Fears over cuts to hospital bus route

ELDERLY residents are facing a new battle over bus services - a year after they fought to preserve a direct route through their Sheffield neighbourhood.

Last year, buses through the Westminster Estate were withdrawn for three months but were brought back after protests.

But planned route changes under the new Sheffield Bus Partnership scheme, due to begin in October, have caused renewed concern.

Although a service through the area is to be improved, it will no longer provide a direct link to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

The area is currently served by the half-hourly number 123 service.

The route is to be replaced by a new service 83A, which will run at an improved frequency, every 20 minutes during the day. However, it runs to Fulwood, Nether Green and Hunters Bar before continuing along Ecclesall Road to the city centre.

Nancy Grayson, aged 74, a retired social worker and member of Westminster Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “Since we had the 123 bus restored last year the service has been fine.

“There are a lot of people in the area who need to get to hospital appointments and like the fact that the current route passes the Royal Hallamshire.

“It is good news the new service will run more frequently but we are wondering whether the route could run back up from Hunters Bar via the Royal Hallamshire before going into the city centre.

“It is a struggle for people with limited mobility to walk up or down hill to the 51 or 120 buses which would be the alternatives to get to hospital.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for transport, said: “We will raise these issues with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, which is drawing up the new network.

“It is possible changes could be made or a community transport link could be provided for residents.”