RESIDENTS in cut-off communities – some of whom are being forced to shell out on taxis to get to work on time – have called for better services from transport firms now lockdown is easing.
Bus company Stagecoach has assured passengers its services are now running at pre-lockdown levels, with its entire fleet and staff operational.
But that’s little comfort to people like Darfield resident Jayne Kilburn, who’s found herself paying £7 or more a day to get to work in Barnsley because the 218 and 219 buses are full when they get to the village.
“I’ve not had a problem getting to work during the pandemic, but now everything is opening back up again it’s been a complete nightmare,” said Jayne, of Doveside Drive.
“You don’t have the time on a morning to be wondering whether you’ll get on the bus or not – it’s already stressful.
“In normal times, I’d have to stand up because it was always full, and now they’re obviously only allowed so many people on.
“I could get a bus pass, but when I get there I can’t guarantee I’m going to be able to use it.
“There needs to be some way to let the bus driver know there are people stood waiting at the bus stop and to make sure space is available.
“People going to work and students should be given priority.”
Little Houghton parish councillor Kevin Osborne has also raised the issue with Stagecoach after noticing problems with the services as they run through his village – particularly now schools have reopened and pupils seemingly prefer to catch services buses over dedicated school buses.
He said the firm responded by saying drivers could let the depot know if passengers had been left behind, and duplicate buses could then be sent out.
“It shouldn’t be a surprise that people wake up on a morning to find the bus they normally catch isn’t there,” said Kevin.
“They say drivers are telling the depot when the bus is full so duplicate services can be sent out – but they might be doing that when they get to their destination, while the people stood at the bus stop won’t know.
“They haven’t thought it through.”
A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “We recently increased our service provision back to pre-lockdown levels and are closely monitoring the number of passengers on our buses each day.
“Where possible we have added extra buses on to our busiest journeys – however, as we are now operating at 100 per cent capacity, with all buses and drivers utilised, this is not something we are able to continue to add to.
“There is an extra journey on the 219a in the morning peak period towards Barnsley.
“Customers can plan ahead by using the Busy Bus indicator on our app, which shows how busy your bus is."