From the Sheffield Star online news
Sheffield transport chiefs have
admitted controversial bus changes coming into force this September have
not been explained properly to the public.
Councillors told a meeting with bus operators many
residents have raised fears their communities will be ‘isolated’ by a
series of changes to routes – with big concerns in Tinsley, Firth Park
and Manor Castle.
Around 400 households in Tinsley are set to have services to Sheffield city centre reduced in the autumn.
Councillors said they had not been given any
advance notice of the planned changes – despite Sheffield Council being
part of the official bus partnership – and had not been able to explain
why changes were being introduced.
Transport bosses claimed the majority of the changes are both
‘minor and positive’ aimed at improving punctuality and reliability –
but admitted they had failed to get the message across why services were
Stephen Edwards, executive
director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said:
“Clearly the communication hasn’t worked and hasn’t given you the
information you want and need.
“We will look at how we can improve that.”
of the biggest changes in September will be the end of the number 69
Sheffield to Rotherham service which runs through Tinsley.
It will be replaced by a more regular X1 service.
But of the 1,200 households in Tinsley currently reachable on the 69
bus, only 800 will fall within the new route - leaving 400 homes with
only one service an hour into the city rather than the current three.
major changes will see four bus services catering for pupils at
Sheffield’s Catholic schools axed following a decision made by the
council last year.
Councillor Steve Wilson,
chairman of the Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny and
Policy Development Committee, said all councillors had been informed of
the widespread route changes on July 8.
Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for transport, said he was concerned there
had not been enough consultation about the latest changes and concerns
had been raised with him about alterations to services in Firth Park.
He said he had been led to believe there would be
no further changes to bus services following the controversial changes
“We can’t be isolating communities, that is the bottom line,” he said.
He asked for the service changes to be suspended until further consultation takes place.
Iqbal said he was concerned about the cancellation of the 69 service
and the potential impact on ‘elderly residents who rely on public
“People think it is the council making these changes, it is the operators,” he said.
“I would like these to be reconsidered and
withdrawn from the table until the public say this is something that
could work for us.
“People feel they are being isolated.”
Bus operators said they would look at concerns about specific routes but the wider programme would go ahead in September.
Paul Wood said residents’ comments in areas such as Manor Castle and
Tinsley suggested the bus services they were receiving were ‘not
acceptable’ to them.
He said councillors cannot explain why changes are being made if they are not informed of them first.
“We are the ones who will take the blame,” he said.
public want to know what we are doing. If you are making decisions we
don’t know about, there is very little we can do about it.”
Mr Edwards said it appeared there was a ‘disconnect’ in communication to councillors which needed to be improved.
Councillor Ian Auckland said bus operators appeared unwilling to alter their plans for September despite concerns being raised.
“The email to members said if you have a got a problem, let us know, It seemed to imply there was some wriggle room,” he said.
“I passed that on to some of the people who contacted me.
quoted that back to somebody involved in making representations. They
got the reply ‘We have got no intention of changing it, it is too late
Councillor Martin Smith said: “It is clear that at best there is a perception that the agreed processes weren’t followed.
“There is a fair degree of public disquiet.”
Mr Belfield said all of the changes are intended to be improvements.
“The changes in September should further improve punctuality and mileage coverage,” he said.
“It is a shame it is being perceived in a negative way. Overall, it is a positive move for the city and South Yorkshire.”
Young, from Stagecoach, said: “After the service changes made in
November and the subsequent amendments in January and February to
restore punctuality, punctuality is at its highest level it has ever
“It is important to stress no changes is
not a good thing. We need to make sure people understand what the
changes are and why they are being made.
“At least 75 per cent of the changes we make are for punctuality. There is a lot of science that goes into the details.
“A lot of the changes we make are a) minor and b) positive because they will make sure buses run on time.
“The key thing is the communications. It is clear that needs to be improved.”