It’s full speed ahead for our Buses to the Market campaign – with a trial of a new stop confirmed by Doncaster’s biggest bus firm.
Earlier this month we revealed that a bus stop had been painted onto the road surface on Church Way, near Doncaster Market.
Now, operator First has confirmed details of a trial service to start from Monday, October 27.
The firm will trial the new Doncaster Market stop on the number 54 service from Woodlands to Doncaster town centre.
It will bring shoppers into the market from the north of Doncaster and will be re-routed across the St George Bridge on the in-bound journey.
But it will not stop at the market on the way back, meaning shoppers still have to walk to the Frenchgate Interchange on the way home.
The altered route will run after the rush hour is over, starting at 9.30am. Before that time, the old route, across North Bridge will still be running.
A spokesman for First said the trial would run at least until 2015.
He added it would be re-assessed after that, and it may be possible that more routes would stop at the market in the future.
He said: “We have agreed the service change date. Now if the trial is successful it could lead to other services coming this way in the future, and possibly going out of town again this way too.
“We want to run services that are convenient for our customers and that can be run safely.
“We have to take into account that customers may be affected in other ways.
“This is a good option for us to monitor and see how our customers feel.”
The changes have been agreed after talks and negotiations involving South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire transport authorities, and Doncaster Council. Market traders are delighted with the plans, and see it as a first step to bringing better bus services.
Chairman of the Doncaster branch of the Market Traders Federation, Mick Maye, said: “We think the market has been in decline for 20 years and this is something that should help address that.
“We have a lot of elderly customers who don’t want to walk all the way from the Frenchgate. It may be that the people still have to walk to the Frenchgate to get back out again, but it still saves people a lot of walking and hopefully we can build on that. I think The Star’s Buses to the Market campaign has been a major factor in us getting this far.”
We launched its Buses to the Market campaign in February calling on the bus companies, the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, and Doncaster Council to work to bring in services stopping at Market Road or as near as possible to the market.
Traders were concerned that none of the services currently went past the market - and said many customers were having to walk in from the Frenchgate Centre and Duke Street.
We also reported shoppers’ concerns over the distance they had to walk to get to the market from their bus stops, and obtained the backing of elected mayor Ros Jones for the campaign.
Meanwhile, work has started to revamp the Irish Middle Market as part of the re-development of the market area.