Monday, 25 April 2016

Partnership Bonny in Yorkshire's Donny? [1]

Passenger Benefits or Profitable Bonus?
The Sprotbrough area, and almost all of the land around it, was owned by the FitzWilliam family for many years. Sir John Fitzwilliam erected a cross next to the church during the reign of Henry V of England. Into the cross were carved these lines: 

Whoso is hungry and lists to eat,
Let him come to Sprotburgh for his meat,
And for a night and for a day,
His horse shall have both corne and hay,
And no man shall ask him when he goeth away.

Sprotborough had a railway station which opened by the Hull Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company in December 1894. Thius was a rather obscure single track line from nowhere much to nowhere much.
Its success at attracting passengers can be measured by the fact the it closed in 1903. Amazingly the station building and stationmaster's house (both in private hands) still stand
For more info visit the Disused Station site (here)

he old village still remains although now surrounded by more modern development. The view of the church in 1960 ...
... is still much the same today. The shop is now a Spar but the bus stop is still there hidden behind the modern street lamp.
A real person awaits a bus to Doncaster!

In 1985, a few months before deregulation brought chaos to many of our towns and cities, buses to Sprotbrough were in the hands of Yorkshire Traction, a former BET company, by then part of National Bus.

Service 149 was the "local" route running to the village only ...
... joined by longer distance 194 and 294 striding across the former coalfields to Mexborough. Services were co-ordinate to provide a twenty minute headway.

Roll forward to 2011 and things have changed. First Bus, successors to Doncaster Corporation are running route 49 every 15 minutes ...
... in competition with Stagecoach's 225.
A long distance 219 also calls every hour.
For a while, then Sprotbrough enjoyed nine buses an hour.In May of that year, First had made aggressive inroads into Uncle Brian's territory by "attacking" the Rotherham to Mexborough and Barnsley corridor, The Doncaster to Scawsby local route and by returning to Sprotbrough.

Pausing to enjoy a jar at the Ivanhoe Inn (here in 1955) ...
... we notice the increase in motor cars ...
... and a much reduced bus service from the heady days of 2011.
First's 49 is now running every 30 minutes but the former hourly 219 is now ...
... every 30 minutes. So in 2016 Sprotbrough's service has dropped from nine buses and hour to four. Given that nine buses an hour was just plain daft, today's four seems more sensible.
The 319, incidentally, is an occasional service to the delightful village of Cadeby.
So, tarran-tara, along comes the Doncaster Bus Partnership ...
... with the PTE's and operators' enthusiastic offers of better things to come. The local press forecasst cuts, but reported that this would bring benefits.

Oh, yeah?

It was claimed that Doncaster will be ‘left behind’ if a partnership approach is was not adopted. Sheffield and Rotherham already have a similar arrangement in place.

Steve Shannon, strategic infrastructure manager at Doncaster Council said: “Doncaster’s bus network has suffered over the past few years with passenger numbers going down. We’ve seen in Rotherham and Sheffield that already have partnerships are bucking that trend and now have an increase in patronage.

“There are many benefits to being in a partnership and one is the ability to tap into funds that can improve the quality of the buses and bid for funds directly from government.”

So what benefits do we have for the residents of Sprotbrough via the Partnership, just like in Sheffield and Rotherham?
You would have searched in vain for the 49 on the "consultation" map because its fate is sealed in an innocuous note against the existing 219 and 219A which are, effectively, unchanged.

Service 219/219a will operate to Sprotbrough. Service 49 will no longer operate.
The map shows the 319 (to Cadeby) unaltered ...
... but the on-line timetable list suggests that one 219 in each direction will divert to provide a Monday to Friday shopping link into Doncaster. There is no 319 from 15th May, the due date for implementation of the grand plan.

Thus we see the citizens of Sprotbrough responding enthusuastically to the benefits of the Doncaster Bus Partnership.

 Next Doncaster (etc) blog : Tuesday 26th April 

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