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Is this the worst bus service in Doncaster, ask frustrated passengers

Sasha Bonfield (far right) and other exasperated passengers at the bus stop on Station Road in Arksey (photo: Marie Caley)
Sasha Bonfield (far right) and other exasperated passengers at the bus stop on Station Road in Arksey (photo: Marie Caley)

Exasperated passengers have reached the end of their tether with what they believe may be Doncaster's worst bus service.

Arksey residents claim number 64a buses almost always arrive late and at least once a day fail to turn up at all.

One customer says the hourly service is so unreliable she ends up spending as much on taxis each month as she does on her bus pass.

Transport chiefs admit punctuality on the route has 'deteriorated' and say they are reviewing the schedule in an attempt to reduce delays.

Number 64 and 64a buses both run between Arksey and Doncaster via Bentley, but the former service - which only operates during the early morning and evenings - takes a more direct route, bypassing Bentley railway station and avoiding the level crossing there.

Sasha Bonfield, who lives in Arksey and takes the 64a to work, says buses routinely get held up at the Bentley level crossing and believes the 64 service should run throughout the day to prevent delays.

Not only are buses often late or missing in action, she claims, staff hate driving the route so much they frequently take their frustration out on customers.

"At least once a day a bus doesn't turn up and most mornings my bus is so late I miss my connection in Doncaster and have to pay for a taxi," said Ms Bonfield, a 23-year-old administrator who works for the pharmaceutical firm Mawdsleys.

"I pay £60.80 for my monthly bus pass, and I must spend about the same on taxis. I feel like I'm being robbed.

"When buses do turn up, the staff are disgustingly rude to you. It has to be the worst bus service in Doncaster.

"I don't understand why the Arksey bus has to go through the centre of Bentley and get stuck at the level crossing every time, when there's a Bentley bus running every 10 minutes."

Ms Bonfield says she and other passengers have repeatedly complained to First South Yorkshire, which operates the route, but to little avail.

Although the timetable was altered in an attempt to reduce delays, she said this actually made things worse as it meant buses were more likely to get stuck at the level crossing.

Allan Riggall, commercial director at First South Yorkshire, on behalf of the Doncaster Bus Partnership, said: "We're sorry to hear that customers have been unhappy with the reliability of the 64/64A bus service that we operate on behalf of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

"The timetable was changed 12 months ago to avoid the trains. However, performance since the end of January has deteriorated again and we are in the process of reviewing our schedule again to avoid any delays to our services."