A COUNCIL boss described cuts to a local bus route as ‘heartbreaking’ but said areas affected by changes are not being abandoned - as the next steps in the future of York’s bus network were approved.

As previously reported in The Press, recommendations to run fewer buses and reduce operating hours for services subsidised by the council were among the list of bus service changes the executive was asked to approve in a meeting on February 20.

Subsidised services will be affected by the changes as soon as June 2 this year.

The bus routes facing changes will be numbers 1,11,12,13,14,16,19,24,25 and 26.

The amendments will include timetable changes, increased route length, reduced frequency, reduced operating hours (route number 1 only), reduced route length (route number 13 only) and the merger of route 25 and 26.

Accepting £1.153 million more government funding for the city’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP),and an application for more electric buses were also approved by council leaders.


Council papers show an estimated saving of £200,000 to subsidised routes by changes signed off in the meeting but say this cash will be needed to pay for proposed increases across the network, as bus operator costs increase and contracts for routes are to be renewed in the next financial year.

The removal from route number 13 of the specific ‘Flaxman Croft Loop’ in Copmanthorpe will result in an additional walking distance to some residents of up to 650 metres, the council executive was told.

Critics of the decision to remove the loop on the number 13 service included disability rights activist Flick Williams, who said the cut would prevent older and more mobility impaired people being able able to access local facilities in Copmanthorpe.

Flick added: “It will either leave them socially isolated or make them dependent upon the kindness of relatives and friends with a car who can drive them into the village.”

Executive Member for Economy and Transport, Councillor Pete Kilbane, said: “It is with great regret that we are losing the loop, but the sums don’t add up in terms of the subsidy, both for the operators but also for how we spend the BSIP money."

'We want reliable and affordable services that users know will meet their needs'

Referring to the specific cost to the council of the subsidy per passenger for this service, Cllr Kilbane said: “Essentially, every time someone gets on a bus, the residents of York are paying £3.40 for that person to get on that bus out of the BSIP money we’ve managed to draw down from the government.

“It’s council money that we’re spending to subsidise that bus, and we want to do that, and we do want to make sure that we keep those services running but it gets to a point, and unfortunately Flaxman Croft was one of those points, where it is just not economical because not enough people are using the bus service.

“Now that is heartbreaking, and I wish that we didn’t have to do it, but we do.

“It’s not that these areas are being abandoned, it’s just that this is what we can do with the money that we’ve got at the moment to stabilise the network and make sure that it can grow into the future.”

Council officers told the meeting that the bus service subsidy the council pays is £1.5 million more than it was five years ago, a threefold increase, as passenger numbers have so far failed to recover from pre-pandemic numbers.

Cllr Kilbane said: “These proposals are about stabilising the bus network, ensuring it is comprehensive in covering all of the city and establishing a network that stands the test of time.

“We want reliable and affordable services that users know will meet their needs.

“More Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funding is also helping us make bus travel more affordable, especially for children and young people”.