Halloween theme to Sheffield bus cuts protest over ‘zombie routes’
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Better Buses South Yorkshire held its protest at the South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority offices on Broad Street West in the city centre on Tuesday (October 24).
The group said that a meeting of bus operators and mayoral officials taking place at the same time did not come up with a solution to services being cut.
On Sunday (October 29) many evening and Sunday services will be reduced to every two hours and concessionary fares for young people will increase from Wednesday (November 1).
First, Stagecoach and TM Travel have agreed to introduce a £1.50 flat fare to Zoom Beyond 18-21 passholders. The 80p concessionary fare was due to be withdrawn.
Concessionary child fares on buses and trams for holders of Zoom Under 16 and Zoom 16-18 Travel Passes will rise from 80p to £1. The £2 fare cap on trams will rise to £2.80 until November 30, 2024.
Better Buses said: “Next week sees the 37th anniversary of bus deregulation when our bus services were handed over to private companies. And for 37 years we have seen the private company zombies sucking the life out of our buses.
“Each year the zombies send more bus routes to the ‘undead’. In the last decade the zombies have removed 40% of our routes in South Yorkshire.”
Campaign convenor Fran Postlethwaite said: “We are gathering as many zombie hunters as possible to say loud and clear ‘No more zombies here!’
“We’ve had years of the bus companies tricking us – it’s time for us to have a treat.
“We want franchising as a first step to taking our buses back into public ownership.”
Martin Mayer, secretary of Sheffield Trades Union Council, said: “Cutting evening and Sunday services to just one bus every two hours is surely the death-knell for these services. With such low frequencies they will be all but useless to most people.
“Reductions to one bus per hour over the last few years has already driven passengers away so further reductions to just one every two hours will mean many people will simply give up using the bus altogether.
“We desperately need to rescue our bus services from the private operators and run it once more as a properly-funded public service which people can rely on.”
The campaign says that Stagecoach is pulling out of a number of evening and Sunday services altogether across the city, with some services only partially replaced by First. They in turn are reducing some services to two-hourly in the evenings with some services cut to two-hourly during the daytime on Sunday.
Better Buses gave examples (for full details, go to travelsouthyorkshire.com):
Stagecoach 1 evening and Sunday services cut with no service from city to Jordanthorpe
First Bus 1A, 11, 24, 81 and 82 – evening service reduced to one every two hours
First Bus 8, 18, 56 – reduced to once every two hours on evenings and all day Sunday
Stagecoach 7 – evening and Sunday services cut with no service to Crystal Peaks. City-Ecclesfield section partially replaced by First Bus 8, running every two hours evenings and all day Sunday
Stagecoach 25 – evening service cut, partially replaced by First Bus City to Woodhouse every 2 hours. No service to Bradway after 8pm.
Stagecoach 86 – evening and Sunday services cut with no service city to Low Edges. City to Chapeltown section partially replaced by First Bus to one every two hours evenings and all day Sunday.