Cuts to Sheffield’s bus network – which caused chaos for city passengers – saved £320,000.
The revelation came from a public meeting where councillors and bus chiefs discussed several petitions against the cuts which had been presented to Sheffield Council several months ago.
GreenCoun Rob Murphy said at the meeting the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive had saved £320,000 from the cuts.
Problems first arose after city bus services were changed on November 1 last year. Dozens of routes were axed, rescheduled, reduced or renumbered, creating long queues at stops and leaving passengers confused.
Thousands signed a petition calling for the cuts to be reversed and Sheffield Council held a debate. A number of timetables were subsequently revised. Greenhill mum, Joanne Lumley, presented a 12,000 strong petition and wasn’t happy with the outcome of the meeting last Wednesday.
She said afterwards: “We didn’t get clear answers. It was like they said, ‘Thank you for the petition but we’re not going to do anything about it.’
“It’s like the bus companies had already made up their minds. I don’t think they realise the massive impact it’s had on people who solely rely on the buses.
“The saving that’s been quoted is completely ridiculous. I know there needed to be changes, but all this trouble for the sake of £300,000 is not on. It’s caused the bus companies more hassle than it has been worth along with the consultation spend.”
Lib Dem Coun Ian Auckland proposed a motion that would see potential cuts in the future to Sheffield’s bus network stopped. It was rejected. After the meeting, Coun Auckland said: “Labour have said they won’t reverse the cuts and now they are refusing to rule out further cuts to the bus service. After the chaos caused by the cuts imposed, they should be reassuring people the same won’t happen again.”
Coun Terry Fox, cabinet member for transport said: “I asked the bus companies to take urgent action in response to the complaints received following the changes.
“People voiced their concerns and I recognise that the bus operators have made some improvements to the services and increased bus numbers and capacity. However, we will continue to work together and monitor performance closely to ensure the level of services meets the standards people demand and the points raised at the meeting will be reviewed by the Transport Committee in the summer.”