BUS SOS: New bus charter launched by council

A new bus charter has been launched by frustrated council chiefs after a barrage of complaints about unreliable and cancelled services.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 6th September 2019, 4:00 pm
Coun Bob Johnson

It will collate complaints against both First and Stagecoach bus companies and pass them to Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.

Passengers from across Sheffield lobbied councillors about poor services with the 78/79 in Totley, 56 in Gleadless and 135 In High Green. Three petitions signed by more than 600 people were handed in.

Also of particular concern was the 31 service in Upperthorpe and Walkley which people said was cancelled completely without warning.

Coun Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and a Hillsborough councillor, said he only found out the route had been cut when a driver told him.

“This is like Groundhog Day,” he said in response to repeated complaints at a full council meeting. “Every service in every area is affected by cuts.

“I share all of your frustrations. These cuts are just not good enough, they are purely commercial cuts and there is no interaction with any members whatsoever. I was made aware of the cut to the 31 service, which runs through my ward, by the driver. That’s no partnership.

“I have made my opposition to these cuts well known both with the SYPTE and the managing directors of First and Stagecoach.

“We never maintained that the bus partnership was perfect but at that time, when we signed it back in 2012, it was the only way that we could improve the interconnecting services between our cities but some of the companies are just not delivering.

“It’s unacceptable for the council to only hear of cuts through the unions and passengers.

“I want to see Sheffield bus services that we can be proud of, that’s why I am announcing a new charter to supplement what we have. I don’t think pulling out of the bus partnership entirely is the right thing to do.

“There is a bus review taking place and I hope that moves us towards a franchise model Ultimately that decision sits with the Sheffield City Regional Mayor.

“We need to put something in place, we cannot continue to manage this decline. I won’t be happy until we have public services back into public ownership.”