Thursday 18 September 2014

Four Cheers for the Fourth Estate

Sorry, that should be "Four Jeers"
The two villages in question are Todwick and Dinnington. The latter was a busy industrial mining town until the collieries closed down; it is now a dormitory suburb for Rotherham. Todwick was a bit of a non-event until modern housing began to spread.
The historical highlight of Todwick was its toll bar on the Worksop Road (A57) ...

... later replaced by the Red Lion pub.
Sheffield Joint Omnibus Committee ran the long-standing service 15 via the A57, turning left at Todwick Bar and cutting across to Dinnington.
In 1952 it ran every hour, seven days a week.
As housing developed in the late 50s and early 60s, certain trips were diverted via Todwick Village and the second destination blind space was used to show this "via". Soon, however, all journey went via the village as in this 1981 extract with the route now being numbered 215.
From privatisation onwards fbb lost track of his former home and its bus services but a more recent version ran from Rotherham via Swallonest and Kiveton Park with part of the service service via Todwick.
click on the map to enlarge

The timetable provided for one journey an hour Between the two settlements.

But one of the benefits of the recent changes, claims the article ...
... was the withdrawal of the Todwick and Dinnington direct link, by now numbered 27.

People living in Todwick are unhappy that they now have to catch two buses, and have seen their journey time triple, when travelling to Dinnington - just three miles away. They claim pensioners and disabled people are being penalised because they have concessionary passes and are seen as ‘non profitable’ by bus companies, and children are now charged double as they are pay per journey. The direct service was removed in May as part of the new Rotherham Bus Partnership.

There were protests, petitions and a long letter from the Parish Council to South Yorkshire PTE. The response from PTE and bus operator First was as expected.
From Paul Flanagan (above centre), First's Business Manager at Rotherham, comes this:-

We have reviewed the number of passengers previously travelling between Todwick and Dinnington on the previous Route 27. There was a total of 53 passengers per week travelling 37 of those were concessionary permit holders. With this level of patronage as soon as we operate 1 return trip per day 6 days a week the service becomes unprofitable. I am sorry but we just cannot justify operating a commercial service from Todwick to Dinnington. The only way we could operate any service here would be if it was tendered.

From David Young, boss of the PTE ...

... we have:-

‘These changes will inconvenience some customers’ but stressed data collected showed the bus link was used around 137 journeys each week, the equivalent to just 1.3 passengers per journey. The bus services team at SYPTE negotiated a number of changes to the proposed consultation network with operators, which addressed close to 90 per cent of the concerns raised. But there has to be a degree of compromise in order to retain the links from south Rotherham communities to Rotherham Hospital and Sheffield, while still maintaining the financial viability of the network for the operators and, in the longer term, reduce the level of subsidy from the public purse following reduction in government expenditure.”

The different statistic from the two different sources begs a number of questions. Who is telling porkie pies?

So the protests continue unabated.
Todwickians still have a bus every hour to Sheffield and similar to Rotherham so they are not competely cut off from humanity and the few that do want to go to Dinnington can catch a bus to Kiveton Park and change to the X5.
OK it's not ideal, but as the majority of passengers are on free travel passes, it is not a financial burden. In fact First bus will be well pleased because they will now get FOUR fares for the return trip instead of two!

A typical journey would be
Journey time is 30 minutes. The old 29A, for example, took 25 minutes and the historic 215 of the 70s and 80s a mere 15. "Seeing their journey time triple" (see above) seems a bit of an exaggeration.

But, we hear our readers mutter darkly, what has this got to do with the Press, the Fourth Estate. Well now ...

fbb  received details of the protest from yet another David correspondent, this time from Kent. The new report had appeared in this splendid periodical.
David wondered why this article had appeared as a headline in a newpaper for a town in Tyne and Wear ...
... which has no link, historical or geographical, with Todwick. But what about Dinnington?

This is Dinnington near Rotherham.

And this (top left) is Dinnington north of Newcastle upon Tyne ...
... not 100 miles from South Sheilds.

Now if the Gazette editor's geographical knowledge was typical of 21st century secondary education ...

Well, it's an easy mistake to make, isn't it?

And just in case The Shields Gazette is still not sure, here are the four buses an hour between Newcastle and Dinnington, Tyne and Wear.
Four jeers for the fourth estate! By the way, there's a Stannington near Sheffield as well.

One last point. The news items about this "crisis" first hit the headlines, even in Tyne and Wear, a few days ago.
The last bus ran between the two villages in July. Slick reporting? Slack protesting?

But there's more to Todwick's problems; so there's more tomorrow.

 Next bus blog : Friday 19th September 


  1. Well the Dinningtonians should be expert at making a stink.
    They had a maggot farm there at one time. You could smell it for miles around. :D

  2. And why did David from Kent report on the South Shields coverage of an event in South Yorkshire? Is it the power of the interwebnet again?

  3. David is a bit of a bus nut (sorry, keen enthusiast for public transport)! He also knows that fbb likes a good bloggable story. And, yes, the interwebnet sees all.

  4. The 'triple' journey time is the new journey compared to that on the withdrawn 27. Add to that the fact that trying to get hold of a timetable for the 29/74 is rather like finding hens teeth so one can leave Dinnington on any one of the three X5's per hour but there's no way of knowing when the connecting bus is due until one arrives at the bus stop on Kiveton Lane. One may be lucky and not have to wait too long, or like some, you may be waiting almost an hour.

  5. Board the bus in Todwick and ask for a ticket to Dinnington and you will be told the bus doesn't go to Dinnington. It seems even the drivers don't know the journey linkages. They will sell you a single ticket and then you'll need to get another one on the X5 where you may be fortunate and find one of the friendly and helpful drivers (yes they're out there) who will then sell you a day ticket, which the driver of the first bus could have done.