Anger over South Yorkshire bus service changes

A BrightBus pulls up near a school.
A BrightBus pulls up near a school.

Widespread timetable changes to key bus services will leave many passengers struggling to get to work, shops and medical appointments.

That is the stark claim by a group of angry commuters who have hit out at transport operator First, which is introducing changes to more than 50 routes across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and north Derbyshire from Sunday, September 3.

First buses.

First buses.

Some passengers claim key services have been removed from the important rush-hour early morning and evening routes during the week and have also been cut at weekends.

Commuter Liz Weber, aged 52, of Grimesthorpe, has now launched an online campaign aiming to push transport bosses into a rethink over their plans.

She said: "They are decimating many of the local routes. They seem to be targeting the least served routes and keeping buses on the more populated routes which doesn't make any sense to me.

"The changes will make it harder for me to get to work and I rely on them because I can't drive at the moment after having an operation on my eye.

"I have spoken to other passengers who are worried too. One is an elderly man receiving cancer treatment who is concerned he won't be able to make appointments and my parents, who are both in their 80s, are concerned about how it will affect their ability to get to the shops."

She told how she relies on the 35 and 70 services that run every half hour from Margate Drive, Grimesthorpe,as part of her journey to work at a car parts shop in Darnall.

But claimed that when these are replaced by the hourly 36 buses she will have to try and adjust her shifts as this will make her late for work.

Ms Weber also alleged that First are sending their buses on routes to cover the school run that were previously served by the BrightBus scheme, which ended in July, but this is leaving other areas poorly served.

She said other key routes affected include the 18 bus covering Sheffield city centre, Gleadless and Meadowhall which will see some early morning and evening services cut.

She is now inviting angry passengers to join the 'FirstBus ThirtyFive' Facebook group and is handing out leaflets as part of her campaign to urge transport bosses to rethink their plans.

Transport bosses previously made alterations to service routes early last year following complaints from passengers and a 12, 000 name petition.

Ms Weber added she would welcome a public meeting with First to discuss the plans.

Along with changes to First buses, fellow transport operator Stagecoach has announced changes to 14 routes from next month in Barnsley and the Dearne Valley.

The company said this includes ending the 217 bus between Mexborough and Goldthorpe due to 'low usage'.

First said on its website the changes are "in line with customer feedback and to improve punctuality."

The company and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive have been contacted for a response and we are awaiting a response.

*For full details of all the changes visit www.firstgroup.com and www.stagecoachbus.com