YORK is split on whether congestion- charging should be introduced on the city’s streets.

The results of a public consultation exercise on how to stop York becoming gridlocked have been revealed, with almost 7,300 people having their say.

Almost four in ten of those who responded – 39 per cent – said they would prefer the traffic issue to be tackled without resorting to installing a London-style tax on drivers.

However, 28 per cent say they would favour such a scheme if it meant more cash being available for transport initiatives.

Options for addressing traffic flow around the city and the number of commuters entering and travelling through the heart of York, both of which could involve charging, were backed by 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

The findings will next week go before City of York Council’s cross-party congestion scrutiny committee, which commissioned and agreed the consultation.

Businesses gave congestion charging a resounding no, with only 12 per cent choosing it as their favoured scenario.

The two most popular individual measures for cutting congestion were improving local bus services (69 per cent) and creating a freight depot on the edge of York to reduce the number of delivery trucks entering the city (66 per cent).

Coun Steve Galloway, the council’s executive member for city strategy, said: “While I welcome some of the background information provided by the survey, it is unfortunate the options tabled by the committee for addressing congestion relied so heavily on charging for access.”

“I am not surprised the only option which did not involve charging was favoured by the majority of respondents. This reflects the view revealed by our private surveys and petitions, while supporting the decision taken by the council not to support the introduction of a local road-pricing system.”

Coun Dave Merrett, who chairs the scrutiny committee, said: “The results are very interesting with some important messages.

“The largest single group of respondents favour a no-charging solution in terms of funding higher transport investment, but the three options involving charging actually received more support.”

He said the “logical next step”

would be to draw up detailed long term proposals reflecting the results of the survey, with a particular focus on making bus travel more attractive.

More views about city congestion

• Those who do not use buses said the main barriers to travelling that way were cost, poor frequency of service and reliability.

• Those who do not use bikes, apart from those who do not own one, said the chief deterrents to cycling were safety concerns, health problems or age, the need to carry equipment or bags and the weather.

• Those who do not travel on foot said the main reasons they shied away from walking were because their journeys are too far or take too long, and the need to carry bags or equipment.

• After improving bus services and creating a freight depot, the most popular single measures for cutting congestion were improving the Outer Ring Road junctions, investing in bus infrastructure, opening an extra Park&Ride site on Wetherby Road and providing more space for buses and cyclists.

• Men were more likely to travel around the city by car, with women being more likely to walk to work.

• Over-55s are more likely to use Park&Ride services than younger residents.