Sheffield Connect Bus: 'I took Sheffield's new shuttle buses around town - they're quiet, green and free'

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The city centre shuttle bus has been reborn with four eye-catching green buses, an extra route and all while remaining completely free.

For years now, there has been a shuttle bus in Sheffield that will take you around city centre, with pick ups every eight or so minutes, and it’s free.

The problem was it was hard to know it existed, even if you saw it drive right past you.

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The Sheffield Connect - formerly known as the FreeBee circular - had been a fairly non-descript white minibus that looked a lot more like a private hire than it did a public asset.

The Sheffield Connect shuttle has been rebranded and reborn with four eye-catching green buses, an extra route around town and all while remaining completely free.The Sheffield Connect shuttle has been rebranded and reborn with four eye-catching green buses, an extra route around town and all while remaining completely free.
The Sheffield Connect shuttle has been rebranded and reborn with four eye-catching green buses, an extra route around town and all while remaining completely free.

From now on, however, the rebranded Sheffield Connect is hard to miss.

The city centre shuttle bus has been reborn, with four eye-catching, electric, low emission, single-decker green buses running loop after loop across town.

Not only does it actually look like a bus now, but there is proper advertising too, with signs at each of its stops making it loud and clearer where passenger can now go for free.

And, what’s more, there are two routes now.

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The ‘Sheffield Connect One’ has to date been patrolling the city centre, running from Cumberland Street by Moorfoot, up Paternoster Row by the Interchange and the train station, along High Street and City Hall, and finally back down West Street and Rockingham Street to start again by The Moor. A decent city centre loop.

But now, there’s also the ‘Sheffield Connect Two’. Although it’s currently just a trial and has pick ups every 20 minutes, this new figure-eight route again starts at Cumberland Street and takes in all of Arundel Gate with a stop on Charles Street, heads up Angel Street and loops on Bridge Street - which means it almost, almost reaches Kelham Island. Then makes a stop on Furnival Gate at the top of the Moor on its way back to the start.

Sheffield’s Green Party have taken credit for the shuttle’s new iteration, after first proposing the free service at a budget hearing in 2019. Although this was voted down at the time, here it is in 2024 nevertheless.

Green Party councillor for City ward Ruth Mersereau said: “This bus service will make it easier for people to get around the city centre. It provides a link between Sheffield Railway Station and key parts of the city at no cost to passengers.

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“This will help make the city more accessible to people who don’t own a car or who would prefer not to use one for city centre journeys. It is good for the environment, for local businesses and for people’s pockets. The service is also a good way to connect to other buses. The increased frequency will help with those connections, making overall journey times shorter.”

I took both trips just to get footage for the video above - but by the end of both trips my eyes were open to how I could fit the Sheffield Connect into my day to day life.

All at once I realised I could get back to the office from Moorfoot with no effort at all. With a bit of planning, I won’t have to do quite so much of the mile and a half walk to my friend’s flat by the Cathedral anymore. If I’m on my way to the train station and see a flash of green coming up behind me then the next mile will be much less of a stress.

And, you know what else? They’re quiet. They are the quietest buses I’ve ever been on. Much less rattling and heaving and wheezing compared to other buses I’ve been on. I just thought that was nice.

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This will be different for everyone, but here’s my advice; it’s a free bus. Just get on it once and see where it goes, and see if you can fit it into your routine. It might just make all the difference.

Sheffield Connect bus route

Sheffield Connect service details

Sheffield Connect has two routes, and you can see the full route maps and timetables on the Travel South Yorkshire website.

Sheffield Connect One: The existing city centre loop (renamed SC1) will use 3 new EV buses.

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It runs has pick ups every eight minutes Monday – Saturday, 7am to 7pm, and every 10 minutes on Sundays, 9.30am to 4pm.

The route is: Sheffield, Interchange – Fitzalan Square – High Street – Leopold Street/Orchard Lane – City Hall – West Street – Carver Street – Rockingham Street – Cumberland Street/Moor Market – Eyre Street – Paternoster Row/Sheffield Station – Sheffield, Interchange.

Sheffield Connect Two: There will be trial of a second City Connect route (service SC2).

It will be a circular route going almost to Shalesmoor/Kelham Island.

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It will use a new EV bus at a 20-min frequency, also operating between 7am -7pm Mon-Sat and Sunday 9.30am-4pm.

The route is: Sheffield Interchange - The Moor - Arundel Gate - Bridge Street (West Bar) and Haymarket. This route will operate up to every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes.

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