Traders’ fear over Sheffield bus axe

Free buss- Mick Cull President of market traders
Free buss- Mick Cull President of market traders
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Plans to axe a free bus service for shoppers could put market stalls out of business, a leading trader has warned.

News that South Yorkshire Transport Executive plans to axe FreeBee services in Sheffield has been met with fury among businesses in the Moor Market.

It comes just months after the city council introduced a new stop-off point near to the new building on the free route – which formed a key part of negotiations for the marker traders who were moving in.

Mick Cull, owner of Fruit Fayre and president of Sheffield Market Traders’ Association, plans to lead a fight against the proposals, which will be put to a meeting of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive this week.

He said: “What you’ve got to bear in mind is that a lot came here from that end of town where 100 per cent of our customer base was.

“People still use the shops down there - they go to Wilkinsons and B&M Bargains - and so many use that bus to get to and from the different areas. It brings them down here.

“When you’re elderly and you’ve got your shopping with you it’s a long way to walk otherwise.

“What will happen if this goes is that people will stop coming to us. We have to fight it.”

Mr Cull said there had been no consultation with businesses over the plans.

He added: “This was the first I’d heard of it. It’s typical. It was a major part of the council’s publicity campaign that the bus would drop people off.”

Shopper and FreeBee user Ena Evison, aged 74, of Handsworth, said: “I use it all the time and it’s usually full.

“You get mums with their prams, sometimes two, on here trying to do their shopping. It is a big blow.”