy bus - if it turns up at all after waiting over 30mins in the cold ![/p][/quote]Ah didums. You sound like the type who scolds a child for getting dirty knees whilst playing football. south bronx red 2
  • Score: 0

12:36am Tue 22 Jan 13

ZachCohen says...

I wonder if the number 4 is on time 90% of the time. With the arrival time being 'at frequent intervals'.
I wonder if the number 4 is on time 90% of the time. With the arrival time being 'at frequent intervals'. ZachCohen
  • Score: 0

4:12am Wed 23 Jan 13

Magicman! says...

Privatisation doesn't necessarily mean bad service... two examples are TrentBarton and Brighton & Hove buses - two of the best bus operators out there, and I know TB is certainly a private company.

All my life I have lived in the area served by both the number 5 and what is now the number 12 (monks cross service), and since the routes first changed back in 2000 there has not been a single number 5 service I have used that has been on time, and that includes two years of me using the bus twice every day to and from college. The number 12 isn't much better, the only redeeming factor recently is that two early evening services beyond Elmfield Avenue have been restored (but subsidised), even though they shouldn't have been gotten rid of in the first place.

Here's another situation for you to ponder over: the number 1 runs every 10 minutes whilst the number 5 runs every 15 minutes... Therefore why do both buses always arrive at Nestle stop at the exact same time?

Within York you generally find it is the smaller bus operations like Harrogate Coach Travel (aka Connexionsbuses), Reliance, Eddie Brown and Stephensons that give the best service - transdev isn't too bad either.
Privatisation doesn't necessarily mean bad service... two examples are TrentBarton and Brighton & Hove buses - two of the best bus operators out there, and I know TB is certainly a private company. All my life I have lived in the area served by both the number 5 and what is now the number 12 (monks cross service), and since the routes first changed back in 2000 there has not been a single number 5 service I have used that has been on time, and that includes two years of me using the bus twice every day to and from college. The number 12 isn't much better, the only redeeming factor recently is that two early evening services beyond Elmfield Avenue have been restored (but subsidised), even though they shouldn't have been gotten rid of in the first place. Here's another situation for you to ponder over: the number 1 runs every 10 minutes whilst the number 5 runs every 15 minutes... Therefore why do both buses always arrive at Nestle stop at the exact same time? Within York you generally find it is the smaller bus operations like Harrogate Coach Travel (aka Connexionsbuses), Reliance, Eddie Brown and Stephensons that give the best service - transdev isn't too bad either. Magicman!
  • Score: 0

11:44am Wed 23 Jan 13

akuma says...

The issue with First in York is that they know full well the council cannot drop them as there are no alternatives that are even nearly big enough to take over.

As such they now call the shots.

Nearly every other major city in the UK has bus service that run into the night to cater for evening drinkers except York, hell they ceased all services on Christmas and New Years Eve at 8pm, the very days that people needed public transport the most. No wonder drink driving stats were up this year.

As long as the Council has the weaker position in the relationship First will sit back on massive profit and do little to nothing to improve the service other than a few pointless gestures and the odd statement to The Press
The issue with First in York is that they know full well the council cannot drop them as there are no alternatives that are even nearly big enough to take over. As such they now call the shots. Nearly every other major city in the UK has bus service that run into the night to cater for evening drinkers except York, hell they ceased all services on Christmas and New Years Eve at 8pm, the very days that people needed public transport the most. No wonder drink driving stats were up this year. As long as the Council has the weaker position in the relationship First will sit back on massive profit and do little to nothing to improve the service other than a few pointless gestures and the odd statement to The Press akuma
  • Score: 0

1:13am Thu 24 Jan 13

Magicman! says...

The council can't "drop" First anyway, except where they tender the services out (such as on the lucrative Park and Ride contracts - perhaps that's where the key lies: when the contract comes up for renewal, give it to Transdev or somebody else and see where First goes from there, as my money would be on them then selling the depot and moving on), as services such as the 5 are commercially operated and the council has no control over who runs them - not unless a mandatory Quality Bus Partnership is started (the current QBP is voluntary) or even Quality Contracts (franchising)...

