Congestion – let’s have a grown-up conversation

Councillor Andy D'Agorne sitting in the driver's seat of an electric bus

City of York Executive member for Transport, Councillor Andy D’Agorne

Greens recognise that local transport represents one of the most significant options to tackle the climate emergency and meet our targets to avert growing global devastation through a 70% cut in emissions by 2030. EV buses and cars can help, but we need to act now to cut car use and make the alternatives more attractive. Greens would not rule out any legal option to achieve this, but the solution has to be right for York.

Some options might be a city centre charging clean air zone like Bradford (free entry for electric vehicles) a small congestion charge zone and shuttle bus like Durham, a workplace parking like Nottingham (and now being considered in Oxford). But finding the right solution(s) needs a wide ranging conversation across the city.

The other parties say they want to encourage active travel and cut carbon, but when it’s time to plan effective action they can’t be trusted. Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives have all ruled out congestion charging, and all of them want to expand the outer ring road, which will encourage more people to drive.

Thanks to Green leadership, we now have government bus service improvement funding to protect services, enhance ticket options and bring in more bus priority measures. But to achieve the 25% increase in bus patronage that the council has committed to, we also need lower fares, better reliability and higher frequency. A well designed congestion charge at pollution hot-spots could fund subsidies for key bus routes and investments in active travel, but we must also beware of unintended consequences.

In summary Greens want ‘a grown up conversation’ about the costs, feasibility and consequences of all possible demand management measures to deliver York’s commitments to cutting emissions, improving public transport and encouraging active travel.

What do you think? – you can tell us here

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