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8 year York bus contract decision called in

A long term contract to run York’s park and ride services is the subject of a cross party ‘call in’ by the Labour and Green Groups on City of York Council after it became clear the issue has not been subject to proper public consultation.
 
The council’s Executive agreed principles for procuring the next 8 year contract at its meeting last week.  But key opportunities to improve the contract have been missed, according to Labour’s Stuart Barnes.
 
Coun. Barnes said:
 
“York’s Park and Ride is a real success story which has seen passenger numbers increase from half a million in the year it was launched to 4.5m last year.  With that success comes the opportunity to agree a contract which makes a number of improvements, including extending the hours of operation as well as upgrading the fleet of buses used. 
 
“But significantly, this call in has been made due the absence of proper consultation, with members of the public and councillors in affected wards not given their say over how services operate in the future.  While Park and Ride services rely on very few stops to make the service attractive to would-be users, in some areas of the city residents have very few alternatives to the park and ride, so this has to be properly considered and people allowed to have their say”.
 
The extension of operating hours is seen as key to the council’s efforts to stimulate and boost the evening economy, an agenda councillors have been actively working on in recent years. 
 
And with buses playing a major part in determining air quality standards in the city centre, ultra low emission buses are seen as essential if York is to tackle breaches of safe air quality levels in the years to come.
 
Green councillor Andy D’Agorne, said:
 
“Improving air quality in the city centre must be a key goal of the next park and ride contract but operating hours are also an important consideration for the city centre evening economy.
 
“We need to not only extend these hours but also make changes that allow visitors to return later to their cars or leave their cars at park and ride sites over the weekend”.
 
Full wording of the call-in:
 
The decision has been called in by Councillors D’Agorne, Looker and S Barnes, for the following reasons:
 
  1. The need for further community consultation on the detail, particularly in relation to intermediate stops and operating hours;
  2. The proposal should specify ultra-low emission vehicles will be a core requirement. This is essential to ensure that the City of York is able to meet air quality commitments in the city centre and thus comply with our Air Quality Strategy and EU directives;
  3. Minimum levels of evening services and overnight parking provision should be clearly specified as a core specification.
 
The item will be considered by Corporate & Scrutiny Management Policy & Scrutiny Committee, provisionally scheduled for Monday 12 October at 5.30pm.
 

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