Bus Prioritisation in Whitby

Whitby : Transport

As any Whitby and District resident will know, bus transport here is at all-time low levels of provision, and not providing much motivation at all for people to leave the car behind. The recent decimation of the Arriva 95 bus service drew that into focus, with removal of the Sunday service, and reducing to every hour instead of every 30 mins (hint, it used to be every 15 mins, so we can see the “direction of travel”, pardon the pun). This cut was, in the opinion of Robert Goodwill MP, due to “bus ridership fall, and therefore although a case can be made for subsiding buses in some situations, if the buses are running well below capacity, it is very difficult to make that justification” and from Cllr Keane Duncan, NYC exec Cllr for Transportation and Highways “The Arriva decision is a commercial one and reflects the need to balance costs against income“.

Bearing in mind the funding for transport in Yorkshire per head of population is the order of 30-40% of what the south get per head, obviously councils here have to make tough decisions so maybe it is just that, though interestingly the MP for this area has no answer yet as to when his government will be “levelling up” this utter mismatch in funding that has been going on for decades now, and he’ll certainly be gone by the time that happens, if it ever does. Clearly these reasons do not mention the fact that the Arriva bus services in the Whitby and District area are some of the most unreliable in the country, with breakdowns, missing services, etc a regular occurrence, with the suspicion that the buses provided are some of the oldest available in their fleet, hence the maintenance issues. No utilisation figures are available from Arriva or NYC seemingly.

It is worth comparing this with the bus provided explicitly for tourists, namely the Park-and-Ride bus. This service runs “up to” every 10-15 mins between April and October, between 08:00-20:30 April-July, and 08:00-18:30 July-Sept, etc. Clearly the frequency is much more than that provided for residents. One would be pardoned for thinking that the tourist pays the council tax. So let’s look at the utilisation numbers for the Park-and-Ride, obtained in a FOI to NYC in August 2022.

Let’s take a weekday, Friday 20th May 2022 in this case (note that we could have taken a date in April and had even worse numbers).

  • Total numbers of passengers on each bus travelling INBOUND from P&R were : 1, 2, 5, 2, 9, 6, 10, 5, 3, 3, 4, 7, 4, 9, 3, 5, 6, 2, 4, 2, 2, 4, 8, 6, 6, 3, 5, 3, 2, 2, 2, 10, 7, 9, 4, 8, 3, 4, 2.
  • Total number of passengers on each bus going OUTBOUND from Whitby Bus Stn were : 3, 7, 10, 2, 8, 1, 1, 5, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 2, 4, 4, 5, 14, 9, 2, 4, 3, 4, 2, 1, 2, 11, 4, 10, 2, 2, 2, 2, 6, 14, 14.

Let’s choose a date more like peak tourist season, Saturday 25th June, for comparison.

  • Total number of passengers on each bus going INBOUND from P&R were : 1, 3, 11, 4, 6, 19, 9, 15, 14, 5, 3, 6, 2, 5, 7, 9, 7, 22, 13, 17, 14, 7, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 4, 4, 8, 2, 4, 14, 2, 4, 2, 2, 6, 6, 6, 4, 1, 6, 8, 4, 3, 7, 12, 6, 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 4, 8, 14, 6, 4, 4, 2, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1.
  • Total number of passengers on each bus going OUTBOUND from Whitby Bus Stn were : 2, 13, 11, 1, 10, 2, 16, 16, 4, 8, 2, 3, 1, 1, 3, 3, 5, 2, 15, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 4, 2, 8, 2, 2, 10, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 3, 6, 2, 3, 2, 3, 4, 2, 1, 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 11, 6, 5, 14, 22, 37, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1.
For transparency purposes, the 2022 Whitby P&R data bus passenger data can be found here.

That is, on the majority of buses, there were very few passengers, and bearing in mind that these buses are generally double-decker, we cannot see the case for provision of these buses to this extent (using our MP’s
logic). With the P&R there are clear peak hours (inbound in the morning, outbound late in the day) that could warrant the numbers of buses currently run, but the majority of the time this service cannot continue as it is.

We fail to see how such a service of “ghost” buses is justified whilst decimating the lifeline for the people who live here. Residents cannot board a P&R bus along its route so as to get where they want to go, hence the exclusive nature of the P&R bus has to be questioned. Whilst local buses will include passengers using bus passes, and the tourist bus not, provision of a streamlined park-and-ride bus service that provides funds to subsidise the local bus is the logical course of action … except it isn’t currently happening.

Bearing in mind also that Whitby P&R provides less than 20% of the overall car parking space of the town, and consequently makes little impact on the numbers of vehicles in the town, why are so many buses being provided for such a small percentage of the tourist base visiting this town? Regarding the Park-and-Ride, firstly the amount of car parking out of town needs to be drastically increased, and secondly the bus service needs to be more tailored to the numbers needing to use it.

The other question is, why is the tourist getting so much of a better deal here than the resident?

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6 thoughts on “Bus Prioritisation in Whitby

  1. Bit of a cheeky questionnaire for me we have no public transport what’s so ever where I live on green lane so you know what I think DISGRACEFUL πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  2. I know how steep Green Lane and Boulby Bank are and really should have a bus service but not even one in summer to Abbey. My 95 Sleights service is now only once an hour and isn’t reliable. Breakdowns and shortage of staff! Please don’t let us lose it completely!

  3. I think its about time the so called MP and the council departments got there heads in gear and start to look at the real world.The bus service where I live on White Leys Road has been non existent since we lost the very reliable local My Bus this came round every street no one could have asked for a better service.Unfortunately the residents of Whitby have become secondary to the tourists and cannot now get from A to B .We all cant afford taxis on a regular basis.It would do the powers that be to see how the other half live trying to get out and about as part of their everyday life .

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