Sheffield bus debate: Council calls for bus companies to address 'unacceptable' problems

The changes to bus services in Sheffield have proved controversial
The changes to bus services in Sheffield have proved controversial
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Sheffield Council this afternoon debated controversial changes to local bus services.

The changes, which came into force last month, have prompted anger amongst many bus users and been branded as 'chaotic' by some.

More than 12,300 people have signed a petition against the sweeping changes, and this was presented to the council ahead of this afternoon's debate.

In all, a total of six petitions were submitted to the meeting.

Greenhill mum Joanne Lumley, who started one of the petitions, told the meeting the new bus system is not cheaper - 'because people now have to pay two or three fares instead of one to get about'.

She added she did not now feel safe taking her children on buses at peak times due to how busy they are.

Another speaker at today's meeting, Sharon Milsom, said cuts are 'good for the operators.' She added: "Fewer buses, fewer drivers so costs are less and profits more."

Coun Terry Fox responded: "I totally agree and I totally get it that this is unacceptable. It is not what we were promised."

He added that another five double-decker and 12 single-decker buses were being put into network after meeting with operators today.

Coun Fox said bus operators would go before a public meeting in Feb for 'open and frank public scrutiny' if things do not improve.

Coun Ian Aukland told the meeting: "I have had 17 passengers ring me from the bus stop in Norton Lees."

And Coun Rob Murphy added: "The bus partnership is failing and we told you years ago it would fail."

Fellow councillor Nikki Bond urged people with bus cut problems to contact council, while Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said bus cuts had been a 'disaster' and called for action now 'not in February'.

Coun Leigh Bramall said funding cuts had had an impact and 'we can't turn back the clock' on bus cuts.

Meanwhile, Coun David Baker told the meeting: "You've got to listen to 12,000 people who've said you've got it wrong."

"Sheffield is now a laughing stock because of these changes," said Coun Richard Shaw, referencing the spoof Hitler video which went viral on Facebook.

All the councillors went on to praise campaigners who had collated and presented their petitions to the meeting.

The debate ended with Coun Fox's motion calling for bus companies to address problems being agreed.