I may switch from public transport

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From: A disgruntled bus user

Norton Lees

Having now sampled the new improved joint service on the Optio Orange route, I feel it’s time to remind bus operators that not everyone lives and works on a single service. I use the 20/20A First service between home and city centre, followed by a second bus to the Hallamshire Hospital where I work.

How foolish of me to believe that I would benefit when I saw the “End to Bus Wars” headline in The Star not so long ago. I have a First monthly ticket for the 20/20A leg of the journey and now find that I can only catch every alternate bus on the Optio route.

Incidentally, both on the way to work and back home again, two Stagecoach busses passed in succession before a First bus appeared (so much for the alternate bus theory). My colleague who commutes to the Hallamshire by train and bus is also dissatisfied for a different reason.

The change of route into the city centre from the hospital now means that she misses her usual train and must wait 30 minutes for the next one.

I understand that issues have been raised regarding a change of route at the Fulwood end of the service causing passenger inconvenience, although I can’t comment on this personally.

In addition, the 20/20A is now re-routed via Arundel Gate rather than High Street and Pinstone Street.Foregoing my accustomed pleasant stroll past the Town Hall with a short stop at the supermarket en route to the Peace Gardens, I headed for Arundel Gate.

After waiting a few moments at the first stop, I had to move on, as the smell of stale fat from the fast food outlet was nauseating. I carried on to the next stop outside Hallam University, one without a computer screen displaying wildly optimistic information but without any shelter whatsoever. Fine in July but not a place to be on a dark, wet winter’s night.

These follow previous changes when my “unlimited monthly travel” was curtailed by the introduction of Stagecoach to the 20/20A route. The only busses available during the day are provided by First, hence the necessity for my First monthly ticket. However, magically in the evening the whole service transforms into Stagecoach meaning that if I leave the city centre after 8.30pm, I must pay again.

The same goes for travel on a Sunday morning. It just isn’t cost-effective for me to pay extra for a Travelmaster ticket, based on the number of times I would actually need to use the alternative service.

Having actively chosen to become a bus user 11 years ago, I am sad to say that I’m now reconsidering my decision. One has to wonder whether the bus companies really care about passengers’ views at all.

Am I alone or are there are others like me now considering making the switch away from public transport?