Holgate and Micklegate Liberal Democrats

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Our Letter to the Council about the 44 Bus

by aileenhingston on 31 January, 2017

This is the full text of our letter to the Council.  We included anonymous extracts from your survey forms – thank you for being so eloquent!

31 January 2017

Future Bus Service along Hamilton Drive/Holly Bank to Acomb

 I know you have been considering what bus service there should be to Acomb, along Hamilton Drive and Holly Bank, once the current TransDev No 44 bus contract ends in March 2017.

Holgate Liberal Democrats have called at almost 500 houses in the area which most depends on this route – roads like Mattison Way and Lady Hamilton Drive which are a good walk from any alternative bus route. We asked residents if they used the 44 bus, whether they wanted a bus to continue along the route, and what they thought of the current service.

The main conclusions were:

  • Most people who responded use the bus, at least sometimes, and recognise its importance for their neighbours, particularly older people.
  • Residents say the service has deteriorated since December – in particular, they regret that it stops at the station, when most of them want to go on to the Stonebow/Piccadilly area.
  • Residents find the current service unreliable. Many said they would accept an hourly service, which kept to time, in preference to an unreliable one on a shorter timetable.
  • Bus users noted that the current timetable is very difficult to sustain e.g. a very brief turnround time at the station.
  • About half the people who use the bus would also sometimes use a Sunday service if it was available. Some people wanted buses to continue into the early evening, especially on Saturday.
  • Elderly residents were eloquent about the importance of being able to get out and maintain their independence; to reach doctors, hospital, pharmacy, post office and shops (both in Acomb and the city centre) or to meet friends and go to cultural activities. Some said it was too far to walk to alternative routes on Acomb Road or Holgate Road, difficult to stand for a long time in the cold waiting for an unreliable bus, and not convenient to change buses at the station on outward and return journeys.
  • Some younger people said they had switched to different routes to work since the 44 service ended at the station, but recognised the impact on the viability of the service and were concerned for their elderly neighbours.

I attach a transcript of some of the comments we received, which show the strength of feeling.

 I hope this evidence will be useful in deciding on a continued bus service on this route, and exactly what should be provided. Residents are clear that they were better served when the bus went beyond the station, and I hope you can get a route which turns at Piccadilly. If a new service is provided, reliability against the timetable should be carefully monitored as this is very important for older passengers.

I look forward to hearing what is to be done.

Yours sincerely

Aileen Hingston

Holgate Liberal Democrats

44 Bus Service: Residents’ Comments in Response to Holgate LibDem Survey Jan 2017

Importance of Bus Service

* Please do everything you can to keep a bus service running. My family cannot afford to run a car. This service helps me do the shopping, and get to work. It makes it possible to get round with a 3 year old. For elderly people, health and quality of life is improved by ability to travel cheaply and independently. A reduced, unreliable service this winter has been damaging for many residents.

* I have concerns that without the bus service, many people would be forced to stay in as not always able to afford taxi, get lifts from people with cars. Why, as I get older, should I be forced to be housebound? Too far for many to walk to get another bus, this means people will be housebound, followed by depression, cost to Doctor/hospital when they would have been happy to do as much as they can themselves.

* Need to keep 44 bus as it is a lifeline to some people. Changing the bus route was a big mistake. This is the only bus we have, put it back to how it was.

* Bus service is vital for a lot of people, especially the elderly who can become isolated without it.

* Bus service has declined over many years. Needed to get to appointments at doctor’s, hospital, shopping, post office.

Needs to Go Beyond Railway Station

* Would like bus to go further into city centre as inconvenient to get only to station.

* The current 44 end of the journey at York station is pretty useless for us, going and return. Need to go into town (theatre or Piccadilly).

* No longer use 44 as it only goes to the station – easier to walk to the Fox and take a different service.

* Used to use 44 Unibus to commute from Foss Island Road; less so now it only goes to the station. Is now less reliable.

* Please keep 44 bus running along Holly Bank. Please revert to service to Stonebow/Piccadilly.

* Bus needs to run to centre of town and in the early evenings.

* Bus should run to Piccadilly/Stonebow, every 30 mins Mon to Sat, and hourly on Sun. Route is needed to get to Acomb for medical and dental services, chemists, banks, shopping.

* Loop round Holly Bank is important for people who can’t walk very far. Now that bus only goes to the station, is less used because people choose to walk further and catch a bus which goes beyond the station.

* It would be good to have one bus every hour going to Stonebow or Clifford Street. It is a lifesaver for many residents and more would use it if it was more reliable.

* Better if bus went to Piccadilly.

* Will the bus go further into town? Please! Ouse Bridge or Piccadilly!

Reliability and Frequency

* The 44 to Heslington was a fantastic service that you could depend on. Since the route was shortened, the service leaves my stop 5-10 mins earlier than timetabled and a lot of people are missing the bus on a morning. The new timetable is not suited to general working hours. I have noticed that it is not as well used as the previous service, for example I now walk home every day because the bus leaves the station just before I arrive on a night and I won’t wait 35 mins for a bus. This service is required as there are a lot of elderly people in this area who do not have cars. Please keep the service for the residents. To have back the original 44 to Heslington would be amazing.

* Bus didn’t turn up yesterday at 11 am, also Tuesday. Stopping at York railway station and not continuing to Piccadilly is useless – elderly are stranded, having to wait for another bus into the city centre. It’s only half a service. The axed service was thriving and busy. Please return to town centre. Better to be hourly but reliable.

* The loss of the 44 leaves a huge number of pensioners dependent on the No 1 – further away, and unreliable. The 44 used to be reliable, with very helpful drivers. A bus route on Hamilton Drive is absolutely essential and must be reliable, otherwise we have to use the car.

* A bus every 30 mins is great but hourly would be acceptable if it went beyond railway station.

* Current service is not keeping to timetable and so less used. Stopping at station is unsatisfactory as passengers have to change bus to travel to Piccadilly, and reverse on the journey home – too much standing around in cold weather. Buses essential for cultural and social activities, also shopping and appointments. Reliability should be improved.

* Bus should go beyond station; should be more reliable.

* Alternative services 1 and 5 – have to get up steep slope to Holgate Road, difficult for some people. Both go to the theatre not Piccadilly, so have to change bus at station anyway. One bus an hour would do.

* The current timetable has only 2 mins between arrival at York station and departure from opposite side of road, after going round loop with 4 sets of traffic lights – impossible!

* Buses are unreliable – waited 40 mins last time. But needed for elderly people.

* Bus service much less reliable since December. No way it can get to and from Acomb in time allocated so hardly ever runs to time. Better to have a less frequent service which is more reliable.

Extended Timetable

* Need buses in the evening.

* Bus should run later into Saturday evening

* A Sunday service would be much appreciated.

Size of Bus

* The buses that come round Hob Moor drive are too big for the road and there is no room to get out of the way. (Opposed to continued bus service.)

* A smaller bus may be more cost effective.

* Why not use a smaller bus?

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. V. Claxton says:

    Thank you for your concern and for your letter. It made me feel that my opinion was of some value .My friends and neighbours, all elderly, felt the same. We look forward to our new bus service.

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