‘What do we want? Bustice. When do we want it? Now.’
That’s the clarion call from a student campaigning for York’s transport to be improved.
Steph Hayle, who suffers from a disability that causes her muscles to fail, relies on public transport to get to work and university.
The 22-year-old says the city needs to improve transport to help its most vulnerable residents, as well as city businesses, employees and visitors.
“Prices are increasing, punctuality and frequency are dropping, and the routes are shifting,” Steph says.
She started a petition to City of York Council calling for a public inquiry into transport, which has already been signed by more than 1,700 people.
‘Need to start again’
In her role as community and wellbeing officer at the University of York Students’ Union, Steph has written an open letter to detailing “the many concerns we have around public transport across the city of York”. She said:
It can be a struggle to travel to the shops, to work and to the university.
I have waited 45 minutes for a bus in sub-zero temperatures and it has left me in extreme pain, and with my joints frozen up for two days. What could happen to somebody in a wheelchair or an elderly person or a young child in that situation?
This is a lot bigger than just a student campaign, we’re lobbying for everyone in York. Incremental and individual changes haven’t worked, we need to start again with a fully holistic approach to tackling the problems in our city.
She said fares are going up and service is getting worse, so more people drive, and this has an impact on air pollution.
Jams and roadworks
Bus and train services are not run by the council, but Marc Bichtemann, director at First York, said he is committed to working with the authority to reduce congestion. He said:
We were sorry to hear about Steph’s experience and we can confirm that we have met to discuss her concerns.
We review bus service reliability daily and make necessary changes when there is a problem identified on the route.
However our bus services are also impacted by increasing road congestion and roadworks diversions, which mean that delays are sometimes out of our control.
Andrew Bradley, from the council’s transport department, said he has also spoken to Steph and added: “We sympathise with anyone who experiences problems with the city’s transport network and are happy to listen and help them if we can.
“The council has an adopted Local Transport Plan, which shapes council policy and priorities with regard to transport in the city.”