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Andy C

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  1. With a bit of luck the driver situation should sort itself out once the Covid pandemic is over (whenever that might be!). The Enhanced bus partnership is important to get done as it is a requirement to unlock government building bus back better cash. Being public sector investment obviously there has to be big public consultation involved first... I'm cynical about a few things in it - Demand responsive bus services (what the consultants sell as Uber style buses) elsewhere in the country don't have a great track record, they seem to be a financial black hole that a load of subsidy gets shovelled into then when the money runs out they get scrapped and declared an unsuccessful "trial". Also investment in bus priority measures - this is so important to get the reliability and journey time but I'm not sure politically anyone has enough balls to push them through and say no to the motorists lobby. Those things aside I think it is generally a positive thing though as long as the council improve their mentality towards public transport and both support and understand the whole thing.
  2. Was it a Hulleys bus by any chance? They and TM Travel seem to have been having data issues for the last few weeks. If it was a Stagecoach bus running during the strike for a while those buses weren't in the electronic timetable due to the short notice planning so wouldn't have shown up on trackers. yep, pay Poundland prices but expect a Rolls Royce service!
  3. The Stagecoach and First apps have maps showing buses moving around, however I find the best one is the bustimes.org website. Click on a bus stop and it will show you scheduled times or click on map and it will show a map with buses moving around live.
  4. bustimes.org is an independent website that takes all its data from "BODS" - the bus industry open data service that all the English operators are now required to support. The live tracking data for all operators comes from the ticket machine, so as long as the driver is logged in/out of the ticket machine correctly and the machine has a mobile data connection then that tracking data will be feeding back accurately. The big transport groups like First and Stagecoach have invested huge sums of money in integrated back office facilities for timetables, ticketing etc and feed the tracking data directly to BODS, the smaller operators like TM Travel and Hulleys of Baslow without such resource rely on third parties to do it for them, usually their ticket machine supplier. Personally I like using live maps for bus tracking more than departure boards - I can see where it physically is and make my own mind up, rather than relying on a computer algorithm that calculates how many minutes away a bus is without taking into account traffic congestion, diversions, breakdowns or other such issues.
  5. There is an element of that, but it has always been the case that drivers move on to progress their careers into jobs that pay more or have more sociable hours. The reason it has been more of a problem now is that Covid-safe working practices has meant less new recruits can be trained up at a time to replace them. The biggest issue now however, like in many businesses across the country is staff off sick, self isolating with Covid. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Stagecoach Yorkshire bus strike in Sheffield is suspended and all bus routes resume from Thursday 13 January. Current timetables for all operators are on the Travel South Yorkshire website. Latest news from Stagecoach on their website.
  6. Strike is suspended from Thursday 13 January and current normal timetables resume. More info: https://www.stagecoachbus.com/service-updates/serviceupdatesarticle?SituationId=ID-23/11/2021-14:46:04:790
  7. Unfortunately that seemed to be driven by the desire to grab and spend government money rather than any specifically identified need or demand. The funding was a package intended to encourage more walking and cycling at a time when shops were about to reopen following lockdown. This would give more social distancing space in the streets for pedestrians whilst making cycling safer and easier would move some off public transport allowing capacity for social distancing on board. Unfortunately in this case many of the public transport users are travelling in much longer distances than a short cycle ride with many moving off buses into cars rather than onto bikes, additionally the inner ring road isn't necessarily the choice route for cyclists! I guess some credit is due for taking feedback on board and abolishing the widened cycle lane on the inner ring road / Shalesmoor but keeping the changes around Kelham Island - although they still aren't popular with some business owners and residents in the area. What is more frustrating is all the investment in longer term changes around the City Centre and Kelham Island seem to be slow moving - the temporary changes happened in Spring/Summer 2020, the consultations for the permanent changes concluded in early 2021 (https://connectingsheffield.commonplace.is/overview) and still nothing seems to be happening, in the meantime we have the situation with Pinstone Street/Leopold Street's flagship bus stop facilities laying abandoned on a closed road and the passengers still condemned to using temporary stops with no facilities in unpleasant locations.
