YORK’S bus network could be shaken up as part of a plan to tackle congestion.

City of York Council is preparing to launch a public consultation exercise on a string of transport issues, including whether a London-style congestion charge would help alleviate gridlock.

An urgent review of the authority’s bus strategy is one of the areas identified as crucial to the study, which could include how access to York Hospital can be improved and whether the Wigginton Road site could be included on York’s Park&Ride routes.

A report, which will go before the council’s traffic congestion scrutiny committee next week, also suggests looking at the issues of improving promotion of public transport, providing timetable displays and shelters at all bus stops and asking bus companies to provide “more accurate and credible timings and work to them”.

The consultation could begin on February 12.

Labour councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, who originally sparked the traffic probe, said: “This is a really urgent issue because more and more people are using cars, often for short journeys.

“If people can understand why changes need to be made, they might be more willing to help us in making them, and the public consultation is a huge part of this because residents need to derstand the consequences of doing nothing.”

In the report, scrutiny officer Melanie Carr said the committee felt the recommendations on bus issues should be slotted into the next stage of the city’s Local Transport Plan.

The plan may also include new traffic strategy with North Yorkshire Police which would give pedestrians more priority at traffic signals, The council is set to continue to look at setting up a freight interchange, where delivery lorries could park on the edge of York and offload their supplies on to smaller, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

A spokeswoman for York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would obviously welcome any changes which would help visitors and patients get to and from the hospital and ease any parking problems."

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