Passengers react to huge changes to South Yorkshire's bus services
Commuters have expressed their dismay over a planned overhaul of bus services across South Yorkshire.
Around a quarter of services will be affected, with 15 being rerouted or replaced by alternatives and two being withdrawn, as transport chiefs respond to a perfect storm of falling passenger numbers, higher running costs, growing congestion and reduced public funding.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, which coordinates public transport in the region, said the network is ‘under pressure’ and it ‘simply can't afford to retain the same level of service’.
All the changes to bus services are set to take effect between August 31 and September 2.
A number of passengers took to The Star’s Facebook page to vent their frustration over the proposals.
Lisa Badloe called for the buses to “show up on time”, adding: “That's all people want in a bus service.”
Sarah Helen added: “Not again, I've only just worked out the last one.”
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Kathryn Yates posted: “Norton Lees is an area that is quite badly served by buses and now they're messing around with the timetable again.”
Sheffield and Doncaster are worst hit and while many of the changes are commercially driven some of the biggest are to local routes which are publicly subsidised to ensure communities are still served where it would not be profitable for operators to do so otherwise.
SYPTE has seen its funding for these tendered services – which include school routes, rural, evening and Sunday services, plus those providing access to work where no other public transport links exist – slashed by more than a third over the last decade to £6.6 million a year.
It said it had sought to prioritise school buses when making the revisions but had been forced to cut two little-used school routes in Doncaster.
SYPTE’s executive director, Stephen Edwards, said: “We’ve worked hard with local bus companies to protect the network and minimise the impact on passengers, as far as is possible with the resources available. This means a large proportion of services will not change, but the network is under pressure. Running costs for bus operators have risen and public transport funding is stretched.”
Full details of the changes will be available at travelsouthyorkshire.com/servicechanges.