  8. The "right time, right place" point is a fair one. Get the measures where and when the buses and trams need them. At the City Centre end of Penistone Road you are right, it doesn't have frequent bus services (just the 86 and H1) as many buses follow the tram route along Infirmary Road/Langsett Road. However they are joined by the more regular 7 and 8 at the end of Neepsend Lane and many more once you get past Hillsborough. There is a point here about local authorities looking at the bigger picture and losing the "different department mate" mentality. - should the buses to Hillsborough be diverted to run fast up Penistone Road using bus lanes as Infirmary/Langsett Road is catered for by the tram? - or should there be segregation of public transport using Infirmary/Langsett and other traffic using Penistone Road by making the former bus/tram only and remove the bus lanes on the latter? In general however, if you want buses to be reliable and have attractive journey times you need the priority measures like bus lanes and bus gates there and in operation at the times they are needed such as during the school run, when football is on, commuter times etc. They also need to be properly enforced, users of Abbeydale Road buses for example will be able to tell stories of cars parked in the bus lane at rush hour and on the rare occasion a council parking enforcement car puts in an appearance the offenders simply drive around the block and come back a couple of minutes later when the wardens are gone. In the meantime the buses have had to stop, hope a car in the next lane lets them pull out, sit in the traffic jam for a few minutes then pull back into the bus lane. The point is the journey time and reliability issues are not in the control of the bus companies - it is something the public sector organisations like Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority need to take responsibility for and improve. Politicians and local media also need educating on what the issues are, where they are, who is responsible for them and how they can be fixed, instead of repeating parrot fashion rubbish about how it would be better if only the public sector ran the buses.
  9. Covid related staff shortages and strikes aside the service isn't really that bad but there are areas that need improving. Sheffield people are notoriously tight which may explain the small number of fancy bars and designer clothes shops in town and the bus ticket prices reflect that. The most expensive single fares within Sheffield are between £2.50 and £3.20 - less than a Costa Coffee with regular travellers able to save on that with good value weekly and monthly unlimited travel passes available, including the range from Travelmaster that work on all bus operators with tram and train options also available. A 28 day CityWide bus & tram pass costs £65.60, that works out at £2.34 per day and this can be purchased online and loaded to a smart card. Prices of tickets last changed in January 2020 and have been frozen in price throughout the pandemic. Our local authorities work in partnership with the operators to provide impartial travel information via travelsouthyorkshire.com where you can download timetables and route maps for all services in Sheffield. They also provide timetable information at bus stops and supply real time open data to third party developers that operate useful websites and apps such as bustimes.org. Buses are mostly modern, low emission and well turned out. First have been putting their buses through refurbishment and repaint, the newer Stagecoach buses have features such as comfy faux leather seats, USB phone charging sockets and next stop announcements. The main routes run fairly frequently in the daytime and there are very few areas of the city with no bus or tram service close by. So what needs to improve? Punctuality, reliability and journey times - the issue is generally traffic congestion. This is something that council needs to invest in rather than operators with improvements to bus priority measures and better enforcement of existing measures. The council have attempted to make a start on this issue by proposing the bus lanes on Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road have extended hours, however there has been quite vocal opposition! Evening services and missing links - these are often buses that fall into the category of not being financially viable but nethertheless important to the social and economic needs of the communities they serve. Such services are ones local authorities would normally provide a subsidy for and put out to tender. Over recent years these have been the victim of public sector budget cuts. Bus stops - the local authority is responsible for bus stops. The best ones have a well lit shelter, seat, timetable information poster and electronic real time departure boards. The worst are just a flag on a lamp post. Those passengers that previously boarded buses by the Peace Gardens that the council have now banished to temporary stops on Arundel Gate or Rockingham Street will know all about this...
