Member of Parliament’s Master Plan

The MP for Rother Valley wants to improve public transport in his constituency. He has clearly caught the “MPs disease” which makes them feel thy understand the bus business and with just a snap of the fingers can make it all lovely. 
Alex cites Manchester (the jury’s out) and London (poor an VERY expensive taxation wise),
And, uttering the mantra of his Party (Conservative), it’s all Labour’s fault and they should get out and hand the buses over to the other lot.
Fat chance!
And a small addition to yesterday’s blog. Not only does the cost of the much vaunted London system fall heavily on its own council taxpayers, but also National Government has to bale them out every so often with a whopping grant from “State Funds” – i.e. you and me.
Bit Alex is very proud that he, single handed, has got buses back to run between Swallownest and Crystal Peaks, the nearby shopping centre.

As we have come to expect, there is lots of out-of-date First Bus information on line. but, in simple terms, the 27 was part of the group of routes operated between Rotherham and the contiguous communities of Aughton, Swallownest and Aston. The routes were complex and had variations in the evenings and on Sundays to make life even more challenging for the oft-forgotten humble passenger.

You can see that the 27 (PUCE) offered a lovely circular tour of the three communities on its way from Rotherham to the shopping centre. You may be confused (most people were!) but the 28 (on First’s very old map) turned, like Cinderella’s pumpkin, in to the 29/29a (ORANGE) which did a lesser tour of the estates on its way to Kiveton Park etc.

So most residents had a hourly 27 to take them to Crystal Peaks …

… and a half hourly service to Rotherham in  company with the 29/29a.

Then First Bus walked away from the 27/29/29a amd the service went out to tender as an hourly 21 won by Stagecoach …
… with nothing to Crystal Peaks.

Significant parts of the estates (near the Aughton crossroads) were also expunged from the bus map. 

Wesley Avenue (between the Aughton Road and the route 21 loop (road shown in white) no longer has a bus service, just unused bus stops.
Cruelly this used to be the terminus of Sheffield Transport’s hourly route 21 via Treeton.

It would seem than that MP Alex has some good cause to complain; it is such a pity that he had to wrap his concerns up in anti Labour jibes.

But it’s not about the politics!
But Alex has, indeed, claimed some involvement in the re-introduction of a service between Swallownest and Crystal Peaks.
Here is an old map showing the 27 and a “cased” (hollow) black line for the 26/26a.

This nipped off from Crystal Peaks to Holbrook then the bus ran alternate ways round a huge lollipop route via …

… Wales (off map left) Kiveton Park, Thorpe Salvin, Harthill and Woodall. 

Here is a timetable extract (the old now wrong timetable) still on T M Travel’s current web site.

(It was still on show yesterday! But the new timetable has now been added.)

The big deal for Swallownest has been to divert the 26/26A via part of the former 27 route to serve Swallownest.

BUT (and its a big “but”) the 26/26A does not run via any of the estates that used to be served by the 27. It calls at the Co-op with everything else and then nips off down Mansfield Road on the very fringes of where the passengers want to be.

It is a cheapskate poor effort. It is still just the one bus trundling round.
So it was on Wednesday 10th Inst that chum David (who lives at  Aston) kindly set out in poor weather conditions to observe loadings and to photograph the 1215 from Swallownest to that shopping heaven (?) Crystal Peaks. He waited in the murk for the 1450 from Crystal Peaks back to Swallownest and on round the circuit.
The 1215 was in a hurry …

… with one passenger aboard. None alighted or boarded at Swallownest Co-op (opp).

Whist whiling away time until the return journey appeared, David photographed a very tatty network map – out of date, of course …

… and the electronic departure display which had been updated for the 26.

Perversely it showed the destination as Crystal Peaks which, although electronically correct, is unhelpful unless you want a 45 minute ride the long way round to the shops!

The steed arrived on time but nobody boarded. 
Much to David’s (and Finn’s) surprise 6 alighted, some intending to hop on the 21 to the estates; as this time there is a good connection. Another 7 remained on board to wend their jolly way eastwards.

The 26 was also included in the  departure lists in the frame.

Of course there is no printed material to distribute house-to-house with the aim of improving the paltry two hourly (approx) frequency.

The bus used to be with T M Travel’s owners, Trent Barton where it was branded for the Amberline route …

… Which runs from Derby to Hucknall.

So, for some residents, there is now a service back and running from Swallownest (edges of) to Crystal Peaks BUT IT SHOULD BE BETTER and there should be a half hourly service to Rotherham,

Alex Stafford MP is right to complain; but the problem, as ever, remains embedded in the often fruitless search for extra pennies to pay for it.

But it’s not about the politics – it’s about the money!
 Next Weekend Variety blog : Saturday 13th January 
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