Bus gate hours to be made permanent

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RELAXATION of operating hours at the controversial Hillsborough Corner bus and tram gate is set to be made permanent after highways bosses found it boosted business and hardly affected public transport journey times.

In November 2009, Sheffield Council downgraded the seven day a week 7am to 7pm restriction to operate Mondays to Saturdays between 7am and 11am, and from 3pm to 7pm, because traders were concerned it was deterring business.

Labour councillors and public transport operators warned shorter operating hours would slow down public transport and make it less attractive – but a council report found delays attributable to the extra traffic passing through the junction were equivalent to just a few seconds.

A report due to go before Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee today said: “Findings suggest there is broad public support for the current arrangements.

“The small increases in journey times go unnoticed by public transport passengers and vacant retail space in Hillsborough is down, suggesting some upturn in trade.”

Coun Steve Ayris, Lib Dem Hillsborough councillor, said: “The report clearly recognises the public support the relaxation and there has been an upturn in business since it was made.”