York’s Liberal Democrat councillors have called for clarification on the future of vital bus services which were recently saved from the axe.
In June, council officers made a last-minute decision to allocate £36,400 to keep a number of services running for three months after First York had planned to axe them from 2nd July, claiming that they were no longer economical to operate.
The services which were reprieved included:
With the three-month stay of execution now having a month left to run, Cllr Stephen Fenton, Lib Dem Group Transport Spokesperson, has called for clarification on the future of these and other services that may be under threat.
He said “The clock is ticking and residents are understandably concerned at the prospect of these bus services being stopped in a few weeks’ time, so there is a need for urgent clarification. The services under threat are vital for the many residents who rely on them to get to and from school, college and work and also to meet up with friends in the city centre. Not everyone has access to a car, and for those that do, the last thing we should be doing is forcing more private vehicles onto already congested roads.”
In June council officers had recommended that a further exercise be carried out to secure prices to operate the retained services until the end of March 2025, which may require the reallocation of around £250k of Bus Service Improvement funding that had been secured by the previous Lib Dem / Green administration and had been earmarked to provide fares support for young people’s travel.
Cllr Fenton added “The council can and should work with operators to protect vital services, but what is needed is Government action to provide long-term certainty for bus operators and for passengers. Without this, we are likely to continue to face these cliff-edge situations. York’s Liberal Democrat councillors will continue to make the case for fair funding for our city’s transport needs.”
Haxby & Wigginton Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Hollyer has also called for clarification on the future of the number 13 service after residents reported that they had been told by a bus driver that the West Nooks leg of the route was under threat. Cllr Hollyer said “It is concerning to learn of this threat in this way. The number 13 provides a vital service to residents in the West Nooks area of Haxby, and its loss would leave many without practical access to public transport. That’s why I am calling for confirmation that this leg of the number 13 route will be protected.”