Friday 30 November 2012

Partnership in Practice [5]

 Investigation Monday 12th November 
Salt or Psalter [3]
One of the thrills of Sheffield City centre's road scheme is the effect it has on logic and a passenger's sense of direction. Buses travelling in a north westerly direction leave from Snig Hill facing south and do a circuit of the city centre before returning to Snig Hill facing north. Meanwhile, buses via Ecclesall Road (south westerly) leave from Angel Street facing north, then run via some city back streets before regaining a logical compass bearing.

So fbb and chums are waiting in the rain under the canopy here at the top of Angel Street for their Stagecoach service 83 to Ecclesall and the Millhouses Loop. Pre-partnership there were far too many buses along the Ecclesall Road with a bus every 5 minutes to Bents Green (Stagecoach 83 and 88) and a bus every 5 minutes to Ecclesall (First 82). Additionally, First's 81 ran every 30 minutes via Greystones and First's 85 every hour via Carterknowle Road to Tesco on Abbeydale Road..
The partnership plan removed some excess at the Bents Green extremities and used it elsewhere. The 83 splits and now runs every 20 minutes round the Millhouses loop and, numbered 83A, every 20 via Rustlings Road to Fulwood. The run via Dobcroft Road or Springfield Road was, historically, only ever hour each way round, so the new route offers the best ever frequency for over 40 years.
It is also the first time, ever, that buses have used Silverdale Road ...
... where fbb's double deck vehicle ...
... performed a Blackpool Pleasure Beach slalom ride to avoid overhanging trees! Four "senior" passengers used the bus to get from Ecclesall to the shops at Millhouses and, as you can see ...
.. they enjoyed their ride and their few fragments of future fame in this blog. There were no orher customers to or from any point on the loop. Every 20 minutes? But onward and upward for the fbb party as they traversed the whole loop and rode back to Banner Cross. A quick nip across the terrifyingly busy Ecclesall Road and after a short wait along came the 4 to Ringinglow; which is surprising because the information on the stop did not deign to mention any buses to Ringinglow at all!
Nevetheless, the 1154 bus duly arrived with a mental reminder that a No.4 to this little hamlet had last run via Psalter Lane on Saturday 13th January 1968.
The only (genuine) passenger alighted at Bents Green leaving the pleasant country tour to fbb, his chums and the driver. The route back to Sheffield is via a road called Long Line seen here on the unhelpful official map with the 4-plus-arrow box in the middle of nowhere.
It is not what you might call "good bus territory".
There are two round trips on the new timetable plus a morning inward run and an afternoon return trip numbered 84, vestiges of the previous attempt to provide Ringinglow's passenger with a bus service.
The bus for this odd working is a Hope Valley school trip run by First which does the Ringinglow bits between its school duties. The hamlet now has no buses on Saturday or Sunday, but the salty Psalter thoroughfare does retain an hourly evening and Sunday service numbered 4A and running via Carterknowle Road to the Tesco store on Abbeydale Road.

According the lugubrious TM Travel driver, the fbb Ringinglow round trip was "really busy" with barely half a dozen passengers (out and back in total) on the Psalter Lane section, "it's was a lot quieter earlier."

Perhaps a few more of the ardent protesters should actually use the bus?  Maybe the parlous paucity of passengers is why the PTE wanted to withdraw it completely. fbb wonders how many times LibDem Councillor Anders Hanson uses the service 4.
Just a bit more from the Partnership Investigation next week, with Stagecoach "in the dock".

Tomorrow : Who would be a Bus Manager?

 Next Bus Blog : Saturday 1st December 


  1. To correct a slight error - the 4 continued to run to Ringinglow until early 1973 (I think) when the service went OMO. The Bents Green all-day journeys were indeed replaced by 81/82 from Jan 1968, but school journeys and Ringinglow trips continued. They are certainly still in the 11/70 timetable.From 1973 the Ringinglow trips moved over to 81/82, continuing across City to the equally improbable (and no longer served) Ewden Valley. Both termini required reversals and the Union would not permit them to go OMO. (No loop working at Ringinglow then).
    The Stag on Psalter Lane, by the way, has been renamed the stags Head recently for some reason. It was a total dump in my student days in the 70s but is now rather splendid!

  2. Thanks Dennis. My memory was somewhat lacking there. I did however remember that schooltime 4s ran to Bents Green for High Storrs School.