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Andy C

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  1. Pre Covid Carver Street was closed at night in the run up to Christmas and some weekends to facilitate a safe and pleasant nightlife in the area, however back then it only impacted taxis and cars. Buses did West Street - Leopold Street - Pinstone Street. Now with Leopold Street/Pinstone Street closed Carver Street is the "temporary" alternative and now that is also closed it has left buses with nowhere to go, meaning they have to bypass half the City Centre. The Carver Street nightlife closure is nothing new, so council planners making decisions about Pinstone Street/Leopold Street should have been taking this into account. The main timing point in the City Centre for most bus routes is Arundel Gate around the Crucible/Castle Square where the road layout was designed to buses were in a layby out the way, there was a bus lane for other buses to pass then another lane for all other traffic. This area is officially designated by SYPTE as "Arundel Gate bus Interchange". The council have now built boarding islands over the top of the layby so now if buses wait time there they are blocking traffic and therefore have to wait time a stop or two earlier if they arrive early, much to the frustration of the passengers. This is a change initiated by council planners so yes, in that respect they have decided where bus timing points are located - unless now social distancing is no longer required the bus stops are going to be restored to their previous condition. All these little initiatives in isolation are being done for the right reasons but council planners just don't seem to have the mentality to see the bigger picture and include measures to ensure knock on effects are not negative as part of the same project and timescales, this approach is proving very disruptive and damaging to the quality of the City Centre's public transport offering. There are proposals that have been out to consultation this year to remodel both Arundel Gate and Rockingham Street that will include bus facilities that replace the closed ones on Pinstone Street and Leopold Street. They aren't likely to see reality for a year or so yet, perhaps Pinstone Street and Leopold Street should be reopened to buses until the alternative is ready? Meanwhile other related changes such as reversing the one way direction of Westfield Terrace so traffic is leaving rather than entering by West Street tram stop which is downright dangerous, council planners seem deaf to any criticism on such things, as long as their individual little objective has been achieved.
  2. latest on what is happening there: https://sheffnews.com/news/temporary-road-closure-burgess-street
  3. I'm afraid you are probably bang on there. There is a project to provide permanent replacement bus facilities. Went out to public consultation a year after the road and stops were closed and as far as I can see the project is currently at the stage of awaiting planning permission! https://sheffnews.com/news/plans-submitted-for-new-pocket-park-in-the-heart-of-sheffield
  4. It really isn't. This is set to a back drop of Labour and Green politicians constantly telling everyone how bad the buses are (putting people off using them in the process) but how much better they would be if only the public sector ran them instead of private companies, however if you look what is ACTUALLY wrong with the passenger experience most of the problems are with areas the public sector is already responsible for and doing badly. There is too much of a blinkered, departmentalised approach at public sector organisations including the council and SYPTE where there is no joined up bigger picture thinking with projects including regenerating the City Centre. In the case of closing Pinstone Street/ Leopold Street to traffic and closing Carver Street on Friday and Saturday nights little thought has been given to what happens to the bus services when those roads are closed. That's someone else's problem. Some people have made the issue about being dropped off close to destination for reasons of mobility, for me it is all about the quality of the public transport experience, about making using buses and trams to visit the City Centre attractive. That isn't entirely about location, its also about there being a shelter providing cover in bad weather, having a seat if there's a little bit of a wait until the bus is due, having live electronic timetable information to reassure you a bus is coming, feeling safe whilst waiting and being able to rely on the bus stop being where you expected it to be. We had those things at the stops on Pinstone Street/Leopold Street. The replacement stops are just a pole and bus stop sign planted on the pavement in a dodgy part of town. After a year and a half it can no longer be argued that they are temporary. The private bus companies can supply nice shiny new or refurbished buses with comfy seats, phone chargers, next stop displays and the rest. They can run timetables where the advertised journey time is long enough to be reliable. They can charge reasonable fares. However if the council and SYPTE does not provide the road, bus stops and public information that is all rather pointless.