Looking back along York's bus history gives some idea as to why we have the current situation... we start at the time of the West Yorkshire Road Car company, which was a joint municipal operation - this was disbanded at the time of deregulation (thanks, Tories) with east yorkshire coast operations from the Malton depot being broken off and going to another company (AJS as I recall) and Harrogate operations going to another company too (over time these two operations came under the same company that then became Blazefield, which was then purchased by Transdev)... whilst York and west yorkshire operations were kept under the same company which then became the Yorkshire Rider Group - however the York operation was always kept as an at-arms-length operation, most of the time getting buses cascaded from elsewhere in the YR area (and when new buses did show up such as a fleet of Scania's to the same spec as those used for P&R services at the same time, they were used for 6 months and then scuttled off to huddersfield in exchange for second hand dennis darts and third hand leyland national 2's); and there was never any direct bus link provided by Rider between the two operations. In the late 1990's, YR purchased Glenn Coaches due to retirement of the owner and this left Rider York in sole command of the city's commercially-operate
d bus routes. It was at the same time that ownership of the Yorkshire Rider Group had changed - the owning company had been called Badgerline, but they had merged with Grampian Regional Transport to form a new company called...... Firstbus. The 'nose rings' of the new ownership appeared on the fleet rather quickly, and at the same time service quality depreciated notably. Gone were the days that "Revised Fare in Operation" notices in the windscreen could have meant the fares had gone down (Yes, that did actually happen several times during the 1990's) and a shed load of services got dropped too. But still the York operation was kept seperate from the more profitable west yorkshire operations despite the Firstbus mantra that more profitable companies would provide the finances to keep the lesser profitable operations afloat.

And this is the problem - in the grand scheme of things the York depot is just a small isolated operation in a city with horrendous traffic problems that are simply not being sorted out but if anything are getting worse; there are 4 high frequency services that are not park and rides which have fair levels of revenue incoming, and these routes are supplemented by 4 commercially operated services of lesser frequency and little/no evening service that have seen ridership levels decline over recent years due to First reducing service provision and increasing fares.

What First have done is make York seem like a bad move for better bus operators looking to expand their buisness, by shrinking the operation to just a bare skeleton of its former glory and reduce patronage by incessant service cuts, fare increases, route alterations, and evening reductions... any other company will simply look at the dropping passenger numbers and step away, leaving First to run the remaining services and cream off revenue from the poor sods who have no choice but to use what they call a service.
The council can't "drop" First anyway, except where they tender the services out (such as on the lucrative Park and Ride contracts - perhaps that's where the key lies: when the contract comes up for renewal, give it to Transdev or somebody else and see where First goes from there, as my money would be on them then selling the depot and moving on), as services such as the 5 are commercially operated and the council has no control over who runs them - not unless a mandatory Quality Bus Partnership is started (the current QBP is voluntary) or even Quality Contracts (franchising)... Looking back along York's bus history gives some idea as to why we have the current situation... we start at the time of the West Yorkshire Road Car company, which was a joint municipal operation - this was disbanded at the time of deregulation (thanks, Tories) with east yorkshire coast operations from the Malton depot being broken off and going to another company (AJS as I recall) and Harrogate operations going to another company too (over time these two operations came under the same company that then became Blazefield, which was then purchased by Transdev)... whilst York and west yorkshire operations were kept under the same company which then became the Yorkshire Rider Group - however the York operation was always kept as an at-arms-length operation, most of the time getting buses cascaded from elsewhere in the YR area (and when new buses did show up such as a fleet of Scania's to the same spec as those used for P&R services at the same time, they were used for 6 months and then scuttled off to huddersfield in exchange for second hand dennis darts and third hand leyland national 2's); and there was never any direct bus link provided by Rider between the two operations. In the late 1990's, YR purchased Glenn Coaches due to retirement of the owner and this left Rider York in sole command of the city's commercially-operate d bus routes. It was at the same time that ownership of the Yorkshire Rider Group had changed - the owning company had been called Badgerline, but they had merged with Grampian Regional Transport to form a new company called...... Firstbus. The 'nose rings' of the new ownership appeared on the fleet rather quickly, and at the same time service quality depreciated notably. Gone were the days that "Revised Fare in Operation" notices in the windscreen could have meant the fares had gone down (Yes, that did actually happen several times during the 1990's) and a shed load of services got dropped too. But still the York operation was kept seperate from the more profitable west yorkshire operations despite the Firstbus mantra that more profitable companies would provide the finances to keep the lesser profitable operations afloat. And this is the problem - in the grand scheme of things the York depot is just a small isolated operation in a city with horrendous traffic problems that are simply not being sorted out but if anything are getting worse; there are 4 high frequency services that are not park and rides which have fair levels of revenue incoming, and these routes are supplemented by 4 commercially operated services of lesser frequency and little/no evening service that have seen ridership levels decline over recent years due to First reducing service provision and increasing fares. What First have done is make York seem like a bad move for better bus operators looking to expand their buisness, by shrinking the operation to just a bare skeleton of its former glory and reduce patronage by incessant service cuts, fare increases, route alterations, and evening reductions... any other company will simply look at the dropping passenger numbers and step away, leaving First to run the remaining services and cream off revenue from the poor sods who have no choice but to use what they call a service. Magicman!
  • Score: 0

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