What a palaver

city centre buses
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Well, the new bus changes began on Monday, and what a palaver. The 47/48 Shiregreen circular route had now become the 75/76 route.

I knew I had to go out and decided to check on the new bus times, and my first port of call was on the internet site of the Transport Exec. No success there, I kept getting a message that the site was unavailable. Maybe there were so many people confused by the changes, and the lateness in putting the information out, who had tried to get information off this site that they had caused it to crash?

Living on the bus route I was able to look through my window to try and work out the bus timings. Around 10.30am three number 75 buses passed my house in the space of two minutes. You don’t need a timetable to work out that that cannot be right, (surely?)

I eventually went out at just before 12.30pm and found a small queue at my nearest bus stop, who told me that a bus due at 12.25 hadn’t turned up, and that the next one was due at 12.40. So, that was a good start. Unfortunately, at 12.40 a bus appeared bearing the 75 route number, but had a destination board stating “Not in Service”, and sailed straight past us. Another bus arrived about five minutes later and we eventually got moving. Some had been waiting for around 25 minutes.

This morning, (Tuesday), I was accompanying my wife to the hospital and we went out for a number 75 bus, which turned up late. While we were waiting three number 76 buses passed us within a few minutes of each other, going in the opposite direction around the estate. Presumably one was early, one on time, and one running late? It’s anyone’s guess. We eventually made it to the hospital with only a few minutes to spare.

They may have changed the route number on this service from 47/48 to 75/76, and tweaked the actual route, but it appears to be as erratic as it has been for a long, long time, as several of your correspondents have stated in this column before.

We are now waiting to see the first 75 or 76 leaving town with a destination board showing Firth Park. It was not unusual to see the old 47/48 buses with this destination, despite the fact that there was no mention in the old time tables of either of these buses terminating at Firth Park.

You jumped on a bus expecting it to take you home to Shiregreen, and found you had to get off at Firth Park and wait for the next bus, while the one you were on returned to town.

We suspect these buses were running late and terminated at Firth Park so that they could catch up with the timetable.

We had stood at the 47/48 bus stop on Flat Street on several occasions and heard drivers waiting to take over a bus that hadn’t arrived on time, saying they were going to terminate at Firth Park because they would be running late.

I have no doubt things will settle down after a few weeks, but in our experience of the first two days it’s not looking good. We don’t blame the drivers, it’s whoever puts these changes into operation, but it’s the drivers who take the flak from the public.

It’s a long time since our transport system was run as a service. If it was the buses would not come in convoys at irregular times.

SC

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