BUSES: Sheffield chief says complaints have ‘subsided’ after double deckers brought in to address cuts chaos

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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Sheffield Council’s transport chief says the punctuality of buses is ‘starting to improve’ after double deckers were brought in to help tackle the chaos.

Coun Terry Fox called a meeting of Sheffield Bus Partnership yesterday in the wake of uproar over sweeping changes brought in on November 1.

More than 11,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the changes - which have caused delays, long queues, timetable confusion and people missing appointments - to be reversed.

But the result of the meeting was to continue monitoring the situation and that the partnership will make ‘further adjustments where necessary.’

In a letter released today Coun Fox, cabinet member for transport and environment, said changes already brought in included introducing at least 25 double decker buses to replace single deckers, and tackle overcrowding, as well as additional training for drivers so they knew the new routes.

As a result complaints were reducing and punctuality improving, he claimed.

He wrote: “I called a top-level meeting of the Sheffield Bus Partnership yesterday to review the operation of the changes to the city’s bus services since they were introduced on 1 November.

“We expected some teething problems when changes of this scale were introduced, but it was obvious that many members of the public were unhappy about some of the services, especially how it performed during the first weeks of operation.

“We had an open and frank meeting to consider all the issues raised by passengers and to learn how the partners have addressed the new services as part of their ongoing management reviews.

“It was encouraging to hear that many changes had already been implemented to improve the capacity of local services, including the introduction of at least 25 double decker buses to replace single decker buses and additional training for drivers where required to ensure they know the routes.

“The punctuality of the services has started to improve now and the number of complaints made by passengers has subsided to the levels normally expected at this time of the year.

“However, I have requested that the members of the partnership should continue to closely monitor their services and feedback from their customers, and make further adjustments when necessary to ensure the punctuality and reliability of their services continues to improve. We will be reconvening to assess whether the actions put in place are delivering the required improvements.

“We are determined to ensure that as many people as possible continue to enjoy using public transport in Sheffield and regret the problems and inconvenience caused by the changes.”

Because the petition has reached more than 5,000 signatures, there will be a debate on the issue at a full meeting of Sheffield Council.