The Star Says: Bus drivers deserve respect not attacks

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Many Sheffielders rely on the bus service to get around the city for work or in their free time.

Often when we report on issues with the buses it is about investment into the service or problems customers may have.

These are serious in their own right but nothing as serious as the safety of bus drivers and their passengers.

Today two teenagers will begin jail sentences for armed robbery of drivers in the city.

Thankfully justice has been done and no one was seriously hurt before the two thugs were caught and locked up.

Bus drivers can come in for criticism at times and, being the honest bunch they are, they’d be the first to admit they’re not all perfect.

But, then again, none of us are. In a job where they carry a great deal of responsibility, driving a large vehicle with skill and care, they are isolated away from work-mates.

Drivers are also very much in the public eye. They deal with customers all day every day, from school children through to pensioners, and do so in all weather conditions.

Having the ability to do all this and, for the most part, retain a sense of humour is credit to them.

So it is particularly outrageous when they’re taken advantage of and we can only hope that the punishment handed out by the courts will deter others.

Unrelated to that case but pertinent to the discussion around buses we have today published a letter from a bus driver on our Your Say pages. The driver is frustrated at not being able to alight his passengers at the correct place at the bus stop pull-in at West Street and Leopold Street due to licensed black cabs using the pull-ins as a rank. Not one cab just picking up or dropping off but four, five or six cabs forming a rank.

He makes the point that if he parked his family car in the same place he would be issued with a penalty notice.

And asks what the uproar would be if five double-decker buses parked up at the station taxi rank?

A solution is obviously needed for this problem.

Given that we have suggested that not all bus drivers are perfect then let’s assume that not all taxi drivers in Sheffield are perfect too.

However, the hidden issue here is whether there are enough suitable places for taxis to wait.

An integrated transport plan needs to give all modes of travel a chance to excel.