Wednesday 8 September 2021

Worrying Whereabouts Of Whiston (1)

 Where Does The 208 Go?

fbb often gets stick for writing too many blogs about Sheffield. But the problems of Sheffield are replicated in various ways throughout the country. The end results vary, of course, but the Public Transport Experience is simply not good enough.

A & C Wigmore ran their bus service from Dinnington to Sheffield for many, many years. It was numbered 208 in the PTE renumbering scheme ...
... but remained Wiggy's only service. Latterly Northern Bus took over the route ...
It was not long before the route disappeared completely. 

Then, much to everyone's surprise, First Bus announced that they were bringing Wiggy's bus back with a slightly revised version of the original 208, starting in February 2019. In a blaze of poor publicity the service started. The First Bus leaflet was a standard product of its day (poor and cheap) with the addition of a monochrome picture of a Wigmore's Bus.

There was no attempt to bedeck the buses in a Wigmore livery, not even the name appeared. fbb does not know what publicity efforts were made in Dinnington itself, but suspects they were very little.

It failed! So, in a recent reorganisation the route was cut back.

But cut back to where, that is the question?

According to the map currently displayed on the First Bus Sheffield web site, it hasn't been cut back at all ...
... so that's no help whatsoever. 

The PTE map is slightly more helpful; or should we say mapS?
There are two, identical in content. One is a "Rotherham Network Map" and the other ...
... a Rotherham Bus Partnership Map. Both show the 208 as serving Brinsworth, agreeing with part of First's route map ...
... but terminating at a roundabout where the East Bawtry Road intersects with Worrygoose Lane, Broom Road and Herringthorpe Valley Road.
And there, graced by a passing Stagecoach 19, is a comfy layby in which the 208 can lurk.
The PTE says that this is "Whiston" ...
... which it isn't. But, at least, the timetable hazards a reasonable guess.
Maynard Road is a little side road across the dual carriageway and opposite the stop ...
... so less than ideal as a stop idenifier for the unwary! For countless generations the stop has been known as "Worrygoose Roundabout" and that, indeed, would be a much better name - but such is the curse of NaPTAN! 

The roundabout was the terminus of a Rotherham trolleybus route 4 as shown on this VERY diagrammaticatic route map c/o the sainted Wikipedia.
Encouragingly, Traveline offers the same terminus for the 208.
Despite First's valiant attempt at befuddlement with an inaccurate map, and the company's further obfuscation with its timetable heading ...
... fbb was content to understand that the 208 no longer ran to Dinnington, but turned at the Worrygoose Roundabout; so why Whiston when it isn't?
There is a bus service from Rotherham to Whiston ...
... running every hour until 1800 Monday to Saturday.
It is operated by First who calls it a "circular" ...
... which it isn't! It serves a loop of estate roads off Worrygoose Lane ...
... via Greystones Road, Moorhouse Lane and Cowrakes Lane. Neither map nor timetables admit to an evening service to "Whiston" but there is one with journeys on T M Travel's 29, showing 29a.
Whilst it would be a real miracle for First to admit to these journeys; you would expect a sensible PTE to at least have a note on the 26 cross referencing to the 29a.

Whilst the 26 does serve the eastern end of Whiston High Street (just), the original routes to or via Whiston village ...
... terminated at a now unused bus stop to the west of the High Street. Neither stop nor High Street is now served by bus.
The former terminus also boasted "toilet facilities", now closed, of course!

Incidentally the old Wigmores 208 ran via Pleasley Road, Whiston High Street, Moorhouse Lane and Greystones Road.

Whichever of these locations you define as Whiston, it certainly should not apply to the Worrygoose Lane Roundabout or the Pleasley Road junction. Whiston (The Village) is not signposted from ANY junction on the Bawtry Road.
But the original village does really exist and is quite sweet and unserved by bus.
Happy as ever to know where the 208 now terminates, fbb then received messages from chums in Sheffield. "Did you know," they asked, "that the 208 has been cut back to Brinsworth; there has been no publicity but I have seen a bus showing 208 Brinsworth."

What's gong on? Here is Brinsworth on First's incorrect map.
More tomorrow.

P.S. Whiston High Street
CORRECTION : The 29a DOES run via Whiston High Street although that information does not appear on either of the Rotherham maps. The very poor route map that comes with the timetable doesn't make it clear. You have to KNOW where the bus goes to see where the bus goes on the map!

Not Happy At Hulleys
This note has appeared on Hulleys web site:-
The X1 (Ashbourne to Manchester Airport) only started on Monday this week, as did the X72 evening service from Chesterfield to Bakewell and Matlock. The X98/X99 ate the weekend holiday routes to Skeggy and Scarborough and the X71 is similar to Alton Towers.

The "excuse" that is being offered is "staff shortages". Might it also be that some of these are expensive to run and are not taking enough money to pay the bills? To be fair, Hulleys do seem very open about their staffing difficulties.

We’re sorry. 

In mid-June we registered new services: the X1 from Ashbourne to Manchester, and the X72 from Chesterfield to Matlock via Bakewell on Monday to Saturday evenings, to provide direct links to new places.  At that time, we had more than enough Drivers and more still applying for jobs.
Everything was ready to roll, the process of recruiting more Drivers continued while a small number had left.  At the end of last week however, a number of Drivers expected to return to work from sickness absence indicated they wouldn’t be doing so.  Other new Drivers who were expected to start this Monday informed us they no longer be joining, and another Driver fell ill. 

All of this in just two days for any Operator would be challenging.  For a small Operator such as Hulleys, with the best will in the world we were put in an impossible situation.  We do not like letting people down and so we’re presented with two options: to try and run all services but cancel journeys at short notice as and when we were unable to cover them, or cut back our network to a level where we have sufficient staff to cover all journeys every day. 

For the purposes of stability, we have decided to change our network.  From this Thursday the X1 and X72 will not run.  The X70 will run every 2 hours on Sundays.  The X57 will terminate at Chorlton Street on Sundays and not run through to Manchester Airport.  Seasonal services X98 and X99 will also be withdrawn, but as we are aware of passengers having purchased period return tickets on the X98 the 1730 from Ingoldmells will run this Saturday.

We’re sorry that we’ve been forced to make these changes at such short notice and for letting people down.  It is not a decision that has been taken lightly or with any pleasure.  We want to continue to do our very best for the most with the resources available and we feel this is the best way to do that.  

We now need to concentrate our efforts on recruiting staff and providing the best possible service we can, and for that reason we are unable to answer any queries about this here.  Passengers intending to travel on the X1 should contact Staffordshire County Council on 03001118000 or email

Whatever the real reason it does illustrate the difficulties that bus companies are experiencing at the moment.

And it is going to get worse!

 Next Whiston Worry (Goose?) blog : Thursday 9th September 

1 comment:

  1. Sorry but Worry Goose Island is Whiston, simple.