If York is to persuade more people out of their cars and onto buses, the whole experience must improve – starting with the city’s bus stops.
That’s the message from York Bus Forum as it launches a draft bus stop charter – setting out the standards they want to see for passengers. The charter includes:
- All stops to be sited as close as possible to the location(s) they serve
- All bus stops should be within 400 meters of housing development on both sides of the road, and no more than 400m apart in built up areas
- All stops to have lighting and mains, battery or solar powered electronic timetable boards, and waste bins where practicable
- Clear safe access for wheelchair and pram users.
Bus forum secretary Niall McFerran told YorkMix: “A lot of the bus stops are fine – they’re new modern bus stops with seating and with shelter, and with good passenger information.
“But there’s still far too many that are woefully inadequate for the task that we require to be done here – which is to persuade people that it’s better to use the bus than use their car.”
He contrasted York’s ‘worst bus stop’ – “just a post in the ground” on Piccadilly – with the modern ones round the corner on Merchantgate, “that have got shelter, seating, real time passenger information”.
Not enough room
Flick Williams of the forum said bad bus stops were a nightmare for wheelchair users like her.
“There are many bus stops in York where there actually isn’t enough room,” she said.
“We’ve just watched a number of people board a bus [on Piccadilly], all of whom were older people, mobility impaired, one lady was struggling with a shopping trolley.
“And you can see how narrow the pavement is behind. So if I were going to catch a bus from this bus stop, by the time the bus had stopped and deployed its ramp, absolutely nobody would be able to get past on the footpath.”
She was also concerned about segregated cycle lanes being introduced onto streets like Piccadilly.
“Bus users, many of whom are older and disabled people because they don’t drive, will then be forced to cross from the stop across an active cycle lane to board the bus from an island.
“Will the island be big enough to have the capacity to hold all the people wanting to board the bus, especially when you’ve got wheelchair users and shopping trolleys, all those sorts of things added into the mix?”
The money’s there
York Central MP Rachael Maskell is backing the bus stop charter. “It’s really important to have the infrastructure in place to get the modal shift – get people out of their cars and vehicles onto buses.
“People aren’t going to use them if they’ve got to stand in the rain, or it’s quite inaccessible to then get onto a bus.”
She said her constituents raise these issues with her. “Many people tell me they would use buses, if only they ran into the evening, or if only their routes covered their area.
“But they just can’t walk that extra distance, or indeed plan their day around the bus timetable. So there is a long way to go.”
Niall said the money was there to upgrade York’s bus stops. “Under the new bus services improvement plan, York was awarded £17.3 million.
“They have allocated a quarter million for new bus stops. And we think it should be well over a million to provide the bus stop infrastructure that the city would benefit from.”
Anyone who wants to give their input into the draft bus stop charter can do so at the York Bus Forum.
“It’s very close to being the final charter,” said Niall.
“We have an opportunity to discuss it with the city council, with the bus operators. Everybody at the moment is on board and agrees with us that we do need to make some improvements.”