A pioneering Community Bus Partnership has launched in Sheffield to let people that use the number 4 bus service have a say on how it is run.
The Partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and has been designed so that South Yorkshire Passenger Transport (SYPTE) can work with local residents to deliver a bus service that is tailored to their needs.
The number 4 service runs from Sheffield Interchange to Bents Green via Psalter Lane. It was scheduled for withdrawal before the Sheffield Bus Partnership (SBP) reinstated it in October 2012, following feedback from local people.
The service, which is operated by TM Travel, has since grown in popularity by 73% and now carries over 1,300 passengers a week. Buses are driven by a small number of drivers in order to build up a rapport with regular customers.
SYPTE Director of Customer Experience, David Young, said: “We want the Community Bus Partnership to deliver a different kind of bus service that offers its users a chance to tell us what they want from the service and how it can be improved.
“It is early days for the initiative but the opportunities it is presenting are exciting. We are already exploring how we can support community events, shops and businesses through the service, and hope to expand the scheme to include other bus routes in South Yorkshire.”
Over fifty local residents gave their views on how the number 4 can be made even better at the first Community Bus Partnership drop in session at St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, and more sessions are planned for the future. Comment cards are also available on the buses for customers to give regular feedback.
Jeanette Jackson, of Hoober Avenue, said: “The number 4 is very reliable and convenient for me. I am a car user but have started to use the bus to get to the train station. I will continue to use the service and to support it because it is an important service for the older people that live here.”
Suggestions from users of the service under consideration include:
• Increasing the frequency to run at half-hourly intervals for part of the day
• Extending the route, either to include Millhouses Park or to run to Ringinglow on Saturdays
• Publicising walks and local points of interest on the bus
• Changing the route of evening services so that they pick up at Sheffield Interchange
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