Agenda item

Questions on Transport Issues


The Transportation Advisory Group noted the questions and answers on transport matters that had been submitted in advance of the meeting that had been included in the agenda pack.


In response to the question submitted and answer received, Councillor Pitchley felt that the answer regarding the No. 26 bus route had not really addressed the issue around it.  A lot of the service users were elderly but had no particular mobility issues other than the fact that they did not drive and would not meet the criteria for Community Transport.  The removal of the service was impacting a large community and, whilst appreciating that all the services were struggling, it was of concern when the shopping complex was contacting Ward Councillors expressing their concern. 


Agreed:-  (1)  That more information be requested from SYMCA as to the reasoning for the change of service.


In response to the question submitted and answer received, Councillor Bennett-Sylvester expressed concern with regard to the answer received to his first question regarding the lack of information at Rotherham Interchange etc. The small number of customers that did not have access to the internet tended to be ones that were dependent on public transport.  When new information came out that it was available in a format that the older demographic or those that did not have access to the internet could use.


Councillor Bennett-Sylvester reported that since the last meeting, the No. 116 service had been reinstated.  Whilst the great overarching consultation taking place was good, it was felt that discussions at a local level would aid knowledge of commerciality of services.


John Young, Stagecoach, stated that his company would welcome greater input from the community to increase the understanding of local need.  It was a very difficult time for transport operators but assured the Group that the withdrawal of a service was a last resort after all options/alternatives had been explored.


Agreed:-  (2)  That the Chair contact SYMCA due to the frequency of changes and the need for members of the public to be aware of what bus services were available/their schedule and improved communication with communities/Ward Councillors.


Following the deadline for questions, the following questions were submitted by Councillor Bacon which was agreed by the Chairman:-


Question 1.  Would you agree that updating twitter rather than the app for cancellations was not good enough?


Question 2.  Would you agree that there were no excuses for arriving earlier than scheduled?


Question 3.  Live bus signs were ultimately the best way of keeping users up-to-date with live information on timings and cancellations.  What has a Ward such as Aston and Todwick with an elderly demographic not on the list to receive them?


John Young, Stagecoach, answered with regard to questions 1 and 2.  Twitter was routinely updated but accepted and understood that it was only going to reach a small minority of customers.  The app ought to work better and work was ongoing to resolve the problems.  Once the office team knew that a journey had to be cancelled, they could go into the system and cancel it which would show up on the app as a “cancelled journey”.  That should also link to any real time displays but unfortunately that did not always work.  It was very frustrating and John would follow-up and try and find a resolution to it.


Question 2 - There was no excuse for buses to run early but it depended upon the detail.  A bus timetable for any service would give a list of timing points, probably 10 stops between timing points; a driver would have a list of times they were due at certain stops.  It may show on bus stop a time but it was an estimated time.  The times were all automated.


As there was no-one present from SYMCA, a formal response would be sought with regard to question 3.


A question had been received from Jean Harte, Dinnington St. John’s Parish Council, with regard to the No. 19 service that ran between Worksop and Rotherham and the reported anti-social behaviour being experienced at Dinnington Interchange which was affected service delivery.


John Young, Stagecoach, reported that Service No. 19 was operated by Stagecoach East Midlands from the Worksop Depot. The depot had reported that there had been issues at Dinnington earlier in the year along the lines described by Jean with youths hassling customers who were waiting for buses, throwing missiles at buses and standing the path of buses.  It had been quiet through the summer but the weekend of 22nd October First had tweeted that they were pulling services out of the Interchange because of the issues.  As a result Stagecoach also pulled their service.  It was a concern for Stagecoach and frustrating when trying to provide an essential service but the safety of drivers and passengers was paramount.  There had been a number of issues in other areas recently, not within the Rotherham area.


Stagecoach had a policy of if there was an incident they would suspend or divert service from that area for the rest of the evening.  If it happened again within a week the service would be suspended for a full week in the evening.  The company worked closely with Travel Safe but it was difficult to try and make real progress and it did feel that soon as one problem was resolved another cropped up.  Travel Safe had a dedicated Policy Officer.  The operators and SYMCA contributed financially to Travel Safe.


Councillor Browne had also requested that the following be fed into the meeting on behalf of the Members’ Forum of the Kimberworth Park Community Partnerhsip:-


“One of the issues raised was the recent changes to the local bus timetables.


The recommendation from the meeting had been that the loss of the 138 would be mitigated by rerouting the 139/140 via Ox Close Avenue and Kimberworth Park Road.  This would serve the range of community services and facilities along Kimberworth Park Road (shops, surgeries, community meeting places, school), connecting a large part of the estate with its local services and providing for people who are currently struggling with the gradients on roads from the current bus route on Roughwood Road.up to Kimberworth Park Road.”


Agreed:-  (3)  That this be forwarded to the SYMCA for consideration.



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