In the Vision for Whitby 2023 consultation, residents declared the bus services inadequate for residents purposes, and that we require a local frequent shuttle bus that covers all areas of town, as well as a bus that connects to local villages.
The health and well-being of Whitby and District residents is dependent on being able to get about their town/villages safely, and with minimal delay. The 2007 Scarborough Borough Council Transport Assessments document states as one of its sustainability objectives “To provide a transport network which encourages the use of public transport, cycling and walking and minimises traffic congestion“. As can be seen from our Active Travel analysis, the objective relating to cycling is not being met now, neither was it in 2007. In this section we analyse the objective from the point of view of public transport and traffic, exploring some issues impacting on the town. If you prefer to see a summary in Powerpoint presentation format, you can access one here.
We currently have a very limited local bus service in many areas of Whitby and District. The 95, X4 and X93 services are commercially provided services with no contract with NYC as such. The 96 service is subsidised by NYC with NYC defining the route. The Park-and-Ride bus is contracted with NYC for a particular route and particular stops (and so cannot stop at intermediate places for residents).
With an aging population in the town it is essential that there is a bus service close to all residential areas to avoid isolating parts of the community. Local bus routes should reach close to all residential areas, and should also include essential services like Whitby Hospital and local GPs. Consider having a more eco-friendly approach of a regular electric / hydrogen bus on a circular route. Consider also having separate pricing for residents and for visitors. There is a lack of local bus service for the following areas
- Castle Park / White Leys area – an option would be to extend the 95 service to take this in. The Transport Assessments SBC document requires housing to be within 5 mins walk of a bus service, which this area is certainly not. The Park-and-Ride bus passes on the way to town centre but does not on the return journey, so would be of little use. As of 2 April 2023 there will be a 96 service passing along Stakesby Road and Castle Road, but this will be only once every 2 hours!
- Broomfields Farm development – has no bus service planned currently and is beyond the 5 mins walking distance for the CinderTrack side of the development.
- Revamped hospital – this is up a steep hill from the bus station, however the upgrade to the hospital now means that the entrance is even further up the same hill, with no public transport for elderly / less mobile people. This needs remedying.
- Stainsacre – this village has no bus service at all, and would benefit from the X93/X94 being routed through the village, being a relatively short diversion from the main road, even if it was on every other bus only. The current option is to have to walk alongside Stainsacre Lane (no footpath) and wait on the main road with no bus shelter.
- West Cliff – there is no bus service here (except the Park-and-Ride bus in one direction) and so any Whitby resident who is not able-bodied has no way of getting here on public transport.
- Goathland is dependent on the 840 Coastliner service, which has previously been listed as “under threat”.
- Sneaton has no bus service, and has no footpaths / cycle paths to be able to get safely to Ruswarp to connect with the outside world. See this petition for bringing back a bus service to Sneaton (July 2023).
- Whitby Hospital : no bus service at all.
- Bridlington Hospital : often used for eye treatment. To get there a resident would have to get X93/94 to Scarborough Railway Station, then either East Yorks bus 12/13 or train to Bridlington, followed by East Yorks bus 3 to Bridlington Hospital. Allowing for getting to Whitby bus station this could mean up to 4h 45min on public transport to arrive. Utterly unsatisfactory.
- Scarborough Hospital : for A&E and some treatments. To get there a resident would either have to get X93/94 and get off on Scalby Rd, or if not able to walk far go to Scarborough Railway Station, followed by an East Yorks bus to Scarborough Hospital (bus 10). The order of 2 hours travelling!
- James Cook Hospital : consultations, treatment. The Esk Valley train calls at James Cook except it is a long walk from the railway station (not for those less mobile).
Longer distance bus/coach services haven’t improved over the years. Whitby to York takes 2:25 minimum, and now the 840 Coastliner is “under threat”; removal of that service would mean there is no direct public transport from Leeds/York to Whitby (yet Scarborough has a direct train and direct bus). This would leave NYC’s carbon strategy in tatters and they would never reduce car usage by 48% by 2030 (instead it would be increased!).
Provision of faster, more direct coach services would have the potential to reduce the number of car journeys and the subsequent traffic load on the town. If the county strategy is not to provide Whitby and District with direct longer distance travel options, then the bus service to Scarborough should be upgraded in standard, as it is currently very uncomfortable, should be coordinated with trains (which it often is not), and have a more direct faster service, so then people can take advantage of the train services far easier. Anything less than that and the public transport strategy of NYC would be deemed inadequate for the district.
