Tickets are a mess

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The public transport mess just gets worse, it seems.

It’s bad enough that bus ticket prices are pushed up through two main bus companies running parallel services that halve each other’s revenues, but it turns out that there is really a third major player. Stagecoach Supertram, officials tell me, is entirely separate from Stagecoach Bus, and this produces some real craziness.

Supertram refuses to take part in the new Optio scheme, meaning that even though you can use a Stagecoach bus-only day ticket on a First 52 service, you canNOT use a bus-plus-tram day ticket!

It is crazy that you get less access to services the more you spend on your ticket, but that’s how crazy public transport in Sheffield has become.

And get this: if you have mistakenly bought a bus-only Stagecoach day ticket and get on a tram, you can’t make the simple 50p upgrade to a bus-plus-tram day ticket. That’s right: instead you have to pay the full single fare for your tram journey! The conductor disingenuously suggested I should fork out even more by buying £4.90 day tickets that entitle you to travel across all bus companies.

What is the point of having SYPTE if it can’t sort out stupidity like this?

As for the new Optio scheme: is it a Shakespearean character or some dodgy Euro margarine? I take it that the same committee that throws up absurd cross-ticketing problems also decides on brand names. So is Optio any good?

Well, the idea is that instead of the daft situation that First and Stagecoach ran a chariot race on the 52 routes at night by setting off from Hillsbrough at the same times, they now supposedly dovetail. Oh yes? You guessed it. At least you used to have a fair chance that one of the two companies’ bus would turn up. So where, last night, was the 8pm service? And the 8.10? The 8.20 was late.

Operators trumpeted Optio as a more reliable service in the day: it’s about as reliable/unreliable as before.

Another SYPTE triumph.

Just like when they handed out contracts to bus companies other than First or Stagecoach so that to get to places like Bradfield you can’t now use a day ticket from one company.

Instead you now have to buy an expensive all-singing/all-dancing ticket that covers all bus companies.

We have high fares, poorly-paid bus drivers, ever-more complicated and barely comprehensible ticketing, unreliable and early-finishing services.

Some things really were better run by the council – even Sheffield City Council.

Steve Moxon, Crookesmoor Road, Broomhill