BUSES: Call for council to ‘listen’ as Sheffield bus cut debate looms

Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins
Bus timetable and route changes cause chaos for travellers in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins
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Campaigners fighting for Sheffield’s bus cuts to be reversed hope councillors will ‘listen to people’ at a crucial debate tomorrow.

More than 12,300 people have signed a petition against the sweeping changes, which came into force on November 1, and it will be presented at Sheffield Council’s full meeting on Wednesday.

The cuts have caused overcrowding, confusion over timetables and long delays around the city.

Scores of comments left by disgruntled passengers will also be printed out and handed in to council chiefs, and because more than 5,000 people have signed the petition, it will trigger a debate in the council chamber.

Greenhill mum Joanne Lumley, who started the petition, said: “If maybe 150,000 people use the buses in Sheffield we have got nearly ten per cent of that backing the petition, which just shows you the level of dissatisfaction.

“I am hoping for some changes after the debate – I appreciate they are not going to fully reverse it all – but I want them to at least listen to people for a change and look at putting in some changes to benefit people.”

Transport chiefs who are part of Sheffield Bus Partnership met to discuss the cuts after increased complaints and the petition hitting the 10,000 signature milestone.

Afterwards, it was said by Coun Terry Fox that complaints were ‘subsiding’ while the punctuality of services had improved.

At least 25 double deckers had been introduced to reduce overcrowding while some drivers had been given extra training.

But passengers said those measures were not enough to resolve the chaos.

Teacher Joanne added: “Yesterday morning the bus I was on was a double decker and the driver was still refusing to let people on because it was too full – those changes are not enough.

“It has been four weeks now since the changes.

“They said the level of complaints has gone down but how many complaints have they had compared to usual levels?”

There is to be a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall on Wednesday, December 2 at 1pm, before the council meeting starts at 2pm.

Various campaign groups, including the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders who campaigned against cuts to concessionary fares, are to take part and passengers are also urged to attend.

The Star will be reporting live from the debate - follow @SheffieldStar on Twitter and visit www.thestar.co.uk for updates.