MORE people are using buses in Rotherham, with 100,000 more passengers reported since the same time last year.
The increase in passenger numbers is being attributed to improvements in the area’s bus services following the introduction of the Rotherham Bus Partnership in July 2014.
Representatives from the voluntary Partnership between Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), and bus operators Stagecoach, First and TM Travel marked the six-month milestone at Rotherham Minster Gardens.
Rotherham’s Bus Partnership aims to make the borough’s bus network easier to use, more reliable and convenient.
Fare-paying passengers have risen sharply by 240,000 since its launch, an increase of 6%, and child passengers by 20,000 (2.7%). Latest records show improvements in punctuality and reliability, with 92% of buses running on time and 98.6% as scheduled. The introduction of the multi-operator Rotherham Connect tickets that can be used across different buses have also seen some fares fall.
The improvements have led to improved customer satisfaction and comments have fallen an average of 27% over the last six months, a reflection of significant positive network changes.
The partnership monitors and identifies locations and causes of bus delays that affect the punctuality and reliability of services. Timetable and service changes have been made in January 2015 to further improve services.
Rotherham Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods, Cllr Maggie Godfrey, said: “Our bus service plays a major role in making sure Rotherham has an efficient transport network which all helps to contribute to a stronger, local economy.
“These latest figures reflect our original Partnership aims to create a network that is simple to understand, easy to use and is affordable and we’re pleased to see the positive increases in passenger numbers, customer satisfaction and service levels. We’ll continue to work on encouraging more people to use their local bus service and make further improvements as needed.”
Managing Director at Stagecoach Yorkshire, Paul Lynch, said: “Rotherham’s bus network offers a convenient, stress free and friendly way to get around. The Partnership has achieved clear improvements to buses in the town, making it an attractive alternative to the car.
“I hope that people in the area continue to see the improvements that the Partnership has brought so far, and continue to use the bus whenever it’s the best travel option”.
Managing Director for First South Yorkshire, Ben Gilligan, said: "By working together in a single united approach for our customers the Bus Partnership is delivering real benefits for Rotherham. Value for money bus services helping connect communities with places of education, work and leisure are providing a real alternative to the car and I'm sure these strong results will give us the platform to continue this improvement."
Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee Chair, Cllr Bill Mordue, said: “We are delighted that more people are travelling on Rotherham’s buses. We have tried very hard to listen to customers and local communities to provide a bus network that is designed around their needs, and which people can depend on.
“Together with a flexible network, value-for-money tickets, and figures showing improvements in punctuality and reliability, the passenger numbers at this six-month milestone highlights the potential of Rotherham Bus Partnership and the difference it continues to make.”
Phil Stockley, Development Director of TM Travel, added: “This success in Rotherham proves that the best route to better bus services is partnership between innovative bus companies and forward thinking local authorities.”
For more information visit rotherhambuspartnership.co.uk