Public transport is always a hot topic in Sheffield because it is important and ours isn’t up to the job.
When you get that right, other things flourish around it. Being able to get places quickly, easily and cheaply might sound simple but when it goes wrong, it can cripple a city.
As you know, we have had many readers get in touch in recent weeks about the changes to buses in the city centre. Before that, for many years, our letter pages have been alive with debates about buses, cars, bikes and pedestrians. Everybody wants the same thing – town to flourish – but few agree on how best to get there.
The Star is campaigning to see the return of the Freebee, a bus service which carries folk to the key parts of town without delay or cost.
However, as I said recently, this is just a sticking plaster. What we should be doing is thinking of wacky ways to make our city centre different – starting with how we all get around.
There have been some cracking – or crackers – ideas in the past.
Who remembers the ambitious (overly it would seem) plan to create a monorail to carry shoppers on their travels? The mere mention of this sets the older members of The Star team laughing. I’ve yet to work out if that is because it was a daft plan from the start or if they’re just used to big ideas not becoming reality in Sheffield Personally, I love it. Imagine what an attraction that would be – a transformation to transport which does more than it is meant to rather than less.
Then there was the infamous travelator. a moving walkway to whisk people from the station and upwards into the heart of the city. Again, it raises eyebrows but would certainly have got people talking about Sheffield.
I haven’t even got started on cable cars … another option which works in cities across the world so there’s no reason we couldn’t do the same.
My point is, let’s not just settle for anything. Let’s be brave, bold and make a difference. In the meantime, we’re not giving up on Freebee until you, the people of Sheffield, tell us that it is easier to get around town.
Plus, I haven’t even started on wacky ideas yet. Once upon a time this city had a very famous elephant who helped with transportation ...