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South Yorkshire Bus Service Needs Improvement

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1 hour ago, busdriver1 said:

Sorry but what planet are you on? Sheffielders want brand new buses, every 3 minutes with polite staff that will not object to being insulted and abused and a maximum 10p fare. AND a bus to every stop in the county from their front door. Everything else is just profiteering and needs stamping out

Very firmly on the same page as you, even as a regular bus user.

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5 hours ago, Resident said:

Very firmly on the same page as you, even as a regular bus user.

Seconded!

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10 hours ago, busdriver1 said:

Sorry but what planet are you on? Sheffielders want brand new buses, every 3 minutes with polite staff that will not object to being insulted and abused and a maximum 10p fare. AND a bus to every stop in the county from their front door. Everything else is just profiteering and needs stamping out

Perhaps we deserve it, having suffered many years of poor service including late / delayed / missing services that we’ve been paying through the nose for*
 

*Disclaimer: 

The situation may have improved since I last took the bus 10 years ago.

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2 hours ago, The Joker said:

Perhaps we deserve it, having suffered many years of poor service including late / delayed / missing services that we’ve been paying through the nose for*
 

*Disclaimer: 

The situation may have improved since I last took the bus 10 years ago.

Sheffield has some of the lowest fares in the country so hardly paying through the nose for them. As for the delays etc, talk to SCC who have on more than one occasion entered into agreements to ease the traffic problems for bus operators and on exactly the same number of occasions failed, and in some cases made things worse. Given the way staff are treated and the companies are treated I would say you have a better service than you deserve. i.e. you have a service at all.  

From the initial de-regulatioon of buses in 1986 SCC and SYPTE have made it their goal to make the bus system less than useless in order to further their political aims of having control again despite them making a hash of it last time.

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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...

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7 minutes ago, Andy C said:

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...

Punctuality can also be improved by passengers by the simple act of actually being prepared to board the bus. Fare/passes out ready before they're stood by the driver's cab.  Far too many times I've been waiting at a bus stop and people have left it till they've stepped on the vehicle to then rummage around their pockets/handbags for their money or smartcard or in some cases opening the app on their phone then faffing purchasing the ticket via the app whilst the bus sits there losing time. 

Evening services are always going to lose money and as you say, Sheffielders are tighter than a duck bottom, so making money in the daytime to cover the loss isn't easy. I think most Sheffielders would have a cardiac arrest if they used a bus in some counties. For instance, I took a 30min journey in Cumbria and for a single it was over 7 quid. 

Bus Stops, well where do I start? There are a great number of sheltered stop that used to be lit but have been turned off. The only ones that seem to be lit these days are the ones that have the solar panel roofs but they only work if there's been enough daylight. 

IMO all bus stops should be lit, by mains, currently the only ones that are lit are the ones handed over to Alight Media for the ad boards. To save power they could employ something like a PIR sensor to activate the lights & displays. It'd also help drivers as an unlit stop would show that no-one is waiting. 

One thing I've never understood is the PTE's choice of colour, particularly when it's dark. Which fool chose midnight blue? It must be almost impossible for a driver to see a single pole in the dark at distance in that colour at night.

Surely a dayglo colour infused with some retroreflective material would be better?

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54 minutes ago, Andy C said:

 

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!

 

 

It is all very well having bus lanes but if you have a look along Penistone Road there are very few buses that might lead one to argue that better choices could be made

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27 minutes ago, BigAl1 said:

It is all very well having bus lanes but if you have a look along Penistone Road there are very few buses that might lead one to argue that better choices could be made

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.

Edited by Andy C

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12 minutes ago, Andy C said:

 

 

There is a point here about local authorities looking at the bigger picture and losing the "different department mate" mentality. 

 

 

Dream on my friend.

 

I am still laughing at the introduction of cycle lanes during the onset of covid when there were very few cars on the road to knock the cyclists off and then when the cars returned they got rid of the cycle lanes because there were not enough cyclists to knock down - well they may not have said exactly that but you get the point

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33 minutes ago, BigAl1 said:

Dream on my friend.

 

I am still laughing at the introduction of cycle lanes during the onset of covid when there were very few cars on the road to knock the cyclists off and then when the cars returned they got rid of the cycle lanes because there were not enough cyclists to knock down - well they may not have said exactly that but you get the point

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.

Edited by Andy C

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An accurate tracking app would be useful. Particularly out in the sticks where we get a bus every half hour or less, if the bus turns up that is. 

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1 hour ago, mickf said:

An accurate tracking app would be useful. Particularly out in the sticks where we get a bus every half hour or less, if the bus turns up that is. 

https://bustimes.org/districts/263 is pretty good, has a map showing the location of all buses. Its usually very accurate in my experience.

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