York students could be set to benefit from planned upgrades to the city’s bus network. Under new proposals bus stops would be improved and a similar system to the Oyster Cards used in London could be implemented.
City of York Council is hoping to receive £2 million from the Department of Transport’s Better Bus Area Fund and would use the same sum of its own money to bring these plans to fruition.
These proposals go further than current plans to introduce a paper-based common ticket by the end of spring. This would be beneficial to students at the University as they would be able to use the same ticket with different bus operators.
If the council’s bid is successful, then the plan is to introduce smart-ticketing where credits are electronically stored on cards. Electronic information boards with “real time” updates on services would also be installed.
The plans aim to make busses more efficient and curb journey times. Studies by the Council have shown bus stops are overcrowded as passengers have to wait for as long as 35 minutes every hour. A report by Andrew Bradley, the Council’s principal transport planner, says delays have meant operators have built “slack” into their schedules leading to service users waiting for long periods, adding to congestion.
Earlier this month the Council outlined plans to the City to replace the controversial ftr buses, in line with changes to improve public transport across York.
These are expected to be removed from service by Easter this year and a fleet of double-decker buses will be commissioned on the number 4 route from Acomb to the University of York instead.
Dave Merrett, City of York Councillor, who will be asked to approve York’s application, said: “If successful, this bid would see a major step forward in improving York’s local bus services, which we know is a top transport priority for residents.
He added, “Smart ticketing, and measures to tackle journey hold-ups will help bring York’s local bus services into the 21st century.”
A decision on the application is due later this week.