Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Few Sheffield Snippets

The City Council is on the Job!

Snippets from the local press ...

Controversial Sheffield bus cuts which caused weeks of frustration have been raised with the Transport Minister.

Sheffield Council has now confirmed a letter about an online petition calling for the cuts to be reversed – which has been signed by 12,555 people – went to MP Patrick McLoughlin late last year after a town hall debate.

As things stand, at the moment, Sheffield City Council can do very little about bus services. They are commercial operations outside of any legal interference by any political body. Would Sheffield City Council write to the government about what food is stocked in Tesco? They might, but to no avail.

Of course this may well change in the future.

One thing is absolutely certain. The changes will not, in general, be reversed. Their purpose was to cut costs and (hopefully) increase profits. (Create some profits?)

Widespread changes to city buses, brought in by the Sheffield Bus Partnership from November last year, caused long queues, delays and confusion for passengers.

fbb's correspondents in the city suggest that things have, indeed, settled down. The change was appallingly badly handled by all parties; subsequent changes have alse been badly publicsed. But Sheffielders are a resilient lot and most folk get used to things very quickly.

The letter requested that the problems be considered as part of the upcoming Buses Bill, which could provide the option for combined authority areas with directly-elected mayors to be responsible for the running of buses. 

A proposed devolution deal for the Sheffield City Region includes creating a directly elected mayor.

The council is also part of the bus partnership.

So one of the partners that  created the changes doesn't like the changes it created? Such are the vacillating delights of politics!

Coun Tony Downing, the council’s cabinet assistant for environment and transport, said: “We were very sympathetic to the petitioners’ issues about the revised bus services in the city. 

“I can confirm that a letter was sent to the Minister for Transport on December 1 – detailing the content of the petition and requesting for the matter to be considered as part of the forthcoming Buses Bill in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

“A letter was also sent to the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive with details of the six bus petitions discussed at council.

“Bus services are to be discussed at a meeting of the council’s economic and environmental wellbeing scrutiny committee in March and petitioners will be welcome.”

Bus operator chiefs are to come under scrutiny at a different meeting in February.

The population of greater Sheffield affected by the "Partnership" is about 600,000. A petition by 12,555 people represents 2% of the population. Deduct from this total those whose service has been improved in some way and, considering the size of the change it "ain't that bad".

More timetable changes are due at the end of February, which will include, fbb understand, some work on the busy "joint" cross-city routes.

First Formally Flaunts

The new buses for the X78 route (Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster) have been appearing since November last year. 
Joy Devine, Operations Manager, First Rotherham; Cllr Denise Lelliott, Rotherham Council?s Advisory Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy; Chris Roberts, Principal Public Transport Manager, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive are doing the soundbite tape cutting thing in Rtherham a few days ago.

Joy and Chris are obediently clutching their "devices" to celebrate free wifi on board. It's just a pity we can't see ALL of the bus.
Didn't someone say they were going to get a brand name?

T M Travel "App"

Obviously fbb did not "get" the sophistication of the App and was taken to task by Phil Stockley, boss of T M Travel, for his lack of electronic dexterity and comprehension.
Another comment writer (using the sobriquet "Fat Transport bloke"?)  was equally enthusiastic.
So fbb extends an appeal for help. Please make use of the bus tracking facility for Sheffield's service 6 ...
..and send your comments and conclusions to

Please Explain

Talking of poor publicity. Travel South Yorkshire (the publicity guise of the South Yorkshire PTE) no longer provides and printed material, You are invited to download leaflets. fbb came across this problem on service 31/31A operated Monday to Saturday daytimes by Sheffield Community Transport and in the evenings and on Sundays by Stagecoach.

So the challenge is to explain to the travelling public the difference between the S C T service 31 journeys ...
... and the Stagecoach service 31 journeys.
To help, here is the PTE maps for the S C T route ...
... and the PTE map for the Stagecoach route.
Click on the map(s) to enlarge them.

Answers to the email address as above! The terminus point (Flat Street or Interchange) is NOT part of the problem.

 Next bus blog : Friday 15th January 


  1. Andrew Kleissner14 January 2016 at 08:53

    I don't know if his is the answer ... but I looked at the SCT website which has a full timetable of the joint service. SCT seems to run the core service while Stagecoach does evenings and weekends. What is confusing are the shenanigans around Hillsborough - Stagecoach in the evenings omits bits of the route and it's different again at weekends, yet it still is numbered 31. As the two daytime variants are - helpfully - 31 and 31a, perhaps the others could be 31b or even c?? Infrequent users won't know what's going on, especially if they have little access to information (?full timetables on bus stops, anyone?)

  2. TM Travel's app is all very well (well, it may be - I haven't tried to use it) but it would be so much better if Mr Stockley could tackle the basics first. On 1 November TM began operation of a much-expanded service 6 in Sheffield, using a fleet of pretty (pretty horrible?) pink/purple/puce/magenta (I'm not sure which) Optare Solos. I have repeatedly attempted to acquire a timetable for the service but have never seen one, either on the buses or in the Travel Information Centres in Sheffield Interchange and at Arundel Gate. The 'partnership' may have produced some timetables, but it seems neither they nor the operator have ever produced anything for service 6. Counter staff in the TICs usual say 'the operator hasn't provided any' rather than 'we've stopped producing them', but invariably say they can be accessed on-line. Of course they can, by those who have access to the technology, which certainly isn't all users of service 6, but home-printing never produces anything as portable as a compact leaflet which can easily be carried around. And another thing - weren't those colourful Solos intended to be branded for service 6? More then two months on they continue without branding or even fleetnames, giving the impression that they belong to yet another (anonymous) operator.

    1. I can't disagree. The branding project has gone extremely badly. There are reasons for that, but they're irrelevant to the customer so I won't bore you with them here. But it should be complete in the next week or two. Meanwhile there have been printed timetables available but we're currently having a fresh print run done so again they should be out in a few days. TM has never invested heavily in printed material in the past but we're gradually putting that right.

    2. Good news. I will look out for the promised improvements, including a timetable leaflet for the 6.