First York P&R contract renewed

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The electric Optare Versas currently used on the York Park & Ride services are expected to undergo minor
refurbishments before the new contract begins. JAMES DAY

New ADL Enviro400 MMCs and a potential fleet of electric Optare Metrodeckers could be seen on the service once the contract renews in February 2018

York City Council and First York are set to extend their partnership delivering the city’s Park & Ride service, after the operator successfully bid for the seven-year contract commencing in early 2018.

The new partnership agreement will see electric buses operating on three of the six routes, with new ADL Enviro400 MMC Euro 6 diesel buses completing the Park & Ride fleet. First York has committed to contactless payments and next-stop announcements on the service.

A First spokesperson told CBW that the company is planning to continue using its electric Optare Versas on the Park & Ride fleet after they have undergone some slight upgrades. It is currently working on its plans for the existing Mercedes-Benz Citaros.

Overnight parking will also be introduced at the Askham Bar and Monks Cross Park & Ride sites, giving visitors the ability to park at the site en-route to their hotel accommodation, or to access the rail network for a journey elsewhere lasting more than one day.

The bid was approved by the executive at a council meeting on May 18, and the new contract arrangements are set to commence in February 2018. The competitive tender process took place earlier this year with bus operators given the opportunity to bid for the new contract.

York is one of only a handful of Park & Ride operations which returns revenue back to the council, generating £39k in 2017/8. However, because the income will be lower in 2018/19 than in previous years, the council will need to allocate an additional £85k in its budget in that year.

Executive Member for Transport and Planning, Cllr Ian Gillies, enthused: “Since 2016, we have seen over 4.6m passenger journeys on the city’s Park & Ride service. This new agreement between the council and First Bus York will help to reaffirm our position as having one of the best and most well used Park & Ride services in the country.”

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, said: “We’re proud to have been selected to continue to operate the York Park & Ride scheme, which is one of the most successful in the country. We will continue to offer a high quality and reliable service through the strong and effective partnership that we hold with City of York Council.

“We will be trialling a new electric Optare Metrodecker over the next month with a view to introducing these to Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar in the New Year, as we continue to support the council in its aim to improve air quality by reducing emissions and encouraging car users to switch to bus travel.”