THE STAR SAYS: Sheffield bus changes need to be crystal clear

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Nothing is more guaranteed to drive our readers mad than changes to the city’s public transport network.

Today residents and a councillor have raised concerns about the most recent revisions planned by the Sheffield Bus Partnership, which says they will ‘improve’ the network.

That is, unless you live in Norton Lees and will no longer be able to get home on the bus after 7pm or travel about on Sundays.

Or if your home is on the route of the number 70 and need it to get to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for an eye appointment, but it will no longer stop there.

Perhaps you commute from Stannington and get the tram in from Malin Bridge - now the SL2 link bus is to be scrapped.

The partnership says that some buses are being renumbered or replaced with other services and all details are set out in its consultation.

But there are problems with that too. One passenger said he travelled on six buses and couldn’t find a leaflet explaining the plans.

When he finally got one, he was rationed to just a single copy and not allowed to take some back for his elderly neighbours. Apparently 10,000 leaflets have been printed but only 60 per cent of First buses have them.

Sure, the details are online if you know where to look, although not every passenger has internet access. The online documents are as clear as mud about what services currently exist, and what they will be changed to.

Unless you have an intimate knowledge of the service there is little to glean.

Midway through looking at them yesterday, the passenger transport executive’s website reverted to a simpler version because of the ‘high volume of traffic’ using it, and the documents could not be seen at all.

Time is now running out to comment on the changes.

Sheffield – hilly and sprawling – is a city that relies on its buses more than most.

We would urge transport chiefs to make it crystal clear what services are being affected and how passengers - who pay ever increasing fares - are expected to make their usual journeys as a result.

Making a good supply of leaflets and maps available on all buses, refreshed constantly, would be helpful.

Meanwhile, you can join the 800 people who have had their say already and take part in the consultation at www.travelsouthyorkshire.com until next Friday, July 31 .

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