We are working to ensure the network suits customers

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With reference to the letter from Ralph Godbehere published in The Star on April 20, inviting comments on the situation with regards to bus services.

By offering great value fares and improving our services through partnership, customers on First South Yorkshire buses are increasing by over 8 per cent compared to last year. Whilst working hard to continue this growth we do still need to ensure that supply and demand is matched just like in any other business.

This is all done on a commercial basis with very little “subsidy” – indeed with the ending of the FreeBee service this weekend, less than 1 per cent of our revenue in Sheffield comes from contracts provided by SYPTE and therefore funded by the taxpayer.

On occasions customers will see buses on quieter sections of routes such as on services including 53, 75 and 76 which are extremely busy in the north of the city but also provide benefit of a more frequent service for those living in the south of Sheffield.

This is not to say the network will never change. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that the network of services is right for customers. This includes improving services and vehicle investment.

Since the commencement of the Sheffield Bus Partnership, we have invested £15m in the business in terms of new fleet and reduced bus fares.

Indeed some of this investment is visible as part of this week’s Catch the Bus Week with the launch of our new buses on services 20/20A and 22.

Investment such as this helps deliver further improvements for the people of Sheffield and encourage even more people to try the bus.

Ben Gilligan

Managing Director, First South Yorkshire Ltd, First York Ltd