Funding plays a massive part in what is achievable, see this report on rural bus funding.
For some time the Arriva bus services for the Whitby and District area have been unreliable, and breakdowns are frequent. In June 2023 the company was reported to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). This resulted in 2 visits by DVSA to Whitby bus station, and 8 buses being taken out of service, with 3 having to be towed away (as undriveable). This is the standard of bus public transport being provided for residents. We encourage all residents to report any breakdown to the DVSA (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to our MP.
Rail services to / from Whitby have been eroded since the 1950s, with the sole external service going via Teesside. Take the sample journey of Whitby to York; this takes a minimum of 3 hours to cover 47 miles whereas Scarborough rail services reach York in 50 minutes. The current service is still having cut backs, see this notification from April 2022 where Northern Rail cut a service. As part of the agreement for the Sirius Minerals (now AngloAmerican) potash mine, an amount of S106 money was paid to fund an extra 3 trains per day, making it 8 trains per day on this line. Sadly the reality is somewhat different, and Northern Rail have cut this back contrary to the agreement due to operational / capacity factors. It is hoped (by AngloAmerican and NYC) that this would return to 8 services per day (from the current 5) in the (near) future. The latest we have on that is the hope to get back to 7 per day by the end of 2024!
Having a connection to Pickering/Malton would allow connecting to York and onwards, providing substantially reduced journey times. Provision of faster, more direct and more frequent rail services would have the potential to reduce the number of car journeys and the subsequent traffic load on the town. As mentioned above, if the strategy is not to provide Whitby with faster more direct services then a fast direct bus service to Scarborough needs to be provided so that train connections from there can be utilised.
We are advised by a member of the North Yorkshire Disability Forum that SBC said in February 2022 that NYC would increase the number of wheelchair taxis across North Yorkshire where only 7.7 % of all taxis are accessible. This should be compared with almost 100 national authorities that have all of their taxis as wheelchair accessible eg Bradford & Kirklees with many others like Leeds 52% insisting that all replacement vehicles are accessible. Yet NYCC have since adopted a new 5-year Policy (in February) without requiring an increase!
The North Yorkshire Disability Forum have obtained a commitment from the NYC Executive for an Inclusive Service Plan or survey to assess the unmet needs of wheelchair users, then make recommendations on how the Executive to require more wheelchair taxis to be provided. They have explained to us how difficult it is to get about in the Whitby area with a lack of unaccessible taxis. There is apparently one wheelchair taxi operated by Abbey Taxis but obtaining it by phone or pre-booking it for a hospital or dental appointment is impossible.
Whitby DAG to gather feedback from wheelchair users on their experiences of being unable to get a taxi ?
A rural county like North Yorkshire can have a dependency on use of a car for transport. The road network needs to work for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. The road network around Whitby has several locations that are inefficient, and also are not as safe as they could be.
This image displays the road collision data of reported collisions between 2017 and 2021 on Whitby roads. There are some clear hotspots, suggesting issues with road speed and / or road design. An interactive version of this map is available HERE. On this map red signifies FATAL, amber signifies SERIOUS, and green signifies SLIGHT. For reference a fatality costs the UK economy the order of £1.7m, whereas a serious casualty costs around £200k.
The following areas would benefit from an assessment and redesign to work better for the safety of Whitby and District residents.
- Mayfield Road (Whitby) – the problems with this road are many, and traffic backs up along its length for many months of the year.
- It has a 30mph limit that is frequently ignored, often by drivers of goods vehicles; as evidenced by the vehicle-activated sign (VAS) that will be triggered every 5 minutes, but sadly this does not store data, being purely a “please slow down, but we can’t be bothered to enforce here”.
- The 4-lane-ends roundabout is problematic for pedestrians crossing, with fast moving traffic coming in to Whitby, and having to find a gap in the traffic, despite the highway code giving priority to pedestrians. Traffic calming measures, and priority for pedestrians would be appropriate. It should also integrate with the proposed cycle path running alongside Stakesby Road, and the other proposed path along Stakesby Vale beck path.
- It has no pedestrian crossing between 4-lane ends and the Prospect Hill junction … half a mile (and the crossing at Prospect Hill junction is so slow to change that it disadvantages pedestrians).
