Bus station improvements pledged, but where did the money go?

Bus station improvements pledged, but where did the money go?

By Gareth Dennison | 26/11/2021

Bus station improvements pledged, but where did the money go?

 

BUS passengers have questioned how well the money has been spent on Rotherham Interchange  given its rundown appearance two years after a £12 million refurb.

Recent or current issues have included loose floor tiles, faulty ticket machines and bus time info screens, as well as general cleanliness problems.

The period since the station reopened in spring 2019 has also included lockdowns, when passenger numbers were much lower than usual meaning the wear and tear could have been much worse.

One passenger said: “As you walk around the place, you would never guess so much money had been spent on it so recently.

“I think I’d be asking for a refund if it was me who had paid for it.”

Another said: “It looks old, scruffy, outdated, and I have no idea where £12 million has gone.”

The passenger satisfaction score went up from 6.7 out of ten before the works to 8.3 in August 2019. South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said recent data was not available because of the market research restrictions during Covid.

An SYPTE spokesperson said: “The £12 million refurbishment scheme at Rotherham Interchange aims to provide an improved waiting environment for public transport users.

“While many passengers have benefited from new seating, lighting, information displays, electrics and flooring, CCTV and free public wifi since this significant project’s completion, we are working on some issues to make sure all facilities meet the high standards we expect our customers to see.

“This includes replacing the vinyl floor tiles around information points with a coloured screed floor, following consultation with our user groups to determine a suitable alternative.

“We have fixed a problem with the passenger information display located near stand B1, which took an extended time to resolve due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Paper timetables and a nearby information screen were made available to keep customers fully informed during this time.

“We’re also continuing to prioritise touch point cleaning of surfaces to keep our facilities as Covid-safe as possible, and review cleaning regimes where needed.”

The ticket machines were installed about six years ago, SYPTE said, and suffered issues consistent with problems seen at other stations. Less availability of contractors during the pandemic has delayed their repair.

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority has promised major improvements thanks to £70 million of Government money.

Fare caps, more punctual services, new bus shelters, a zero emission fleet and free travel for under-18s are promised.

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “It’s the start of a journey which puts passengers first and provides greater powers for local leaders so we can build a bus network that will get South Yorkshire moving.”

RMBC leader Cllr Chris Read said for the first time in a while it felt the tools were there to drive improvements, although the driver shortage would continue for some time amid wider economic problems.

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