Bus passengers 'not addressed' in plans to close busy Sheffield city centre road
A busy bus route through Sheffield city centre is set to be closed permanently - and thousands of displaced passengers have ‘not been addressed’ in the plans, a councillor says.
A traffic ban on Pinstone Street is set to be made permanent under a new scheme, Connecting Sheffield, which ‘aligns’ with plans to extend the Peace Gardens up to a new Radisson Blu hotel in Palatine Chambers.
A city council spokeswoman said no permanent changes to Pinstone Street would be made without consultation.
Featuring a string of stops, the road used to see a constant stream of buses and thousands of passengers every day.
But it was closed ‘temporarily’ by the city council in June under social distancing measures. Bus stops were moved to Arundel Gate and elsewhere.
The move sparked protests from people, many elderly, who said the new arrangements were confusing and made it harder to reach shops.
Coun Ian Auckland, shadow member for transport, said the issue had not been addressed in plans to permanently close Pinstone Street.
Healthy passenger numbers were vital to ending bailouts for bus companies post-Covid, yet their treatment was ‘poor’ and the new facilities were ‘inadequate’.
He added: “They are getting poor treatment and I have seen nothing to show the council is addressing it. The letters page of the Star shows there is a problem and that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg.
“Closing Pinstone Street wasn’t a vital necessity for social distancing. It could have been part of a comprehensive plan that included public transport. It needs to be sorted out now.”
In September, Elaine Bird, of JC Bird Opticians on Surrey Street, said the traffic ban had left bus passengers with a longer walk to the shop and damaged trade.
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “We will soon be launching consultation as part of our Connecting Sheffield City Centre scheme, which focuses on creating sustainable travel choices in the city.
"These plans will be subject to full public consultation to allow bus users and other groups to provide feedback, which will influence the final schemes. Further information on these plans and the consultation will be released this week.”
To receive email updates about the city centre consultation can sign up here.
In September, Coun Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and sustainability, said: "As we adapt to the new normal, businesses have had to change the way they operate and as an authority we have had to bring in measures that allow people to remain safe, while being able to work, shop and enjoy themselves.
"We know that the impact of some of these measures has seen both positive and negative outcomes, and while we are committed to supporting the recovery of our economy and a return to normality, we have to make sure that protecting people and limiting the spread of Covid-19 remains our priority.”