  5. I get very frustrated how the council, councillors, many MPs and journalists locally simply don't get it. Clive Betts report into buses illustrated the problem with the council taking no interest in public transport and batting any responsibility onto SYPTE. I would hope the Pinstone Street report may make some similar observations. The big issue for me is the council simply aren't taking a bigger picture approach with their plans for the City Centre and aren't incorporating the needs to facilitate and encourage the use of public transport as part of the same initiatives and projects. A very recent example is the closure of the main bus stops for Hillsborough bound services on Angel Street with no warning to bus operators or passengers to allow for work on the Grey to Green Project. The council have now started closing Carver Street on Friday and Saturday nights so buses that are diverted that way due to the Leopold Street/Pinstone Street closure cannot go that way either and now have to go round the ring road from the University to Eyre Street, completely missing out a chunk of the City Centre. Westfield Terrace has had its one way direction reversed creating a dangerous situation now with traffic trying to pull out at West Street tram stop. The trams appear to have lost their priority at traffic lights too. As for Pinstone Street/Leopold Street, this was the flagship bus stop facility in one direction for a number of key routes. Those bus stops are in a key City Centre location where people wanted to be, they had nice shelters with seating and passenger information systems, they were well lit, covered by CCTV and on wide pavements. This all sits there abandoned while passengers now have to use temporary stops either on Arundel Gate or Rockingham Street - unpleasant locations with no facilities where people feel unsafe waiting for their bus and in the case of Arundel Gate often surrounded by alcoholics, druggies and beggars whilst at Rockingham Street you are stood on a dodgy back street between a pay & display car park and a building site. I'm not someone against change. The proposals for a beautiful public space extending from the Peace Gardens across Pinstone street looks great - but we should be encouraging use of public transport and making it attractive, not downgrading the experience and putting people off. Proper replacement bus facilities should have been provided and ready around the same time that Pinstone Street and Leopold Street was closed. OK I accept the initial closure had to be rushed to allow shops to reopen with social distancing but a year and a half has passed now and all we can see is proposals for redesigning Arundel Gate and Rockingham Street with some bus stops and bus lanes at some non specific date in the future as part of a separate project. And so the MPs, councillors and local journalists keep telling everyone very loudly that bus services are bad and if only the public sector ran them they would be so much better... yet all these problems buses are facing seem to be caused by the public sector who refuse to listen and improve..
  6. A couple of new places opened this week - Social bar on Snig Hill (attached to the little art gallery, bar open midday to 9pm Wed-Sat) and Perch on Garden Street (behind Butlers Balti) which is attached to Dead Parrot Brewery.
  7. The funding is available here and now and the Magna station is part of a wider package of improvements around Meadowhall/Tinsley/Rotherham, it is something local politicians have been calling for and part of the wider long term transport network aspirations of the City Region Mayor. The future of the tram is only up in the air in the sense of who will have a contract to operate it and how much funding can be obtained to renew the infrastructure of the original lines in Sheffield, it is unlikely the Magna stop will be built then the system shut down!
  8. A load of £1 train tickets have been released by Northern to buy online at https://www.northernrailway.co.uk/sale for travel between 6 September 2021 and 22 October 2021. Tickets are for travel on specific trains and the numbers available are limited, once the quotas sell out the offer ends and they are apparently being snapped up quickly. LNER (nearest station Doncaster) also have an online seat sale with some quite affordable advance booking deals for trains to places like Edinburgh, Newcastle and London. Sale ends 9am on 1st September. Travel is available between 6 September and 15 October 2021. Again limited number of cheap tickets are available and once they've gone they've gone. https://www.lner.co.uk/tickets-savings/savings-rewards/special-offers/travel-savings/summer-seat-sale/ Flixbus have launched a new UK coach network with various destinations served from Meadowhall Interchange (such as Newcastle, London, Birmingham and Bristol) plus a couple of coaches a day from Sheffield Interchange to London Victoria. Fares are currently cheap with £3.99 singles (plus booking fee) seemingly widely available. Bookings are online at https://www.flixbus.co.uk/
  9. Most operators have suffered with driver availability in recent months to be fair, basically due to NHS Test & Trace pinging them to stay home and self isolate at short notice.
