'Buses in Sheffield are unreliable, expensive and in need of drastic changes'

I was waiting for the bus to the office on Tuesday when three arrived at once – and stayed there.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 6:00 am
Sheffield buses

All three of the buses on what is one of the city’s busiest routes hung around for a good five minutes before setting off because they were ‘early.’

‘I hope you aren’t in a rush’, said the bus driver as I got on. ‘I’ve got to wait another ten minutes at the next stop.’

Now, putting aside the issue that nobody, surely absolutely nobody, is getting a bus to leisurely dawdle away the day, this is just an everyday and very low-key example of how unreliable the city’s bus services are. And it cost £2.10 to travel one and a half miles.

If you are living in more rural areas, it can be a lottery as to whether an hourly service turns up at all.

And would you rely on them to get home from a late night shift or trip to the theatre if there was an alternative?

In 2015, major changes to dozens of bus services caused a city-wide outcry.

There were protests, campaigns and petitions – as well as a spoof video of Hitler finding out about the bus cuts doing the rounds. If I had £1 for every passenger who at that time harked back to how great Sheffield bus services used to be, I’d have been able to afford a yearly travel pass.

The fallout went on for weeks and following the changes, the number of complaints made about bus services soared. At the time you had to call up to complain and often faced a long wait.

Now, a new website has been launched which makes it much easier to complain with a few quick clicks.

It has been launched by Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh who hopes thousands will complain, perhaps from the bus stop, and that the data will help build pressure to take buses back into public ownership.

Manchester is doing so and there is increasing pressure on the South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis to do the same. I really hate to half quote Donald Trump but it is time to make our buses great again.