Sheffield dad furious after daughter waits 40 minutes for a ‘full’ bus and misses school
Sheffield’s transport chiefs say they are ‘closely monitoring’ capacity after a furious dad told how his daughter missed school because her bus was full.
Services across the city have been reduced during lockdown but school buses resumed as pupils returned to classrooms this week, with some ‘minor’ changes made to other timetables to help youngsters make it to their lessons.
That didn’t stop 13-year-old Raegan Lee-Mellor waiting nearly 40 minutes without luck in the pouring rain to catch a number 25 bus from Manor to Outwood Academy City, during which time only a solitary single decker which said it was full turned up.
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Her angry father Liam explained how she had waited for the Stagecoach service on Thursday from 7.40am until 8.15am, when the school day begins, and he was sure she wasn’t the only pupil who had been left stranded due to buses being full.
“It’s a bit disgusting. School governors asked for two weeks’ notice, which they got, but the bus operators still can’t get it right,” said the 33-year-old delivery driver.
“It happened quite a few times before Christmas but then they started putting double deckers on the route.”
A Buses for Sheffield spokeswoman, on behalf of Stagecoach and other operators, said: “With schools returning from the beginning of this week, school services returned with some very minor changes to other timetables.
“The Sheffield Bus Partnership (comprising the bus operators, Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive) meet on a very regular basis to monitor trends in patronage and to ensure that any new issues are quickly identified and addressed as best we can.
“The allocation of buses to journeys has been reviewed to ensure that we optimise our resources, with double deckers placed where demand is greater.
“Overall this change has gone smoothly with very little feedback but we are aware of a small number of journeys where due to social distancing some buses have been full.
“We are closely monitoring numbers of customers wanting to travel and have added extra buses on some of the busiest routes.
“Customers not travelling for school, college or work, are asked to try and avoid school and peak travel times.”
Rob Hughes, Operations Director at First South Yorkshire, said: “I think it is important for people to realise that although we are operating a fleet of buses that resembles the levels operated pre-Covid, we still have reduced capacity and social distancing measures still in place to help keep people as safe as possible when they travel with us.
"I totally understand the frustrations people may have to endure when a bus turns up and it is full, but until restrictions are lifted in line with government guidance, it is to be expected that now schools have returned to normal, certain journeys at busy times of the day are likely to be full.
"I apologise in advance of any inconvenience caused but as I have stated throughout the pandemic, safety is our main focus and whist these measures are in place we all need to adhere to them.”