Chaos and confusion as Sheffield bus cuts hit home

Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins
Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins
0
Have your say

Long queues, timetable confusion and endless waits for buses after drastic cuts have sparked a wave of complaints.

Passengers say they have struggled to get around the city for work and school as a result of the sweeping changes, which came into force across the city a week ago.

Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

POLL: Are the new changes to bus services in Sheffield an improvement?

Sheffield Bus Partnership claimed the changes - which were revised after a public outcry - would improve the network and be more efficient.

But Ann Suckley, of Ecclesfield, said it was now a battle to get to work at Meadowhall shopping centre, one of Sheffield’s biggest employers.

She said: “I now have to walk further which is fine but the 35 buses have gone to one an hour. The bus misses half the time so if you get the next hourly one you are going to be late for work.

“You have to leave two and a half hours before work to make sure you can get there when it is a shopping centre that employs thousands of people.”

A petition against changes to the 83 and 83a services was presented at Sheffield Council’s full meeting last week.

Mary Fraser said it meant that elderly and disabled people in Firs Hill had to walk further and change buses to access shops in Burngreave.

She told councillors: “The elderly in Firs Hill don’t have any cars or anything like that to take them to these areas - I had to wait 25 minutes for a bus to take me home which I think is a disgrace.”

Coun Terry Fox said there had been several inquiries about bus changes and they would be passed on.

Raymond Pixley, aged 89 and from Dore, said he had a printed timetable for the new 81 service which has replaced the 70 but it did not match the one online.

He said: “Even when I called SYPTE they couldn’t tell me which timetable was the right one.

“We’ve got hospital appointments to get to and we can’t even find out what bus to get on.”

Others have complained about long queues and cramped buses on the 52 routes from the city centre to Crookes, and the services up and down Ecclesall Road.

Some called it a ‘shambles’ and one dad said his daughter now had to walk in the dark to catch the 87 bus to school or get there 45 minutes early by changing buses - which cost more in fares.

Hairdresser James Pashley said there had been an incident of ‘bus rage’ at a stop outside The Crucible theatre when three buses passed as they were not in service on Thursday night.

He said: “When the 20 arrived a man asked if it went to Pitsmoor and the driver didn’t know - the passenger kicked off saying he had been there for 45 minutes. “They had an argument and the driver said he would call the police but then the passenger got out.”

Transport chiefs say they are monitoring bus complaints to see which are more ‘significant’ - and that requests for changes will be reviewed.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said it has seen an increased number of complaints since the cuts were introduced last Sunday, November 1.

A spokesman added: “This is normal when changes of this scale are made.

“The executive and the bus operators are closely monitoring these and are determining which are temporary issues which will get resolved as people become more familiar with their journeys over the next two weeks, and which are more significant.

“SYPTE is confident that accurate timetable information is available online, at bus stops and through printed timetables produced by the bus operators.

“Passengers should be aware that printed timetables feature condensed travel information, and in some cases may include approximate times.

“We also encourage all of our passengers to plan their journey in advance, using our journey planning tools available at travelsouthyorkshire.com and on information kiosks in interchanges.

“Customer satisfaction is important to us and we are encouraging bus users to give feedback on the network changes if something isn’t right, so the Sheffield Bus Partnership can understand where services are not meeting community needs.

“Requests for changes will be reviewed by the partnership and put in place where possible.”

New discounted tickets will be available to use across services run by different operators, with prices frozen until April 2017.

These include a CityBus day ticket for £4 and a monthly ticket at £49.

Customers can contact Sheffield Bus Partnership online at travelsouthyorkshire.com; by calling Traveline 01709 51 51 51 or by speaking to an advisor at an interchange customer service desk.