"Rawmarsh bus changes could put children's lives at risk"

By Sam Cooper | 08/09/2017

'Rawmarsh bus changes could put children's lives at risk'
Campaigners angry at the Rawmarsh bus service changes pictured at Bellows Road/High Street bus stop. 171508

CAMPAIGNERS claim changes to bus services have left pensioners unable to get to doctors’ appointments and have put children’s lives at risk.

People living in Rawmarsh said Stagecoach Yorkshire’s decision to withdraw its 108/109 Rawmarsh circular services have caused “chaos” for commuters.

Ann Rookes, of Greenfield, said children had been left to walk through Rosehill Park to get to and from school and people were having to travel into Rotherham town centre and back for what used to be a five-minute journey.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. There is no sense to it all,” Ann (65) said.

“There has been no notice of it either.

“There were no signs on the bus stops so if you’re not on a computer then you wouldn’t have known anything about the changes.”

Stagecoach Yorkshire replaced the 108 and 109 services with new services 8 and 9 on Saturday as part of a raft of changes across Rotherham and South Yorkshire.

The firm said the changes would increase punctuality and provide more direct routes.

But Ann claimed the changes would leave people “isolated” and youngsters unable to get to school.

“Stagecoach said the 108 and 109 services were not ‘economically viable’ but they used to run every ten minutes so why didn’t they just make them less frequent,” she said.

“Now anybody who lives on the new 9 route will have to go to town and back up to Rawmarsh if they want to get somewhere on the 8 route or face a long walk."

She added: “It’s just chaos, especially for people with young kids. 

“It’s putting lives in danger, especially the kids who’ve got to cross busy roads and walk through the park which can be dark in the winter.”

Fellow campaigner Gloria Hobson labelled the changes “ludicrous”.

She said: “It’s dangerous what they are doing and I don’t think they’ve thought it through.”

Clare Groves, of Evelyn Street, said her nephew had been left unable to get to Rawmarsh Community School from his home in Sandhill.

She said: “He now has to get off at the top of Kilnhurst Road and cross that road, which is dangerous.

“He then has to either walk all the way around Rosehill Park or through it and it can be dark in the winter.”

Ms Groves said she had only found about the changes through word of mouth.

“When the changes came in on Saturday a lot of people were taken by surprise,” she said.

Ellen Parkin also said she had been left without a bus home from Rotherham Interchange and would be forced to walk from Rosehill Park to the Manor Farm estate.

John Young, commercial director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, said passengers did not need to travel to Rotherham town centre to change between the 8 and 9 services.

He said: “Regrettably, we understand that a small number of our customers will be inconvenienced by these changes. 

“However, many more people will benefit from increased punctuality and more direct routes. 

“In this challenging economic climate, we continue to work hard to ensure the sustainability of our network of bus services. 

“Unfortunately, there are a number of factors adversely impacting our ability to maintain the status quo, including the continued growth in online shopping, reduced footfall in town centres, fewer people commuting to work five days a week and an increase in congestion, particularly around the Parkgate area.

“The last issue is a real concern to us as increased journey times mean our service is less attractive and operating costs increase.”

He added: "Passengers can get off on Dale Road outside our depot and then cross at the pelican crossing to use the bus stop on the other side of the road, just 30 yards away.

"Passengers do not need to travel into Rotherham centre simply to change buses – the stop on Dale Road is far more convenient.

“We conducted an extensive campaign ahead of these changes to make passengers aware of these changes – this included large posters displayed on every bus that ran the former 108 and 109 services outlining the exact changes to the routes, as well as leaflets on every bus.

"We also sent out leaflets outlining the changes to hundreds of households on the route."

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