  10. This beer festival at Magna is back as a physical event for 2022 from 3-5 March. Opens from 6pm on Thursday/Friday and midday on Saturday. Details including advance tickets and volunteering opportunities online at https://www.magnarealale.uk/. You can get to Magna on First buses X1 and X10 from Sheffield City Centre, Meadowhall Interchange and Rotherham Interchange. Huge range of real ales on handpump plus world/craft beers, traditional ciders, gin, wine and prosecco. Live music from: The Everly Pregnant Brothers / Letz Zep / Fu Fughters / The Beatleg Bootles / The East Street Band / The Leathernecks / At The Arcade / Matilda Shakes / Floodhounds / The Easy Mornings / Towhead / The G Men Soul Band / Soul Battalion / The Basement / Funky Business / Papa Soul / The Magnetics
  11. whatpub.com offers a guide to pretty much every bar and pub although it is aimed more at the real ale drinker. There is also an article on the Sheffield CAMRA website listing pubs in the area with them all marked on a Google map at https://sheffield.camra.org.uk/2020/03/kelham-island-neepsend/. There is also a more commercial local website featuring independent bars, restaurants, shops etc in the area https://www.thisissheffield.com/kelham-island/ including a loyalty card discount scheme run in partnership with some of the featured local businesses. With Kelham Island, Neepsend and Shalesmoor merged into one big district it is spread out although there are a couple of key public transport corridors through the area: - Supertram (Blue/Yellow routes) - the tram stop at Shalesmoor is handy for Kelham Island and the tram stop at Infirmary Road is handy for the Neepsend area. - Buses 7 and 8 - runs through Bridgehouses and Neepsend stopping near the Harlequin, Riverside, Peddlers, Gardeners Rest/Cutlery Works and New Barrack Tavern. You can download a bus and tram network map at https://travelsouthyorkshire.com/en-gb/journeyplanning/public-transport-maps. I find it handy to get a bus or tram to the far end at Neepsend and work my way back towards town on foot, alternatively I'll walk down to Kelham from town and do a few pubs then get the tram back up the hill from Shalesmoor to West Street for late drinks - the last tram is gone midnight and even at that time runs every 15 mins.
  12. Last day for the X57 bus over the snake pass to Glossop and Manchester is this coming Sunday, 9th January. From Monday 10th January an improved timetable starts on the 257 bus (Sheffield-Broomhill-Crosspool-Derwent-Bamford-Hathersage-Bakewell) https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/transport-roads/public-transport/news-notices/bus-service-changes/forthcoming-changes-to-bus-services.aspx
  13. the bus gates don't operate during the afternoon school run which seems to be the biggest issue. Outside these times I imagine the issues on the 81/82 are probably more on the Ecclesall Road side of town. A few years ago First did split the route in the City Centre to improve reliability and there was uproar so the cross-city links were reinstated. The problem is Cathedral isn't where many of the passengers from the Halfway end want to be - a lot travel to University/hospitals area and of course most of Sheffield's shopping is now on the Moor and the West Street stop is the closest. In the evening a lot of people now go to the Kelham Island area to eat/drink and utilise the direct service to Shalesmoor.
  14. The problem is most of the improvements to the existing network that the government keep claiming as part of their new "integrated rail plan" are existing projects that have been reannounced and would have happened as well as HS2, which was to be a major investment in extra capacity on the rail network. Anyway, back to the topic of Don Valley Railway, this is the existing line which runs from Fox Valley retail park in Stocksbridge (and the steel works) through Deepcar, Neepsend and Bridgehouses, over the Wicker Arches, past Nunnery Square and on through Darnall and Woodhouse stations towards Lincoln. There is also a junction just after Woodhouse with a line to Chesterfield via Beighton, Killamarsh and Barrow Hill that is used principally by freight trains. There are studies currently funded to reopen both the Stocksbridge and Chesterfield lines. Trains from Chesterfield via Woodhouse could run into Sheffield Midland station although there isn't really the capacity available to accommodate them. There isn't a connection from the Stocksbridge direction (when that was the old Woodhead line trains served Sheffield Victoria. There is a suggestion of newly introduced passenger services on those lines being a tram-train service added to the Supertram network, a connection could be made between the main line railway and the tramway near Nunnery depot allowing services from both Chesterfield and Stocksbridge to run into Sheffield City Centre via the tramway. Will be interesting if anything comes of these proposals!
  15. The 81/82 does encounter a lot of delays and disruption on its cross city route, mainly traffic congestion at locations such as Hillsborough corner and Ecclesall Road where the bus priority measures don't apply all day which can particularly be a problem with gridlock during the afternoon school run. It can often also have problems with inconsiderately parked cars and unannounced roadworks in areas like Stannington and Millhouses. You can track the buses on a map at bustimes.org. Stannington does also have the hourly Powells bus 61/62 which runs on a loop between Hillsborough and Bradfield via Stannington, for those travelling from the parts of Stannington served by this bus it may be a more reliable - albeit less frequent - service that offers a connection at Hillsborough with trams and other buses into Sheffield City Centre. Timetables at travelsouthyorkshire.com. Tickets from the Travelmaster range include travel on buses of all operators with options that also include trams if required - see sytravelmaster.com.
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