FEWER buses and reduced operating hours are among the bus service recommendations being made to City of York Council’s Executive this week.

The council said ‘important updates’ on the future of the network will be presented to leaders in the administration on February 20.

Documents include a council-commissioned transport consultant report and outcomes of a public consultation on some bus services that currently receive public subsidy via the council.

Council documents say that services face ‘rising costs and reductions in bus passenger numbers’, while the money available for subsidising some services will not cover the costs of running them.

This would mean further cuts, to some ‘well-used and socially necessary services’, the documents say.

The council executive is being asked to sign off a reduction in the frequency of the following services from as soon as June 2 this year:

  • Service 11: Bishopthorpe – City – Heworth, from every 50 minutes to an hourly service
  • Service 16: Acomb – Hamilton Drive – City, from every 45 minutes to every hour
  • Service 19: Skelton – Burton Stone Lane – City, from every 30 minutes to an hourly Monday to Saturday service, but this is subject to the bus operator’s new prices when the service next goes out to tender.
  • Service 1: Chapelfields – City – Wigginton, would see three services operating after 10.30pm on a Sunday evening withdrawn, with the executive being asked to retain services running before 6am.
  • Service 13: Copmanthorpe – City – Haxby, is being recommended to now avoid Flaxman Croft in Copmanthorpe on the Monday to Friday service.

The executive will be told that the Service 13 change would result in an additional walking distance to the nearest bus service to some people of up to 650 metres.

The route was the subject of a 573 signature petition this year, objecting to the council’s proposed removal of the Flaxman Croft ‘loop’ contained within its bus services review survey, which took place between December 21 last year and January 17 this year.

Testimonies from the review included: “Removing the Flaxman loop from the Number 13 will affect so many of the elderly community in the village around this stop.

"Expecting them to be able to walk up a steep hill to access a bus stop up to one mile away is simply a ridiculous suggestion."

Others said of the proposal: “Someone should actually come and walk from the bottom of the estate before suggesting it.”

York Press: Improvements to Park and Ride sites are included in the updateImprovements to Park and Ride sites are included in the update (Image: Kevin Glenton)

The council documents say there were 1,205 respondents to the bus services review survey, which attracted criticism over the choice of timing.

The council executive will also be asked to accept £1.153 million of new York Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding awarded by the Department for Transport for 2024/25, with £750,000 already earmarked to continue bus service subsidy.

City of York Council was allocated £17.36 million of BSIP funding in April 2022 and the grant for the first year of £4.575 million was paid to the council in November 2022.

The transport consultancy documents say City of York Council currently pays out around £2 million a year in subsidy to bus operators ‘to keep the current bus network running’.

The council highlighted one key aspect of the BSIP funding so far has been to reduce fares for children and young people, including free fares for accompanied under-16s, improvements to all-day tickets and the introduction of a young person’s weekly ticket.

Money has also been spent on improving information and accessibility at bus stops and lobbying for wider improvements for bus users, including at park and ride sites, according to a council spokesperson.

The final part of the Executive report will be to provide details of York’s latest bid to the Department for Transport for new money for electrifying buses.