TRANSPORT chiefs are to divert bus routes away from Sheffield city centre in a bid to ease congestion.
Several routes will change to avoid travelling along one of the busiest parts of the city’s transport network.
From Thursday, July 23, drivers on a number of services will be instructed to stop using High Street and Church Street at the end of Fargate - which is often at a standstill during rush hour as dozens of buses try to squeeze along a narrow two-lane gap.
The plan received a mixed reaction from shoppers.
Many travellers welcomed the move, exasperated at long delays and dangerous driving in the city centre. But others said the diversions would be an inconvenience, meaning a longer walk from new stops on Arundel Gate or the Sheffield Interchange.
The changes will be made at the same time as a new deal between rival companies over timetables and tickets on one of the busiest routes.For the first time, passengers will be able to use the same ticket on buses run by First or Stagecoach. Times are being amended to try to ensure services at regular intervals.
But residents in some parts of Sheffield have reacted furiously, saying some routes will no longer serve their area.
More than 50 people signed a petition opposing shortening the 120 route so it no longer serves the Westminster estate at Lodge Moor.
David Young, director of customer experience at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: “We know that the volume of buses on High Street and Church Street was causing some concern, so we have worked with operators to come up with changes which we hope will see a smoother flow of traffic.
“There are some minor changes to the stops used by the FreeBee service and some others relate to the launch of our new ‘Optio Orange’ route, which will allow tickets to be used on both First and Stagecoach services.
About 10 buses an hour will be rerouted from next weekend, July 23 and 24:
n The 10A, 20/20A and 25/25A will no longer use High Street/Church St/Pinstone St/ Leopold St, but will run via Arundel Gate.
n The 42/44 will come into the city centre via Granville Road and Eyre Street instead of via Duke St and Commercial St.
n The 49 will run direct to and from the interchange rather than through the city centre.
n Some other services will move to nearby stops.
n The FreeBee will no longer stop on Arundel Gate.