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East Yorkshire Buses Disappointed Over Hull City Council’s Reduction in Bus Lane Hours

East Yorkshire Buses, a leading public transport operator in the region, has voiced deep disappointment in response to Hull City Council’s decision to downgrade bus priorities within the city.

Ben Gilligan, Managing Director of East Yorkshire Buses, described the move as a significant step backwards, which potentially leaves a perception that the council has a lack of commitment to supporting the bus network during a crucial stage of recovery.

The decision comes at a time when the company is actively investing in increased frequencies to encourage more people to travel by bus with key city routes due to see additional buses from Sunday 28 January. Over the last 12 months, East Yorkshire has reported a 15% increase in passenger numbers, attributed to the popularity of the £2 fare cap and successful recruitment efforts which have resulted in improved service reliability. The company has communicated extensively with local political leaders, emphasising that the proposed reduction in bus lane hours would not benefit car drivers’ journey times, but would instead significantly impact the reliability of bus services, especially during afternoon peaks.

This decision is surprising, especially considering it comes from a Liberal Democrat-led council, given the party’s commitment to sustainable transport. At the Liberal Democrat conference last year, the party emphasized the importance of buses and an accessible and affordable mode of public transport, pledging support to local authorities in increasing public transport usage.

Furthermore, Hull City Council’s 2030 Carbon Neutral Strategy identifies mobility as one of its eight key themes, focusing on enabling a shift to sustainable travel. As part of this strategy, the City’s mobility system has to actively support and enable sustainable travel as a priority. The reduction in bus lane provisions contradicts the City’s own strategies by hindering consistent and attractive journey times and impeding the efficiency of the bus network.

East Yorkshire Buses has been working with transport officers to develop Hull’s Bus Partnership (Hull Bus Alliance), demonstrating all partners’ commitment to public transport in the City. As part of this, a joint bid was submitted in December 2023 to revolutionise Hull’s transport network and bring nearly 40 electric buses to the city in 2025, which will play a major part in improving air quality and reducing the environmental impact of bus operations.

Ben Gilligan summarised: “Public transport is a very efficient use of road space, and a double-decker bus can take up to 75 single occupancy cars off the road, making a substantial difference to congestion levels within the city. We are very disappointed to learn of Hull City Council’s movement to reduce bus lane operations.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the City Council to deliver the best outcomes for our customers who will be most affected by this change.”

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