Tuesday 13 May 2014

Reconciliation in Rotherham : Revised Routes.

The Sheffield Bus Partnership is a roaring success, we are told.
It is, in many ways, a strange beast.

We are cosy and cuddly as partners but we compete vigorously with each other. We operate a number of joint services but are wont to charge different fares. On the joint routes we did have special "joint" fares [Optio Orange, Optio Red] but we don't offer these any more.
Dual ‘Optio’ tickets - unveiled with a fanfare in 2011 to allow commuters to travel on any bus along the busy 52 and 120 Sheffield routes - are to be axed from the end of March. They will be replaced by new ‘network tickets’, which will cost more. [Sheffield "Star" newspaper.]

We seek to improve the service to Sheffield's public by reducing the numbers of buses on several routes. BUT; we have removed some wasteful (and expensive) competition and the financial results are "encouraging". So the boards and shareholders will be well pleased.

So now we're doing Rotherham ...
... in 2013, complete with an inspiring townscape as an illustration.
Furthermore we are running about 12 months late. But, yesterday, details of the revised routes and timetable were announced ...
... and the logo-clock was moved on by 12 months!

The Sheffield Partnership is a strange beast, but Rotherham's is stranger. Historically, First (as successors to the PTE) ran all the Rotherhan town routes and Stagecoach services retained their Yorkshire Traction and East Midland heritage. First Bus broke the mould be starting the competitive 22 service between Rotherham, Wath and Barnsley, recently adding a Sunday service.
We would expect the Partnership tho review this bit of wasteful operation - and, indeed, it does.
First service 22 will operate between Rotherham and Wath Upon Dearne only with all journeys extending to Meadowhall. It will be co-ordinated with Stagecoach service 22X to provide 8 buses per hour between Rotherham and Wath Upon Dearne, with 4 Stagecoach buses per hour running to Barnsley.

 The only other direct competition in the town is between First and Tates. The latter operates service 56 and 57 in competition with First's 11 and 12 to Clifton and East Dene.
Both run every 30 minutes both ways round a (very) slightly different loop ...
But there is no change here ...

Bus services that are not listed will not change.

... and, anyway, Tates are not part of the Partnership.
Frankly, that main alterations within the partnership are to First's exclusive network; although what mysterious financial jigglings with tendered routes are hidden in the depths of the cunning plan may never be fully explained. What gets a noticeable re-vamp is the network of routes between Rotherham,  Brinsworth and beyond.
Brinsworth is due south opf Rotherham Centre and borders onto North Eastern Sheffield.

These changes are too convoluted to deal with in a "broad brush" blog, but, doubtless, fbb will return to the subject when maps and full timetables are released. The Partnership will "happen" on 21st June; so not long to wait. Meanwhile we are left with a tantalising list of frequencies to whet our appetites.
From left to right: old number, new number, frequency Monday to Friday daytime, Saturday daytime, evenings and Sundays. Frankly, the route descriptions are hard to unravel; even fbb needs a map which, although "available" according to the web site ...
... is, sadly, clickable as ...
For the time being fbb will hold back his comments until Travel South Yorkshire do their worst stuff with leaflets.

Another feature of the scheme is a series of all-Rotherham fares.

Rotherham Bus Partnership has worked together to introduce a newly proposed range of value for money tickets that offer travel on any bus in Rotherham, regardless of who provides it.
Rotherham Connect Day – £4.50
Rotherham Connect Week – £17
Rotherham Connect monthly/28 day

The day ticket is 10p cheaper than First's "own", Weekly is £3.50 dearer and Monthly £13.75 dearer. What is not made clear in the publicity (so far) is, simply, what is "Rotherham"; the boundaries have not yet been revealed. Another breath holding moment!

It's all happening in Rotherham!

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 14th May 

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