  10. The Tram Train trial is complete. There have been learning points noted and these will advise other Tram Train schemes such as the one going ahead in the Cardiff Valleys. Stagecoach have agreed to keep running the service until the end of their concession. Generally feedback from passengers have been positive and the City Region Mayor has ambitions to expand the Tram Train network to run beyond Parkgate to Doncaster Airport along with a few other lines, Stocksbridge is a potential destination for example. There is also the possibility of replacing some Northern local trains with Tram Trains where there is a demand for an increased frequency but not the capacity at Sheffield Station to handle it. As noted, there are already plans to invest in the current service in the form of a new station with park & ride facility at Magna along with enhancements to the park & ride facility at Parkgate, both of which have been going through public consultation. There has already been improvements to the evening service Monday to Saturday with Tram Train now running every half hour until midnight although with Covid hitting hospitality, entertainment venues and major events it has yet to see full demand for travel to nights out. Christmas shopping may be another time that the Tram Train could prove popular providing services at Parkgate retail park and Meadowhall Shopping Centre that avoid the traffic congestion that builds up on the roads. In terms of the future of the tramway, the current contract with Stagecoach was deliberately timed to conclude at the point the system needs renewing. Stagecoach gave the trams a mid life refurbishment, however the time is coming to look at replacement. The overhead electrics are also ready for renewal and there is still some track that will be due for replacement. The system is owned by SYPTE, the public sector local transport authority. The speculation (and it is nothing more) is that SYPTE aren't likely to let another commercial concession until the fleet and infrastructure is renewed which would suggest two options - either they take it in house or put a contract out to tender for a company to run the service on behalf of SYPTE (where SYPTE specify the timetable and fares, keep the revenue and pay the bills but someone else looks after the day to day operations). That could be Stagecoach or it could be someone else with suitable experience of running a rail system. Anyway, if you haven't used Tram Train and fancy giving it a go, it runs every half hour from Sheffield City Centre (Cathedral) via Sheffield Arena, Meadowhall South, Rotherham Central station to Parkgate. Monday to Saturday the first departure is 05:27 and the last departure is 23:27 whilst on Sunday it runs from 08:30 to 20:30. End to end journey time is 27 minutes. An all day ticket for the Tram and Tram Train is currently £4.40 and there are also various ticket options that combine tram and bus too. You can read more at https://www.stagecoachbus.com/supertram/tram-train
  11. The London-Birmingham section is already under construction and the Birmingham-Manchester section is due to get the go ahead any time soon. On the other hand the Birmingham-Leeds leg appears to have been postponed if not cancelled. The government is due to publish a report later this year regarding investment in the rail network around the East Midlands, Yorkshire and North East and they are likely to throw a few crumbs from the table our way but it feels like this is the first big cut in government spending on transport. HS2 eastern leg building a new main line from Birmingham to Leeds would have created valuable extra capacity - the Cross Country trains could run on the new high speed line as well as Leeds-London services freeing up capacity on the existing lines for more regional trains and freight - and it is unlikely we are going to see anything near that benefit with any investment that does happen. I wouldn't be surprised to actually see service cuts and fares increases as the government claws back money spent on Covid funding with any investment in electrification requiring a business case of lowering operating costs.
  12. The main routes to Stannington are the 81/82, operated by First, from Ecclesall Road, the City Centre and Hillsborough. They follow the same routes most of the way but then serve different parts of Stannington. In the City Centre they stop around the Moor, on Arundel Gate (Crucible theatre) and Angel Street/Snig Hill (below Castle Square tram stop). There is also the Powell's bus 61/62. This is the local rural bus that runs a loop once an hour from Hillsborough Interchange up to Bradfield. The Travel South Yorkshire website has downloadable network maps and timetables: Map: https://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/en-gb/timetabledetails/8f40d92f-7b64-4d5e-bc3c-26d9ac211e71 Timetables: https://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/en-gb/journeyplanning/timetable-search The independent bus times website is quite useful if you want to click on a specific stop to see what buses go from there and you can also use it to track buses live on a map: https://bustimes.org/localities/stannington-sheffield Travelmaster provide a range of tickets that offer unlimited travel on all buses, regardless of operator. For travel within Sheffield the CityWide pass they offer is a good one, offering all buses and trams - From Stannington as well as the direct First bus into town you can use it to get the Powells bus down to Hillsborough and jump on a tram, offering a bit of flexibility. https://www.sytravelmaster.com/
  13. I generally find Uber is good from the City Centre but often harder to get one when out in the suburbs. When surge pricing isn't in force they are the cheapest option. Generally I try Uber first, if there are no cars or surge pricing is in operation I then try City Taxis. If no City Taxis available then I try Network (particularly in S8/S17/S18). In the City Centre if all fail then its find a black cab and make sure I have some cash!
  14. For a passenger travelling between Sheffield and Rotherham the tram DayRider at £4.40 and Silver DayRider at £4.90 is still cheaper than the discounted South Yorkshire Connect at £5.30, at the end of the day you need to ask for the best ticket for the journeys you are planning on making.
  15. Travelmaster ticket offer now on the Travelmaster website - https://www.sytravelmaster.com/summersale
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