A petition to save Sheffield city centre’s free bus service has attracted more than 1,000 signatures.
The FreeBee bus, which offers free travel across key retail areas, is set to stop operating tomorrow, a victim of budget cuts.
Earlier this year, traders at the Moor Market voiced fears that losing the service could impact the building’s footfall.
Now Sheffield resident and market user Valerie Wilson, aged 64, of Jedburgh Street, Wincobank, has launched a petition in a bid to get the service reinstated.
She said: “The FreeBee Bus needs to be kept on. It’s very bad timing. There are a lot of people down here and they are all supporting me because they need the FreeBee bus to be kept on.
“I’m absolutely disgusted with the decision. There’s no justification for what they are doing at all.
“It’s just not fair. They told the market traders one thing but did another.”
Valerie added that the bus is needed because it helps elderly and disabled people get directly to the market, while other buses travel out of the city and stop further from the building.
She said: “The FreeBee is so important to people in Sheffield. It’s not just me. I have more than 1,000 signatures. People have got to make a stand – this is not going to be the end.”
David Young, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s deputy interim director general, said: “We regret government funding cuts mean we are having to take the Sheffield FreeBee service off.
“However, FreeBee users will still be able to get around the city centre, and to and from the new market by using one of the many services operating the same or similar routes.
“The Rotherham FreeBee service will continue to run, funded by the owners of the Parkgate shopping centre.”
seenitall, via thestar.co.uk
“The Government (us) subsidise the bus operators to the tune of 45 per cent of all their revenue. That says a great deal, especially when viewed against the profits the operators make. The free bus could have charged a nominal 50p, as does Leeds, and as our local transport operators are going to do for short journeys around town.
“Like so much else in Sheffield it’s a political decision!”
Doubtful, Via Thestar.co.uk
“Nothing is free. People may use it for free but the rest of us are paying. Scrapping SYPTE would save a fortune.”
Mozart1, Via Thestar.co.uk
If the FreeBee service is so popular why don’t they run it as a paying service?