Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Sheffield's Secret Service (2) ...

... Are Lessons Ever Learned?
Night buses returned to Sheffield in November 2010 with a surprise announcement by T M Travel as quoted here in an on-line press article.
This event took place in the very early days of fbb's blogging career but the old man was quick to spot some deficiencies in the publicity for these innovative services. From T M Travel there wasn't any!
And, as usual, Travel South Yorkshire messed it up completely with inaccurate route descriptions and howlers on the printed leaflets.
Apparently the lads in PTE Towers did not know the difference between Ecclesall (west of the city centre) and Ecclesfield, en route to Chapeltown.

N1, N2 and N3 disappeared in early 2011.

In 2012 the white knight Stagecoach rode in with three all night services on their service 25 to Lowedges, 88 cross-city Bents Green to Chapeltown and cross-city on the 52 between Hillsborough, Crookes and Woodhouse.

Initially the latter ran every 30 minutes throughout the night (again weekends only). fbb is grateful to Sheffield correspondent Roy for smartly sending off a couple of snaps. Here is a 52 on West Street ...
... loading for Woodhouse and here is a 25 ...
... at Woodseats en route to Low Edges. Note also the crowds boarding and riding respectively.

Sadly, fbb does not have a service 52 leaflet but well remembers its appalling quality.

It implied, for example, that the Night 52s went a different way through the city from the daytime service. They didn't - it was PTE incompetence aided by some strange registrations from Stagecoach that led to much confusion and few passengers.

There were local reports of posters being torn down in the clubs and pubs (by taxi firms, allegedly) but loadings were generally poor, matching the poor availability of understandable publicity.

There were soon service cutbacks followed by extinction less than a year later in 2013.
Farewell to another noble but failed experiment.

So what excitement will be revealed this coming Saturday night? Saying "revealed" is perhaps rather over the top. This appeared in the on-line version of the local rag.
From March 12, First Buses will be running two late night services in the early hours of Sunday morning. The 952 service will run from the city centre, picking up outside the Students’ Union and running to Endcliffe, Crookes, and Hillsborough. There will be a number of drop-off points along the way including Brocco Bank, Endcliffe Vale Road, Crookes Road and Walkley Lane. The service will pick up outside the Students’ Union at 2.35am and 3.35am and normal fares will apply with tickets at £1. Single and weekly/term tickets already purchased will also be valid.

The scheme was proposed to Sheffield City Council and First buses by Students’ Union president Dom Trendall ...
... with the aim of providing a safe, cheap, and easy way for students to get home after a night out.

Other on-line articles imply that there is printed publicity ...
... with the Students' Union claiming most of the credit.
First Bus in Sheffield are, as always, effusive in their PR for this new initiative ...
... clearly as a result of their latest national on-line promotion.
fbb wonders what the App says.
Now there's a surprise!
Nothing numbered beyond 775.

And the PTE, aka Travel South Yorkshire?
Surprise yet again - NOT!

And a map showing which way the 952 goes? Don't be silly!

So it would appear that, publicity-wise at least, these night runs are on the same self-destructive route as T M Travel and Stagecoach before.

That's the trouble with passengers; they make running buses so difficult.

But there is hope. The 952 has been available on GoTimetable Sheffield since Friday last ...
... with a proper timetable ...
... and a useful map.
And if anyone wants to be picky, times from Sheffield Interchange Pond Street (0230, 0330) could not be squeezed on to the screen shot.


And a PS for First Bus management; although you are trying to keep this service secret, you can find it on the journey planner on your own App; but nowhere else.
But don't tell anyone and they will never find it! And don't tell them either that the 952 does not run via or stop at Brick Street in Crookes.
It is a "back street" cul-de-sac.

A couple of PS items:-

Yesterday's blog (read again) referred to the network of night buses operating in 1985. There was a 952 way beck then, but it ran eastwards to the Woodhouse end of the daytime 52; the westbound end was numbered 972.

Also in yesterday's blog were services to and via the Aquarius club in Chesterfield. Thanks to correspondent Peter we can reveal that the East Midland provision was more extensive than just the through bus from Sheffield to Shirebrook.
By connecting at the Aquarius "interchange" (did someone blow a whistle at 0210?), you could get to Chesterfield's outer suburbs and as far as Heath, and further afield to such delights as Retford and Worksop.

 Next West Midlands blog : Wednesday 8th April 


  1. Brick Street is the name of a stop on Crookes Road. It may be 'wrong' but at least it is consistent, being shown on the shelter, on Google maps and in journey planners.

  2. Its name dates from a time when Brick Street emerged on Crookes. It is now unnecesarily confusing and should be made more helpful to the public.

    For most of its life the stop was known as Crookes School Road. A better name because School Road is visible!