Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The saga of the 3, introduction

I'm sort of thinking that this may be a series.

I live in Sheffield. It is a hilly place. A very hilly place. And I live at the top of a hill like the great north face of the Eiger. Well not really but it is steep enough for Ian to refuse to ever attempt to walk up it. Last winter in the ice it was more dangerous than the fastest skeleton bobsleigh run. Yes, I chose to live here. One of the reasons was the 3 and 4. Unlike the 80 family of buses that drop me at Hunter's Bar, the foot of the horrid hill, the 3 and 4 trundle gently along Psalter lane and  end up at the top of my road. When I had to get to work in the ice I slithered up my mildly sloping road and bused into town on the 3 then out to work on the 40. 

The service has never been very frequent. At best the buses were only every half hour, once an hour in the evenings and Sunday, but it has been reliable and, importantly, ends up at the Intersection, near to the rail station, and is therefore great for visitors and for me when I conscientiously travel by public transport for work. 

On Monday, without any obvious notification, the service changed. Sally and her friends waited for an hour in town at the usual bus stop. When the second bus didn't turn up they went to the Intersection to ask and found that the 3 had been cancelled and the 4 had been relocated to Arundel Gate (up a hill). 

My neighbour comments, 'I got caught out on Monday morning (which is apparently when the new service came into effect). I saw no signs on the buses or bus stops to warn us! I was very unimpressed when I nearly missed my 8.20am train on Monday
morning because I didn't know the bus times had changed and had to catch another bus and run at full speed across town to get to the train station. I caught the train by the skin of my teeth - not impressed with First Buses at all!'

I am signed up with Travel South Yorkshire to receive notification of changes to the timetables of the 3 and 4 but I can't find any record of a notification and I didn't see any signs at the bus stops either. 

Having discovered this unannounced* downgrading of our service I looked on the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive website to find where to comment. Apparently their 'job is to encourage you to use public transport'. It's not clear on the website how they do this or how to comment but after trawling around for a good while I found their customer charter. I will be contacting this organisation today to see why my lifeline bus has been cancelled and why I didn't know about it.

*I'm sure it wasn't unannounced. See The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to see how bad changes are usually communicated. Further investigation reveals that there is a link at the bottom of the Travel South Yorkshire page called 'July Bus Service Changes' but how would I know to go looking for it? Especially when I am signed up to be notified of changes to my service. 

1 comment:

  1. Grumbles indeed! I will support you in complaining, even though I only ever used it the once!