I am writing on behalf of Ecclesall Ward Green Party to raise concerns over the consultation, and proposals, for the review of bus services in Sheffield.
With regards to the proposals, the loss of the 70 service towards the University of Sheffield and hospitals from Bents Green, Whirlow and Dore is a serious concern. This will affect many local people who work in, or need to go to, this area of Sheffield. With the parking available at the hospitals limited and the route already busy, shifting these journeys to car is not an option that is practical or desirable.
The change of the 83 service means a lack of service connecting Millhouses with the Banner Cross, Greystones, and Ecclesall Road area. This will mean a loss to local businesses of trade, with people being more likely to go to the City Centre rather than keep neighbourhood centres thriving.
We recognise that such a major review of bus services cannot hope to satisfy everyone, and it will always be a compromise. The aims of improving reliability and service across Sheffield are welcomed. We acknowledge that such a review is complex and appreciate that the Sheffield Bus Partnership has the best of intentions in undertaking this consultation. However, the way that this consultation has been carried out is far from ideal. This is a major review of bus services that will have a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of many people in the area. People rely upon bus services to travel to work, hospital, or study. Changing these services may mean adding greatly to commuting times, complicating journeys, and making services more difficult to reach. The timing of this consultation does not reflect that impact. With the school holiday starting half way through July, many people are away or otherwise occupied and unable to take part in the consultation.
As with any consultation, it takes some time for local communities to become informed of the changes and translate what can be quite difficult proposals into everyday language. Whilst some people may follow local news or notice posters about the consultation early, others may be wholly unaware until they hear about it through the grapevine. A four week consultation, whilst it might be enough for some purposes, is not sufficient for a public consultation on a complex matter that affects a great many people.
Finally, the information presented with the consultation could have been improved. There was little explanation as to the reason why changes were being made and the rationale behind the recommended routes. People have indicated that the maps were not very clear. We recognise that resources are limited, but believe that better information would reduce confusion and future work for the SBP. It would be good if, at least for those routes of particular concern:
- A separate map for each proposed route is made available;
- A document setting out the reasoning behind decisions for each proposed route (for example: route times, reliability, and use) is made available.
To reduce the impact of these issues, we are asking the Sheffield Bus Partnership could have a final round of discussion in September. For routes that are of particular concern, it would be most helpful if more than one option for these routes was considered. These options could then be presented to local communities and discussions facilitated. This would help inform local communities on the reasoning behind the proposed final routes, reduce the potential impact on services, and leave open the possibility of final amendments that would benefit those travelling on buses and the bus companies alike.
Ecclesall Ward Green Party