YORK suffered from what one reader described as ‘gridlock’ today as the first Saturday of the Christmas market coincided with a visit to York by Hartlepool FC fans.

Reader Derek Ralphs said traffic jams in the city centre caused long queues of cars – and also led to buses getting delayed.

“York City Centre gridlocked again as crowds descended on the Christmas Market,” he said.

“Piccadilly was particularly congested as cars queued to get into the multi storey car park, preventing buses getting access to their bus stops. Many buses were severely delayed as a result.”

Mr Ralphs told The Press he'd come into York for the day from Pocklington - only to be shocked by the crowds and the state of the traffic.

He said traffic queueing up Piccadilly was being held up by cars trying to get into the car park.

And Hartlepool FC fans arriving at York Railway Station at lunchtime and trying to get on buses to the community stadium only added to the chaos in the city centre, he said.

Gazette & Herald: Footballs fans queueing to get on a bus at York Railway Station todayFootballs fans queueing to get on a bus at York Railway Station today (Image: Derek Ralphs)

“Traffic was gridlocked as police (at the railway station) attempted to disperse the crowds,” he said.

Mr Ralphs said his own bus back to Pocklington was delayed by an hour because of the jams.

"They (the buses) weren't going anywhere," he said.



Gazette & Herald: Traffic queueing on Piccadilly today. Traffic queueing on Piccadilly today. (Image: Derek Ralphs)

He wasn’t the only one to complain about the heavy traffic.

Simon Watkins, who’d come to York for the day from Halifax to visit the Christmas market, described the traffic as a ‘nightmare’.

There were long queues on the A64 – and then, when he tried to use the Park&Ride, long queues just to get on a bus, he said.

“We like York generally,” he told The Press. “But there are just too many people.

“Fair enough, you expect that at Christmas. But the infrastructure in York isn’t suitable for it!”

Gazette & Herald: Traffic waiting at red lights at the top of Piccadilly todayTraffic waiting at red lights at the top of Piccadilly today (Image: Derek Ralphs)

Other visitors to the Christmas market said they enjoyed the market itself – but admitted getting here wasn’t easy.

Gemma Evans, who visited the city with her daughter Emma and friend Sharon James for the market, said they had gone to the York Designer Outlet at Naburn first.

They’d planned to get the Park&Ride into town from there. “But it was so busy that we took an Uber instead!” she said.

At lunchtime today, traffic was crawling on many of the roads leading into the city centre – including from Acomb.

A long queue of city-bound also stretched all the way down Bishopthorpe Road as far as the racecourse.

Cllr Pete Kilbane, the executive member for economy and transport on City of York Council, said he was happy that so many people wanted to ‘come and spend their hard earned cash with the businesses of York’.

But he added: “On the other hand, I am acutely aware of the problems this causes for people using our transport network.

“That is why we are launching our big transport plan consultation. We need a long-term solution to congestion, and we need that plan ready sooner rather than later.

“I urge all residents, businesses and visitors to contribute to the consultation. We cannot go on like this year after year and this new Labour administration is determined to tackle the transport issues that York faces.”

The consultation on York's new Local Transport Plan is expected to begin next week.