Increase in Sheffield fares could cut growth

Buses on Sheffield's High Street
Buses on Sheffield's High Street
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FIGURES showing passenger satisfaction with South Yorkshire’s network have been welcomed today - but concerns raised about service cuts and fare increases.

People living on a route between Sheffield and Chesterfield are unhappy the service is being halved in frequency to one per hour - which they say could drive passengers back into their cars.

Meanwhile, opposition councillors in Sheffield say fare increases by First and Stagecoach could halt recent growth in passengers.

Jean Gleadall, chair of Wisewood Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “We have no complaints about our main service, the First number 14. I think the service has had such a lot of hammering over the years that they’ve made an effort to make it better.”

Stephen Rich, secretary of Greenhill and Bradway TARA, added: “I think services in our area have improved because of the competition between First and Stagecoach.

“Stagecoach in particular have been very good at speaking to passengers. They come along each year to our Lowedges Festival and have a stall where they talk to bus users and ask for their comments.

“We have invited First but they’ve not been interested and I think they could improve on that.”

Coun Ian Auckland, Liberal Democrat transport spokesman who represents Graves Park ward, said: “What concerns me is the rise in fares, which has the potential to halt passenger growth.”

Coal Aston resident Dr Jillian Newton complained about proposed cuts to the 44A service operating from Chesterfield to Sheffield via Coal Aston.

She said: “The cutting of the service to provide only one bus per hour will leave myself and other users severely disadvantaged.

“It will also probably mean that the busier bus times in the morning that the bus will be so full that at best there will be standing room only from Coal Aston or at worst the bus will be so full that it will not stop.

“The change is taking us all back into the dark ages and will also create more traffic on the roads as many have no other choice than to travel into work by car.”