Ticket scheme leads to rise in passengers

52 bus in Church Street
52 bus in Church Street
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BUS passenger levels have grown strongly on routes in Sheffield with shared ticketing and service arrangements between operators – against an overall decline across South Yorkshire which officials believe is down to the poor state of the economy.

Figures released by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) show the total journeys made in the 12 months to March 2011 was 109 million, down 0.75 per cent from 110 million in 2009/10.

County-wide statistics for the current financial year are not yet available. But SYPTE said that during the last three months to January 2012, there has been ‘significant’ passenger growth on Sheffield’s two routes covered by the Optio scheme, on which First and Stagecoach share operations and accept each other’s tickets.

On the ‘red’ corridor – the 52 route between Woodhouse, Darnall, the city centre, Crookes and Hillsborough – there were 5.16 per cent more journeys made than in the same period a year ago. The ‘orange’ routes, between Halfway and Fulwood, saw a 1.9 per cent growth.

Shared ticketing arrangements were backed by people living along the routes.

Rahat Esmail, aged 22, finance officer for Darnall Forum, said: “It certainly makes life easier, especially when coming back from town in a hurry – you don’t have to wait for a particular company’s bus.”

Howard Fry, secretary of Broomhill Forum, served by both the 120 and 52, said: “I think it’s an excellent initiative.

“We are campaigning for cleaner air in our suburb, so getting more people onto buses is part of that.”

See tomorrow’s Star for more on this story.