Critics quick to rap rapid buses

TRANSPORT bosses are drawing up plans for a new rapid bus system between Sheffield and Rotherham - but Lib Dem politicians are already condemning the scheme as "a waste of money".

Thursday, 20th September 2007, 1:13 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd September 2007, 5:40 pm

Sheffield Council cabinet is on Wednesday expected to approve the proposed routes of the 'Bus Rapid Transit Scheme' ahead of an expected bid to the Government next year.

The scheme is intended to replace the aborted Supertram extensions, which the Government turned down last year as too expensive.

But Lib Dems say replacement fast bus system will actually be MORE expensive than the tram extensions would have been.

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Instead they want city bosses to go back to the Government with a renewed bid for Supertram extensions.

The proposed Supertram extensions from Meadowhall to Rotherham Parkgate and from Glossop Road up to the Northern General Hospital would have cost 110 million.

The rapid bus system from Sheffield city centre, through Waverley, to Rotherham town centre, and of a second route from Sheffield city centre, through Meadowhall to Rotherham Parkgate, would be "in the region of 185 million to 245 million," according to a cabinet report.

The system would see either buses, designed to look like trams, running on their own dedicated lines, or possibly electric trolleybuses, powered by overhead lines similar to those used by Supertram.

But Coun Sylvia Dunkley, Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for transport, said: "Given that the entire Bus Rapid Transit system proposed would actually cost more than extending Supertram, we think there is a serious case to go back to Government and demand we receive backing for the original proposal to extend Supertram."

If approved, the first phase of the rapid bus system could be up and running by 2011.

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