‘Bus changes will leave us stranded’ fear Sheffield OAPs

Spokesperson Jean Cromer (left) and fellow bus users stage their protest on Psalter Lane.
Spokesperson Jean Cromer (left) and fellow bus users stage their protest on Psalter Lane.

PENSIONERS fear they will be left ‘housebound’ by plans to axe their only bus as part of a shake-up of services in Sheffield.

Elderly people living off Psalter Lane, Nether Edge, are fuming about changes set to be implemented as part of the Sheffield Bus Partnership agreement between operators and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

The partnership aims to improve the city’s network by ending ‘bus wars’ between First and Stagecoach on popular routes and provide a range of new, cheaper tickets which can be used on all services.

All services have been reviewed and an agreed network of future routes proposed.

But the scheme could mean the end of the line for the number 4 service along Cemetery Road and Psalter Lane, despite residents complaining alternative frequent services on Ecclesall Road are too far and too steep a walk away.

Dorothy Manners, aged 84, of Psalter Lane, told a full meeting of Sheffield Council: “The current service is unreliable and buses I have tried to catch have failed to turn up eight times in the last five weeks, mostly due to breakdowns. It has already been reduced from half-hourly to hourly.

“But without a bus service, people of a certain age will become housebound. I need a bus to go to the doctors, the post office and shopping. Why should all the services be re-routed along Ecclesall Road when it has enough buses?”

Ex-councillor Jean Cromer, 74, said: “It feels as if the current service is being discontinued by default with older buses being used which break down and the cut to frequency so fewer people catch it.

“There are 24 buses an hour on Ecclesall Road. Can the council encourage those making the decisions about services to re-route one of those services along Psalter Lane?”

But Coun Leigh Bramall said: “For the vast majority of people the bus partnership agreement will deliver a better-quality service.”

An opposition Lib Dem motion committing the council changing the agreement so threatened services, including the 84 to Ringinglow, could be reinstated was outvoted.

■ A public debate on the proposals takes place from 5pm, on Thursday at St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane. Submit questions in advance by emailing transport@sheffield.gov.uk or calling 0114 273 4567.