‘This will impact staff, patients and visitors’: York’s hospital bus is axed
The York hospital bus will be axed at the end of the month, councillors said today.
The last operating day for the service will be Friday 31 March.
Now a campaign has been launched to save the bus, which connects Rawcliffe Bar Park & Ride and York Hospital.
The hospital bus has been operated by First York with financial support from the hospital.
First York said it was not their decision to stop the service, but the hospital trust had withdrawn their funding.
Lib Dem councillor for Rawcliffe & Clifton Without Darryl Smalley said: “Given that the bus is intended to serve staff, patients and visitors, some of whom will be older or ill – this decision will have a major impact on all of them.
“We believe that instead of cancelling the service, First should invest in making it more reliable, whilst the hospital trust should tackle the multi-storey car park issues – which would help reduce the terrible traffic congestion suffered on Wigginton Road.
“A service from the park and ride to the hospital remains a sensible measure to reduce congestion locally.”
He has set up a petition calling on the service to be retained. You can read and sign it here.
Cllr Sam Waudby added: “We’ve had hundreds of conversations about bus services locally, and it’s absolutely clear that the hospital bus is greatly appreciated, but underused.
“Whilst the route is clearly currently underused, many of First’s operational decisions have contributed to this lack of use.
“For the last few months the ‘hospital bus’ hasn’t actually reached the hospital – it’s not a surprise passenger numbers have dwindled.
“All alternatives must be looked at to ensure patients, staff and visitors can access the hospital as easy and quickly as possible.”
Other bus options available with stops near the hospital are:
- the Rawcliffe Bar P&R (Service 2) picks up and drops off close to Bootham, which is a 10-15 minute walk from the hospital site
- The Service 6 picks up and drops off on Wigginton Road outside the hospital.
When councillors previously raised concerns about the hospital bus failing to reach the hospital, we asked York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to comment.
A trust spokesperson told us: “Due to the ongoing Emergency Department project, the bus cannot come on site to turn round to return to Rawcliffe Bar Park and Ride. This has meant turning on the Nestle roundabout on Wigginton Road.
“Unprecedented levels of pressure on hospital services, plus seasonal elements such as dark and cold weather, has resulted in more cars on the road and moving slowly around the hospital site.
“We are working to ease the pressure on traffic around the hospital multi-storey car park and on our site, and will be replacing the access barriers to the carpark which will streamline access to the multi-storey.
“New signage to display real-time space availability is also being installed to prevent people queuing when the car park is full.
“Every month we meet with representatives from City of York Council’s transport department to work closely on joint issues. This is part of a wider discussion around traffic congestion and long term transport plans for York.
“It includes issues around the ever-expanding population and increase in visitors to York, all which have an impact on our hospital.”