Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Grand Tour (seven)

The Way To Waverley - No Way!
Another Sheffield route which failed to live up to its hype was the A1. Announced many years ago as the first of a new style of high quality bus service linking "new areas of exciting employment and opportunity", the A1 was the first bus to serve the developing Sheffield City Airport.

When fbb travelled on it several years ago it was operated by Veolia, then in expansionist mode grabbing every bit of tendered work they could find all over the UK.
As well as the airport (closed in 2008) the A1 served the developing district of Waverley. It ran from Sheffield via the rather uninspiring Parkway Industrial Estate ...
... then via the Sheffield Parkway fast (?) road to the Airport.
On the way it did a double run to "Waverley" which was a roundabout in the middle of nowhere in particular.
From the airport, the route served Meadowhell and on to Rotherham.
It ran half  hourly Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sundays, but, as it served a lot of empty space plus industrial warehousing sites, it carried very few passengers outside of shift times.
The route is now in the hands of T M Travel ...
... and has recently been curtailed to operated between Meadowhall and Waverley (roundabout) only ...
... with no evening or Sunday service; not quite the "superbus" service that was promised at the beginning.

But what is Waverley?
Remember the "Battle of Orgreave" where war was waged between the Police and Arthur Scargill's striking miners.
Between there and Catcliffe were a few dilapidated farms and the detritus of the mining industry.
The road (Highfield Lane) was served by Sheffield Joint Omnibus Committee service 21 to Swallownest via Treeton.

First the road was diverted and lakes were created to improve drainage. The land that formed High Field farm was then the basis for the Waverley housing area.
The former City Airport is off the map, top left. The original double run to "Waverley" turned at the roundabout by the "66" of B6066.

A new Highfield Lane is part of the estate.
Over the years additional services have been provided running through to Sheffield via the B6066, Orgreave and Handsworth. A relatively recent development has been to divert the bus routes away from he B6066 and through the estate itself.
The PTE's map is crude and not very accurate but it shows routes 72, 73 and 74 as serving Lescar Road rather than the full length pf the B6066 Highfield Spring; but the detail is woolly in the estate itself. Here are the "roads served" for ...

Service 72
Catcliffe, Poplar Way, Waverley, High Field Spring, Handsworth, Orgreave Lane, Handsworth Road

Service 73
Catcliffe, Main Street, Sheffield Lane, Poplar Way, Waverley, High Field Spring, Handsworth, Orgreave Lane, Handsworth Road, Richmond.

Service 74
Catcliffe, Rotherham Road, Main Street, Sheffield Lane, Poplar Way, Waverley, High Field Spring, Handsworth, Orgreave Lane, Handsworth Road

... i.e. thee different and confusing versions of the same route. (High Field Spring should come before Waverley and not after; Handsworth should come after Orgreave Lane and not before!)

Or are they the same route?

Of course, Waverley is a developing area and Google Streetwiew's view may be from sometime in the past, but you would not get a bus along Lescar Road at its most recent visit; indeed Streetview couldn't get further than the builders' gates.
But the easy way to solve this mystery would be travel on a bus via Waverley which is EXACTLY what fbb did on his grand tour. The 1332 from Rotherham bus station left ten minutes late, but your excited blogger plus chum David managed to bag a top deck front seat to enjoy the omnibological exploration.

Which way would they go through the Waverley estate?

Answer. They didn't!
At the appropriate roundabout fbb braced himself for the left had turn, passing the pub on the right. But the bus went straight on (passing the pub on the left); it ignoring the PTEs map and never penetrated the unfathomable road network of Waverley.

There was no announcement from the driver and no notice of this change at Rotherham bus station. An earlier check for times at Sheffield Interchange revealed no diversion information.

The whole trip was a pathetic waste of time!

And, in case you wondered, Traveline doesn't know which way the buses go either!
It is all beautifully designed to discourage passengers. How long will it be before buses are removed "due to lack of patronage"?

Is this the final answer? From First Bus:-

From Monday 7 November 2016, buses will run through the Waverley estate via Mitchell Way, Stephenson Way, Lesscar Road and Highfield Lane.

Until the bus stops are installed, buses will serve two temporary pick up/drop off points:

Towards Sheffield
At the end of Lesscar Road, just before the junction with Highfield Lane (near the blue pedestrian/cyclist only sign)
On Highfield Lane, approx. 5 metres before the turn off to the show house

Towards Rotherham
At the end of Lesscar Road, just after the junction with Highfield Lane
On Highfield Lane, approx. 5 metres after the turn off to the show house
These pick up/drop off points are intended as a temporary measure.

Incidentally, First should really know that is is LeScar Road (one S not two).

But, there again, there is an on-line petition from "one year ago":-

Since the AMRC building opened, its car park has not been large enough to cater for the students using the facilities. These students then park on the roads around Waverley, particularly Stevenson Way, Lescar Road and Bradfield way.

Many of these cars park illegally, as they block dropped curbs, park on both sides of the road, blocking the pavement for pedestrians and park too close to the junctions.

This has made it dangerous to drive or walk down these roads, makes them impassable for emergency vehicles and most recently has caused the bus, which goes down two of these roads, be diverted out of Waverley again. Due to the affects to the transport links are leaving residents late for work or paying high taxi costs.

Who knows? And if they know, they are not telling us.

Surely the people of Waverley should be able to read a correct route description SOMEWHERE at the very least. Why does the PTE not make it clear which way the uses go?

And before you write in about the unusually lavish set of three bus services to the Waverley development, please note that the 72 runs half hourly between Sheffield, Brinsworth and Meadowhall; the 74 is hourly Monday to Saturday daytime but becomes an hourly 73 early mornings, evenings and Sundays.

Thank goodness for the Nottingham tram.

 Next Wilford Bridge blog : Thursday 12th April 

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