It’s all change on Doncaster buses

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Bus bosses in Doncaster are putting together proposals for a new partnership to tackle a slump in passenger numbers.

The number of bus users fell by 7 per cent last year – and research has shown passengers in Doncaster are the least satisfied in the whole of South Yorkshire.

It is hoped a new bus partnership agreement will result in cheaper fares, improved services and more people using public transport.

Coun Bill Mordue, Doncaster Council cabinet member for transport, said: “Sheffield has just completed the first year of its bus partnership which has led to a number of benefits including an increase in passenger numbers, punctuality and reliability.

“We are now looking at what could be introduced in Doncaster.

New deal on buses to win back passengers

“A voluntary partnership is in the early stages of being discussed. The aim is Doncaster will have a better, more reliable and cost-effective public transport network.”

According to a council report to the regeneration and environment overview and scrutiny panel, passenger satisfaction with value for money is just 30 per cent, while services in Doncaster have consistently been among the worst in South Yorkshire for punctuality and reliability since 2011.

In the county, Doncaster also has the largest decline in passengers commuting by bus to work and the second largest decline in the number of people who use the bus to get to the town centre.

The council is proposing to team up with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and bus operators including First, Stagecoach and Arriva to create the partnership agreement that would cover network, infrastructure, tendered services, quality standards, ticketing and fares and marketing.

Ben Gilligan, managing director for First, the largest bus operator in the borough, said: “First is committed to developing its partnership arrangements with the local authorities. We have a real opportunity to strengthen our working relationships for the benefit of bus customers.”

However, despite the success of the agreement in Sheffield, there are fears it would be less successful in Sheffield.

Concerns include a lack of competition along routes and low parking charges and taxi fares meaning passengers would be less likely to switch to buses.

The council document states: “The success of a BPA depends upon the level of efficiencies that can be achieved by improving the network or stimulating demand, which in turn would enable operators to reinvest savings into cheaper ticketing arrangements and/or improved quality standards.