Bus lane confusion in Sheffield is costing us thousands, say businesses

Tibor Killi outside his shop on Glossop Road
Tibor Killi outside his shop on Glossop Road
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Businesses say confusion over changes at a bus lane in Sheffield is costing them thousands of pounds a month in lost revenue.

The westbound bus and tram lane along Glossop Road in the city centre only operates at peak times, between 4pm and 6.30pm on weekdays.

How the Glossop Road bus gate at Regent Street looks when in operation, between 4pm and 6.30pm on weekdays (pic: SCCRAG)

How the Glossop Road bus gate at Regent Street looks when in operation, between 4pm and 6.30pm on weekdays (pic: SCCRAG)

But some shopkeepers claim drivers are so baffled by the road markings in place they are avoiding the street altogether.

One said takings had halved since changes were made at the turn of the year, and another said it was costing him up to £1,000 a week in lost trade.

Businesses and residents have urged Sheffield Council to improve the signage, but the council insists it is not misleading.

A businessman who has traded in Sheffield city centre for more than half a century says he is counting the cost of 'confusing' changes to a bus lane.

The bus gate when the restrictions are not in place

The bus gate when the restrictions are not in place

Tibor Killi, who opened the cleaning supplies shop TL Killi's on Glossop Road 53 years ago, claims drivers are avoiding the street due to misleading road markings.

"It's torture for us. I would say we're losing on average between £750 and £1,000 a week in lost turnover," he said.

Mr Killi is not the only business person on the road who claims to have been affected since changes were introduced at the turn of the year.

Cash Converters manager Andrew Ellis said turnover had halved since the start of the year due to the fall in passing trade and a pharmacy said delivery drivers were often stumped.

This sign further up Glossop Road does indicate when the restrictions apply

This sign further up Glossop Road does indicate when the restrictions apply

But other businesses on the road, including a hairdressers and a Chinese restaurant, said they had been unaffected.

The westbound bus and tram lane along Glossop Road itself has not changed.

But since the turn of the year it has been enforced using a camera a few blocks closer to town, at the junction with Regent Street rather than Gell Street.

A sign there flashes on when the restriction is in place but at other times the lane is indicated solely by road markings saying 'buses, taxis, bicycles only', and the hours of operation are not stated anywhere.

The change was made after a nearby road outside the University of Sheffield's Diamond building was pedestrianised, meaning there was no longer an 'escape route' for drivers to turn off the bus lane before the camera at the Gell Street junction.

The council says the existing road markings are not misleading and comply with statutory requirements.

Sheffield City Centre Residents Action Group (SCCRAG) claims the confusion is 'very damaging' to local businesses and others wanting access.

Peter Sephton, who chairs the group, said at least half the motorists approaching the gate assume the restriction applies around the clock.

A council spokesman said: "In terms of enforcement, absolutely nothing has changed for the past six years and the camera has not been moved. There are cameras at both the Regent Street and Gell Street bus gates.

"We have worked with the businesses and residents’ groups to better understand their concerns around the highway improvements. We have responsibilities to enforce the bus gate through the Sheffield Bus Partnership and do not believe that this, and the new signage, has a negative effect on businesses in the area. It also delivers significant journey time improvements for bus and tram passengers.

"The university, in partnership with the council, has delivered a multi-million pound public realm and traffic management scheme which will help make Sheffield a more sustainable and diverse city and help bring future generations of students to the city."

A University of Sheffield spokesman said: "We've been working with SCCRAG and the City Council to try to resolve these issues and have offered a significant financial contribution to cover the costs of making any improvements possible."

He added that the changes around the university campus, completed in partnership with the council, had made that area a 'safer, greener and more pleasant environment'.

Since enforcement using the camera at Regent Street began on March 13 this year, following a lengthy warning period, the council said 334 fines had been issued.

Since 2011, 17,342 fines have been issued to drivers using the bus lane during the restricted hours.