I take issue with EB Warris’s letter of July 25 regarding Sheffield buses taking cash fares from passengers. He wants Sheffield to be like London Transport. There are reasons why this would not work.
London has a superb transport infrastructure with many bus routes all running very regularly and reliably with alternative routes and even underground available as alternative options. It also appears to have a recognised fare structure.
Sheffield cannot run a reliable, regular bus service at present with all the different operators vying with different fares and refusing to accept competitors’ tickets.
People are dissatisfied with the First monopoly which sees the company appearing to try to maximise profits by consolidating bus routes into long cross-city tours which often only run once an hour – when they turn up! The reason for failure to meet timetables being the impossible-to achieve-targets set by the company who do not appear to understand that the longer and more contorted the route the more chance there is the vehicle will be delayed.
This is not the fault of the poor drivers trying their best under difficult situations and being abused by the travelling public for issues outside their control.
Mr Warris references driver safety. Given the profits enjoyed by Mainline, perhaps the real remedy is for them to invest in conductors once again. This would solve the fare-taking problem, give drivers a security back-up, assist in preventing passenger vandalism on buses, help protect the traveller and provide reassurance for vulnerable passengers.
It would also create jobs. Conductors would also be able to assist all those tourists the city regeneration schemes hope to attract.
In Leeds the 72 bus runs with a conductor very successfully and reliably and during peak periods every 10 minutes.
More often than not my once-an-hour bus doesn’t turn up on time, so I restrict travelling to and around the city as much as possible. I pay cash because season tickets are not for me as a result and I would refuse to tie up money in an Oyster-style card which would be of no benefit to me and rarely used.
When the bus companies in Sheffield have sorted out all the issues around running reliable, passenger-friendly, regular services which aren’t revised and rejigged every three months and can work together cash remains the order of the day for me.
Name and address supplied