By Jonathan Tsui and Gwynn Gao
Residents in Crookes and Crosspool have faced an unexpected suspension of bus services due to last weekend’s heavy snow.
Ward Labour candidate Minesh Parekh and ward councillor Ruth Milsom have written a letter to First South Yorkshire and Stagecoach Yorkshire to complain about the lack of contingency plans for extreme weather.
Milsom said she has been receiving an increasing number of complaints centred around bus services from residents in the area.
Last weekend, the 51 (First South Yorkshire), 52 (Stagecoach Yorkshire) and 52A (First South Yorkshire) were suspended because of the snow in Sheffield.
“A lot of people were reporting there was no notice beforehand and even on the websites”, said Parekh.
“If people checked times on the websites, it just said they were delayed, whereas you had to check on their Twitter account to find out they were cancelled”, he continued.
In the letter, Parekh shared his concerns about the contingency plans for adverse weather from the two bus companies and how they will be adapted to ensure Crookes and Crosspool will not be left without service next time.
He said part of the problem is the disconnect between bus companies and the local council: “The bus companies don’t feel like they have to talk to the council and have to talk to local authorities. So there’s no joint approach to navigating a situation like this when we have adverse weather conditions.”
Milsom suggested that bus companies, the council and the highway department should work together since what happened last weekend was an instance of a “lack of communication”. She said: “I think we could have had the routes open a lot sooner. If there’s some coordination of services, not just gritting but ploughing the roads and getting the buses through as a priority.”
A spokesman for First South Yorkshire said the adverse weather of the weekend made driving of any vehicle challenging, especially on side roads as it worsened over the two days. He said company resumed services as soon as road surfaces improved.
First South Yorkshire have arranged a meeting with Parekh and Milsom next Tuesday. Stagecoach Yorkshire are yet to respond.
Moving forward, Milsom will also talk to the council and highway officers about what improvements can be made for future occasions.
The ward Councillor hopes to “get officers to see the priority that it is for people to be able to use these routes and to just make some improvements for next time.”