- The Prospect Hill junction where we have the sole pedestrian crossing on the whole road. Current Highway Code prioritisation of users has pedestrians at the top, and this is the opposite of what the current junction provides for. It takes more than 3 minutes for the (pedestrian) lights to change to let people get across!!! The bottleneck in vehicle traffic on Mayfield Road is the traffic light set up at the junction with Prospect
Hill and the new bridge (queuing down Mayfield Road in the morning, and queuing up Down Dinner Hill in the afternoons). This junction needs redesigning firstly to prioritise pedestrians, and secondly to be efficient for vehicles. So think of, you know, a roundabout, with pedestrians crossings.
- The junctions with St Andrews Road, Pembroke Way and Mayfield Place are notoriously difficult to get out of at busy times; they need redesigning. For the Pembroke Way case when vehicles park on Mayfield Road before the Mayfield Place turn off it makes visibility of oncoming traffic from 4-land ends impossible. For the Mayfield Place case you cannot see traffic along Mayfield road due to a low exit and parked cars.
- The associated proposal on this site for a cycle network needs access on to the old farm track (so as to connect to the currently disused bridge over the CinderTrack) and this would need integrating into any redesign.
- Outside Caedmon College buses park and offload/load pupils, blocking the traffic; this should be redesigned (to have the bus stop indented and restricted to bus usage only, alternatively provide a better school entry point that buses can enter in to and turn) in conjunction with access to the proposed cycle connection.
- Spital Bridge (Whitby) – The junction of the A171 (Whitby New Bridge) and Spital Bridge / Larpool Lane needs redesigning. It was supposed to have a redesign as part of the Town Deal “Bridge Pedestrianisation” after being flagged by many people; a roundabout would make sense.
- It is notoriously difficult to get out of side roads.
- It provides inefficient crossing facilities to ease the passage of pedestrians towards town centre.
- There is an associated proposal on this site for a cycle network, with one route running alongside the A171, up Helredale Road providing connectivity with the industrial area.
- Helredale Road (Whitby) – Traffic which is often very heavy, including lorries to/from the potash mine amongst other places, travelling past the entrances to 2 schools, often at speed.
- Very hard to get out of side roads … Abbotts Road, St Peters Road, Eskdale Road, etc.
- Dangerous traffic for the schools. East Whitby Primary has just provided the most significant vote of no confidence in the road system by issuing a letter to all parents saying that they will not let children leave the school unaccompanied to walk alongside that road!! If this is not an adequate message to enact change we really do not know what is.
- Will need to integrate with the output of the Local Cycling Walking Infra Plan when available.
- Green Lane (Whitby) – likely needs double yellow lines for significant stretches, particularly near the top. Plus a crossing.
- Love Lane (Whitby) – Another problem area.
- The junction of Love Lane / White Bridge Road and Sandsend Road often has accidents or near misses with traffic coming from Sandsend on a 60mph road not slowing adequately. Current Highway Code prioritisation of users has pedestrians at the top, and this is the opposite of what the current design provides for. This needs redesigning, probably with traffic lights and associated pedestrian crossings.
- Need to integrate the associated proposal on this site for a cycle network, extending the Cinder Track to this junction and down Sandsend Road.
- It should be considered to reduce the speed limit on Sandsend Road, it has a couple of corners where it is common to encounter vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Dropping the limit to say 40mph would be beneficial for safety.
- Larpool Lane/Glen Esk Road – Narrow road, with “danger bank” often with vehicles travelling way too fast for the conditions. Should be 20mph, with suitable measures to minimise the risk to pedestrians and cyclists. Traffic using this road through must be reduced since passing space on Larpool Lane closer to New Bridge is very limited also.
- Ruswarp – Traffic coming down Ruswarp bank is often not prepared for the 20mph zone, and measures should be implemented to reinforce this zone.
- Ravine – It is very common to see vehicles down on the sea wall, daytime, or nightime. Vehicular access to the sea wall itself should be restricted, by use of lockable bollards. Camping on the ravine is also quite common, and this area should also have some form of restriction.
- Swing Bridge (Whitby) – The east west connecting bridge often breaks down, leaving people stranded on one side or the other, sometimes for hours.
- Hawsker Lane – Should be reduced to 40mph limit, with 30mph in places. In Hawsker itself (definitely outside the school) 20mph would be appropriate.
In the Vision for Whitby 2023 consultation, residents raised significant concerns about the A171 route through Whitby (many dangerous junctions, difficulty in getting out of side roads, speed issues particularly around schools and New Bridge), Love Lane junctions, The Carrs, and Sandsend Road.
We have a proposal to make residential and central zones in Whitby (and potentially all villages) as 20mph. This would make a massive difference in terms of the safety of pedestrians and cyclists (shown on the above road collisions map), and the quality of life for residents, being able to get about by walking, and would make cycling a possibility for many residents and visitors alike.
