'Serious accident' warning after controversial Doncaster bus route change

Worried residents are warning a decision to alter bus routes in a Doncaster town is an accident waiting to happen.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 12:30 pm

Bus operator Arriva has upset residents by swapping the route its 405 service takes through Askern so it goes along Coniston Road – which locals describe as a quiet, narrow residential street, with chicanes.

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It previously went along Rushy Moor Lane, Norbreck Road, and Newmarche Drive, before joining Moss Road. The new route cuts out Newmarche Drive.

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L-r Concerned residents Lesley Illman, Julie Marley, Colyn Firth, Francis Jackson, Town Councillor and Mayor of Askern, John McLaughlin, Town Councillor and Iris Beech, Askern and Norton ward Councillor, pictured on Coniston Road by one of the bends the Buses have to navigate. Picture: NDFP-02-03-21 Coniston Buses 1-NMSY

But residents say there had never been an accident involving the Newmarche Drive route, and 84 have signed a petition against the change.

Mayor of Askern Town Council Francis Jackson said: “The feeling is the new route is more hazardous.

"Coniston has no bus stops, and there have already been near misses.”

Resident Colyn Firth, of Grange Close, said buses shake his house.

L-r Concerned residents Lesley Illman, Julie Marley, Colyn Firth, Francis Jackson, Town Councillor and Mayor of Askern, John McLaughlin, Town Councillor and Iris Beech, Askern and Norton ward Councillor, pictured on Coniston Road by one of the bends the Buses have to navigate. Picture: NDFP-02-03-21 Coniston Buses 4-NMSY

He said: “We have seen numerous near collisions and buses and vans try to pass each other. Often both cars and buses have to take to the footpaths to avoid collision or just to negotiate the road which is dangerous for both children and older adults.

"I think we are likely to have a serious accident on Coniston Road as a result of this new bus route.”

Sheila Rodgers, of Coniston Road, added: “When the buses meet a van or larger car on the road near us, its impossible for them to pass, so depending on where they meet, the car or van has to swerve into Ulverston Road. But if there are vehicles waiting to come out of Ulverston Road then the bus has to go on the pavement."

She said she thought it was only a matter of time before there was a serious accident.

A spokesperson from Arriva said the route change followed feedback from local bus users who wanted a simplified route.

They added: “Newmarche Drive is narrow, with lots of parked cars and several sharp bends to navigate. At one bend, closest to Keyworth Close, our drivers had very little visibility of oncoming traffic. Coniston Road is wider, and whilst it has one bend there is a good amount of space for vehicles to pass.

“The new routing ensures our services can continue serving the bus stops on Rushy Moor Lane, Norbreck Drive and Eden Drive every 30 minutes.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.