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Bus journeys on key commuter routes made quicker under new plans

bus graphic

Plans to improve reliability and journey time for public transport on Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road have been launched today.

The Connecting Sheffield proposals would give buses priority along the two key bus routes.

The launch follows COP26, the Department for Transport’s National Bus Strategy; Bus Back Better and the submission of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, all of which commit to making public transport better and more accessible.

The proposals are funded through the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund and together form part of the Connecting Sheffield programme. The funding is for improvements to travel routes that would help people switch to making journeys by walking, cycling or using public transport, particularly when commuting to work.

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority was awarded £166m following a successful bid, to share between Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley. Sheffield was granted £55m, with an equal share in funding to be used on active travel and public transport improvements across the city.

So far, five schemes have been consulted on over the past year. Connecting Sheffield: Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road is the final set of proposals to be released through TCF, although further funding will be identified to help continue improvements to the networks for walking, cycling and public transport.

The proposals have been developed to help improve journey times from the city centre to Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road, where traffic delays can make it difficult for people to rely on bus services.

People are invited to comment on the plans, which give buses green light priority across every junction from the city centre to Ecclesall Road South junction with Abbey Lane, and to Abbeydale Road South junction with Sherwood Glen.

The council is also asking for initial feedback on proposals to introduce 12-hour bus lanes, and new ways to enforce illegal parking, such as the use of Red Routes. Improvements to bus stops are also included in the plans, including better seating and access to real-time bus updates.

Cllr Douglas Johnson, Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said:

“We know that it is currently difficult for people to use public transport because buses don’t get priority - they need faster routes to make sure they are consistently reliable. The aim of this scheme is to give buses green light priority, alongside other changes that will make public transport a more attractive option.

“Public transport is a critical part of our future; we will need people to catch the bus to take cars off the road. I know it’s been said, but it’s so important I will say it again; we need to make it easier to travel by public transport so people can choose to leave the car at home. This will help reduce traffic congestion, improve the air we breathe, and make us a healthier city.

“I would encourage you to have a look at what could change and let us know what you think. If you have any questions or concerns, we would be happy to answer them.”

Nigel Eggleton, Managing Director at First South Yorkshire said:

”We welcome the consultation and feedback that will be received on the proposals to introduce bus priority measures in the Abbeydale and Ecclesall Road areas.

Reliability is key in encouraging people to use bus services, as it can provide the confidence and reassurance knowing that buses will get people to their destinations on time.

Bus priority, red routes and parking restrictions for vehicles ‘excluding buses’ can make a significant improvement to reliability and make bus services an attractive proposition for people to use, at the same time help improve air quality and the local environment as less cars will be on the road. We are in full support of any measures that are being proposed to improve the journey experience for our customers who choose to use the bus as their preferred method of travel around the city and county."

John Young, Commercial Director at Stagecoach Yorkshire, said:

“We welcome the proposals. It's important that bus users' views are heard as part of these proposals. We’ve worked closely with our local authority partners to identify bus journey time improvements which will assist punctuality. These are amongst our customers’ top priorities and will help make using the bus more attractive.”

The consultation on Connecting Sheffield: Abbeydale Road and Ecclesall Road will run until Thursday 16th December. All comments and feedback will be used to shape the final proposals, which will be consulted on next year.

Find out more and have your say here:

Comments can be shared via the website, by email or by phone on 0808 196 5105.