Whilst those less able-bodied will often need to come into town by private vehicle (in the absence of a decent local bus service), the town should have a policy of aiming to reduce car parking, and give road space across to the pedestrian / cyclist, and to public transport. As part of this strategy of reducing car parking, the council policy of re-purposing of green space to be overflow car parking has to stop. The sheer numbers of tourists in Whitby in busy periods has to be controlled, and restricting use of overspill car parking is one method that could be effective, perhaps with “all car parks full” signage visible when coming in to Whitby.
There have been numerous instances of coaches taking a wrong turn and getting stuck on tight streets (e.g Fishburn Park area), or due to on-street parking. Signage has to be improved, and restrictions put in place to severely restrict the places that coaches can navigate.
During summer months there are very often lines of campervans parked on the Ravine and Sandsend Road overnight. This is contrary to the signage, and was not enforced by SBC. We need a clear policy, and associated enforcement. Providing more camping sites should be investigated if they are currently near capacity. Investigate use of new laws, like those introduced in New Zealand, about restricting “freedom camping”.
The current car park facilities are defined in this table.
|Endeavour Wharf||Long||250||0||0||90-130 to be lost for Maritime Training Hub|
|Marina Harbour Users||Long||79||0||0|
|St Hilda’s Terrace||Long||20||0||0|
|West Cliff||Long||424||4||11||Includes around 200 spaces on overflow green space|
|Whitby Railway Station||Long||48||0||0|
|Sub-Total (Town Centre)||1942||17||29|
|Sub-Total (Out Of Town)||450||0||0|
As seen, even when we consider just dedicated car parks (and ignore on-street parking) the out of town park-and-ride facility is very small relative to the amount of parking required, and is doing little to remove vehicles from the town centre area. Traffic will not be reduced in Whitby until the out of town facilities are much increased, or longer distance public transport facilities are overhauled.
In the Vision for Whitby 2023 consultation, residents registered many problems with the current car parking situation and the need for a car parking review promised back in 2018. This review has to provide ample parking for residents first and foremost, and to aim to move much more visitor parking out of the town centre.
The sole Park-and-Ride facility on Guisborough Road is largely ineffective at reducing the amount of traffic in town centre, or of reducing the demand for town centre parking (it only provides 20% of the total town car parking). Expanding the current site could be an option (subject to national park approval), otherwise a further facility is required, likely on the east side of the town, and the best location for this would probably be towards the Abbey Headland, to take traffic coming from the Scarborough direction. Having data about level of utilisation of the current facility would be a start, but NYC do not keep any meaningful data (from an FOI request)!
The current (SBC) Local Plan (9.12) suggests “provision of cycle facilities at park-and-ride sites” to provide a “modal shift” in transport. NYC (under the NYCC name) obtained funding for just such a scheme in Active Travel Fund (Tranche 2) and then subsequently realised it would only provide a cycle route down Guisborough Road, and then leave its users at the mercy of the traffic due to the absence of any cycle network in Whitby. The Local Plan suggestion would only be of any value should there first be an active travel network that would reach the centre of Whitby, which there is currently not. That “suggestion” should subsequently be deprioritised until a cycle network is in place.
In the Vision for Whitby 2023 consultation, residents expressed a clear desire for expanded Park-and-Ride services, on both sides of Whitby and for the general moving of tourist traffic out of town.
We support any campaign to prohibit pavement parking, such as this one from Living Streets. We want Whitby and District to be pedestrian friendly. Vehicles should always be parked in appropriate places, and sufficient parking should be provided with such as holiday lets for pavement parking to not happen. The current law (2023) states
Is parking a motor vehicle on a pavement legal?
No, it is illegal except
- where signs permit it – local councils can permit parking on the pavement on specified roads via signs on posts and white lines on the pavement – see panel
- in an emergency
- if the vehicle (e.g. a motorbike) is pushed on to the pavement rather than driven on, provided that it does not obstruct pedestrians.
What are the laws that prohibit parking on pavements?
- It is an offence to drive on to a pavement (the Highway Act 1835 and Road Traffic Act 1988 – see the Highway Code section 244).
- It is an offence to obstruct a pavement – via Regulation 103 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. The definition of obstruction is not spelt out, but many vulnerable people need a pavement width of 2 metres, e.g. someone needing a guide dog, or in a wheelchair, or groups of parents with buggies.