Frustrated passengers say they want more to be done about Sheffield’s bus cut fiasco after a transport chief claimed punctuality was improving and complaints were falling.
Sweeping changes to bus services across the city were brought in on November 1 – causing long queues, delays, confusion and sparking a 11,000-strong petition calling for them to be reversed.
Transport chiefs who are part of Sheffield Bus Partnership met on Wednesday to review the changes due to the level of problems raised.
Coun Terry Fox, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for transport, said afterwards that ‘at least’ 25 double deckers had been introduced to replace single decker buses in a bid to reduce overcrowding and drivers had been given extra training when required to ensure they knew new routes.
He said: “The punctuality of the services has started to improve now and the number of complaints made by passengers has subsided to levels normally expected at this time of the year.
“However, I have requested members of the partnership should continue to closely monitor their services and feedback from their customers, and make further adjustments when necessary to ensure the punctuality and reliability of their services continues to improve.
“We are determined to ensure as many people as possible continue to enjoy using public transport in Sheffield and regret the problems and inconvenience caused by the changes.”
Transport chiefs will meet again to assess whether actions taken are improving the situation.
But some passengers said not enough was being done.
Greenhill teacher Joanne Lumley, who started the online petition and said she was now using her car to get home on time to pick up her children, said more and more people were signing the petition.
She added: “I do think that this statement is just a cop out to be honest.
“The main thing that seems to be coming up is that some areas are no longer served by buses, so people can’t get to where they need to get to. Other people start work at 7am, but the buses don’t start until 7.30am.
“Some of the buses are so full you can’t get on them.
“We would say that we want more to be done – it is a little bit worrying that the partnership is not listening to the people who are raising these problems. Have any of them actually experienced these issues?”
Mavis Lambert, who is struggling to visit her husband Roy in Longley Park View nursing home because the bus service 87 had changed, said that some services needed to be brought back in.
The 78-year-old, of Swinton, added: “People are complaining at every bus stop I go to.
“Everyone is saying they are ridiculous.”
Other passengers said the services were still ‘shocking’.
Andrew Aldred said; “Why is the 24 bus still a single decker? In a morning it is packed, with standing room only, and in some cases it has left people at bus stops because it is too full.”
Donna Taylor added: “I don’t see any change because I still have to get four buses and not two. I know more people housebound or forced to shop at one place because the bus now only goes to one shopping area, unless you get two or more buses to go where you use to go.
“The buses are still late or more than one comes behind another bus. They are not listening, it’s not just about full buses so let’s put on double deckers, the buses go nowhere unless you get more than one bus.”
Keith Shaw, of Dore Village Society, said there had been cases of buses going down village roads without stops because the drivers were lost, and one bus had gone up another road that was too narrow for it.
But he added: “I’d say it is inevitable that there will be the occasional mix-up and they need to be addressed on a case by case basis.”
He said the solution was to raise problems with authorities rather than having a ‘rant’ about them.
The petition has reached more than 5,000 signatures so there will be a debate on the issue at a full meeting of Sheffield Council on December 2.