She's Electric

Focus of work

The context for this research project is the election in May of a Mayor for the new Combined Authority of York and North Yorkshire. This body will bring together certain functions of the City of York and North Yorkshire Councils, of which strategic transport planning is one of the most important. The Mayor will have extensive powers and substantial funding under the Government’s devolution deal. After years of decline this offers the potential to bring disparate policies for public transport together within a fresh vision at a time when it is vital to offer a real alternative to the use of private cars. The aim is to reduce environmental damage and congestion and to address the deprivation and loneliness that is triggered by the withdrawal of bus services. The outline plan covers a possible network of connected high-quality inter-urban routes that would operate frequently at standard times throughout the day, every day of the week. It would be complemented by carefully-planned links with urban and local services. The entire network would make using trains and buses simple and convenient and over time build confidence in using a facility available to everyone in the community.

Impact

The research has been welcomed by the groups who are looking to the Mayor to use powers for significant new initiatives in public transport and by a local Member of Parliament who suggested that Passenger Transport Networks should be invited to undertake it. There are (so far) five declared candidates for the election, and they and their parties have expressed keen interest in the proposals. That will of course be tested as campaigning evolves over the coming months, particularly at a transport-focussed hustings. The plans also generated much favourable comment when they were covered in depth in the York Press. Officers of the Combined Authority will be examining the ideas as they develop strategic plans for the new Mayor to consider. It would be gratifying if the ideas influence opinion in what may be a closely-fought election! Passenger Transport Networks’ first hope is that the new Mayor will approve trial operation of a dramatically enhanced route to test public responses and to raise expectations of what could be achieved.

Share This