RETRO: Buses on a bumpy road

Bendibus
Bendibus
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Who remembers the great bendibuses?

What fun it was to stand on the bend as a child!

Whether you love or hate public transport there is no denying that buses have played a massive role in keeping Sheffield moving over the decades.

A flick back through our archives reveals extreme highs and lows of the service which so many fondly recall as costing just 2p for children and 5p for adults.

In 1976 Brenda Cork became the city’s first female bus driver, and in 1960 Sheffield Corporation Transport Department officials refused to comment on reports that ‘coloured’ drivers were beginning training.

The department already had 290 black employees including conductors but, even when facing an acute shortage of drivers, the issue came with its own controversy.

In 1969 another row broke out over “the most expensive buses ever bought by Sheffield Transport Department”.

The double-deck, one-man vehicles cost £10,223 each.

Just two years earlier, on June 21, 1967, The Star ran an article highlighting the dire straits facing the services.

“Sheffield buses lost nine and a half million passengers last year, the biggest loss in recent years. The total number of passengers lost in the last four years is more than 20 million.

“This was the bleak news for the transport committee yesterday when they were presented with the annual report on the work of the transport department.

“The report shows that during the year there was a fall of £250,000 in revenue, and operating costs went up because of higher wages.

“Mr C T Humpidge, general manager, warns: ‘The future outlook is not enouraging.

“‘If the number of passengers continues to fall a fare increase may not produce the additional revenue which would normally be anticipated. One way of helping finances will be to introduce one-man buses, and a wider spaced fares structure. Some measure of priority should be given to buses with the ever-increasing traffic congestion.’”

And so began the appearance of bus lanes across Sheffield. As for fare increases, perhaps not much changes after all.