Sheffield Council rubber-stamps city’s new bus strategy

Buses on Sheffield's High Street
Buses on Sheffield's High Street
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COUNCIL bosses have promised the public they will continue to scrutinise changes to services after giving the green light to Sheffield’s proposed bus partnership.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet cast a unanimous vote approving recommendations to endorse the new strategy, which will see operators cooperating over routes, timetables and fares, and sign up to be co-signatory of the Sheffield Bus Agreement.

The move will make the city the first in the UK to operate a joint approach, which aims to deliver cheaper fares, more reliable services and replace around 250 of Sheffield’s fleet of 400 buses over the next five years.

Yesterday’s approval means South Yorkshire Public Transport Executive can now press ahead with plans for October’s official launch.

The decision came despite concerns from a number of residents over proposed changes to services in their areas. Under the plans, around 15 routes will see alterations.

Jane Bellamy, of High Green, said: “In High Green they’re getting rid of the number 13 and bringing in the 66 as a replacement. It takes an extra 15 minutes to get to Sheffield and misses out areas. How is it a replacement?

“There were several flaws in the consultation.”

Other passengers called for the council to keep tabs on operators and on the impact of changes introduced as part of Sheffield Bus Partnership.

Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for finance, said: “It is very difficult when you do anything like this because any change to a service will improve things for one set of people but for another group it will make it worse.

“It’s about trying to strike that balance.”

Council leader Julie Dore said: “This has been in discussion for between three and four years. This isn’t the first time we have seen the report, it’s not a case of us looking at it and rubber-stamping it. A voluntary agreement is the best way forward.”