BUSES are to be diverted from High Street and Church Street to help ease congestion in Sheffield city centre.
Several routes are being changed from the weekend of July 23 and 24 in the hope of smoothing the flow of traffic on roads that can become choked with buses and can be difficult for pedestrians to cross.
One of the hotspots in the city centre is around High Street and Church Street, especially near Fargate, where buses crowd into limited space. The road can be blocked when two or more buses turn up at once.
Transport managers say they are responding to concerns at a time when bus companies First and Stagecoach are beginning to co-operate over timetables, which should help to prevent vehicles arriving in bunches.
David Young, Director of Customer Experience with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: “We know that the volume of buses on High Street and Church Street was causing some concern, so we have worked with operators to come up with changes which we hope will see a smoother flow of traffic along the route.
“There are also some minor changes to the stops used by the FreeBee service and some others relate to the launch of our new ‘Optio Orange’ route, which will allow tickets to be used on both First and Stagecoach services.
“We will be publicising these changes on bus stops and in the press before the changes take effect.”
About 10 buses an hour will be rerouted at peak times. Main changes will see:
The 10A, 20/20A and 25/25A will no longer use High Street/Church Street/Pinstone Street/Leopold Street, but will run via Arundel Gate
The 42/44 will come into the city centre via Granville Road and Eyre Street instead of via Duke Street and Commercial Street
The 49 will run direct to and from the interchange rather than right through the city centre;
Some other services will move to adjacent or nearby stops;
The FreeBee will no longer stop on Arundel Gate.
The package has been drawn up by SYPTE in consultation with First and Stagecoach and is being introduced as part of an agreement that allows changes to be made no more than four times a year. Previously, alterations could be made to services at any time, leading to passenger confusion.
The latest changes are being made at the same time as a new deal between the rival companies over timetables and tickets on one of the busiest routes in Sheffield.
For the first time, passengers will be able to use the same ticket on buses run by either First or Stagecoach and times are being amended to try to ensure vehicles arrive at regular intervals.
The breakthrough agreement affects routes between Fulwood, the city centre and Halfway, including buses now being diverted, and it is hoped to eventually extend it to other services.
Additional information: Ray Butler