Bus company defends South Yorkshire timetable changes amid complaints

First buses.
First buses.

A transport operator has defended its decision to implement widespread changes to services - which prompted a flood of complaints from disgruntled passengers.

First is introducing changes to more than 50 routes across Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and north Derbyshire from Sunday, September 3.

Angry commuters claimed the alterations would leave many passengers struggling to get to work, shops and medical appointments.

But the company hit back today and a spokesperson said: "Whilst we have decreased the frequency of some services due to low demand, most of the changes we are implementing serve to improve connectivity, reliability and/or punctuality.

“We acknowledge that the changes will have an impact due to reduced demand and reallocation of resources, but we have tried to minimise any negative impacts wherever possible and the vast majority of changes will have a positive impact on customers."

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

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.

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."

Others have vented their frustration on Facebook.

Sarah Harris said: "My daughter was due to start college at the newly opened Olympic Legacy Park on September 1. There was a direct bus there, but not anymore.

"A 20 minute journey will now mean four buses per day, adding two hours to her day."

Rachel Steele added: "Not happy about the 44A from Coal Aston to Chesterfield being taken off.

"We have a bad enough bus service round here already as we've only got an hourly service to Sheffield with two hours between buses at night, and no buses to Chesterfield on evenings or Sundays."

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.

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