There are EIGHT buses an hour between Meadowhall and Maltby, four X1s and four X10s. This still means the same reduction in services to the Maltby estates (from every 20 to every 30) but at least Dale Hill Road has an even interval 15 minute headway.
But Flanderwell (hidden between Wickersley and Bramley, remember) now gets a bus every 15 minutes! Possibly the best ever service to those areas!
But the super zappo Steel Link non-BRT frequency between Sheffield and Meadowhell is reduced from every 10 to every 15.
Only two of the X10s continue to Doncaster as on Mondays to Fridays.
So, to summarise; on Mondays to Fridays:-
Reduced frequency between Sheffield and Meadowhall
Clock face interval on Dale Hill Road (see Mon to Fri)
Possible improved revenue (see below)
It is hard to evaluate the Monday to Friday cost impact. The "turning short" of X10s at Meadowhall will save resources there which are in part redeployed on the 15 minute frequency. With running time savings by not serving the Hospital, the Monday to Friday service may be cost neutral.
Generally speaking more buses will carry more passengers, so a bonus in the piggy bank for First. Possibly?
A deeper question, however, it to ask whether the increased complexity of the Maltby "network" will be off-putting to many passengers. Will that possible loss of business be offset by gains from the Monday to Friday improvements?
It all looks a bit of a gamble.
But there is one final fearful factor for First.
Once upon a time, there was an hourly service 87 direct (as direct as it could be) between Maltby and Sheffield.
Currently Powells bus operate a scattering of peak hour peak flow buses on route X7 Monday to Friday only.
These serve all the Maltby estates (and Flanderwell) ...
...then whizz non-stop into Sheffield via the Parkway. This fast road (well fast, except at peak times) ...
From March 3rd the new X7 will run every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday.
Will this lure Maltby-ites fast into the centre of Sheffield rather than more slowly to Meadowhall and very, very slowly into Sheffield?
Time will tell.
Ah, those were the days!