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Proposed changes to council-supported bus services

Monday 5th January 2015

Buses

Proposals to change bus services which currently receive funding from City of York Council will go to a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 6th January.

Due to poor passenger numbers and the need to make budget savings, proposals being taken to the council's cabinet meeting advise that some services should be fully or partially withdrawn. In preparation of these proposals, the council has undertaken detailed work to identify the numbers of passengers using each of the routes it currently funds.

In the council's February 2014 budget meeting, it was agreed that a significant saving of £200,000 from the transport budget would be made in the 2015/16 financial year.

The council has worked closely with the bus operators to decide which services should continued to be subsidised or withdrawn partially or fully, and also to understand whether there are any opportunities for services to be operated without council subsidy.

Of those services recommended to be withdrawn, passenger levels have been identified as the lowest on the York bus network. In all cases this means the services identified fail to meet the council’s subsidy criteria of a minimum of nine passengers per bus hour operated, and a maximum cost to the council of £2 per passenger. 

The following changes are therefore proposed due to very low passenger numbers:

  • Services 16A and 27 to be withdrawn completely.
  • Services 10, 14, 36 and 20 to be partially withdrawn.
  • Service 21 to be withdrawn in 2016 following discussion with North Yorkshire County Council, who jointly fund the route.

An option to deliver increased savings is also proposed. If agreed, the council’s subsidy criteria would need to be changed for the first time in over five years, delivering an additional £35,000 saving.

Neil Ferris, Assistant Director for Transport, Highways & Waste said: “A close evaluation of passenger numbers across the subsidised York network has now been undertaken, which has shown that levels on some services are amongst some of the lowest on the York bus network. This means we can no longer justify the subsidy paid to operate them.

"In some cases less than nine passengers are using the service every hour. We simply can not afford to continue funding services which are poorly used. This is why we are taking a report to Cabinet and recommending these savings are approved. These savings present best value for money solution with limited resources that remain to support bus services.”

If approved, the service changes could be implemented from April 2015.

To see the full report and to find out how to attend the meeting visit http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=733&MId=8332

The Cabinet meeting will take place on Tuesday 6th January at West Offices from 5.30pm and is open to the public. You can watch the meeting live online at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.

Decision - services not to be withdrawn

On Tuesday 6th January, Cabinet agreed:

  1. Not to make the recommended budget savings in relation to the withdrawal/reduction of bus routes;
  2. To undertake consultation on the criteria used for the funding of subsidised bus services;
  3. That the Director of City and Environmental Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning & Economic Development, be delegated authority to make the necessary efficiencies in services which does not involve the withdrawal of any bus routes.