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Local News

Sheffield’s transport crisis: Businesses warn bus strikes and end of free parking ‘will kill us’

today06/12/2021

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Sally Page has worked at Sheffield bakery Staniforths for 32 years.

The shop manager remembers the days when Chapel Walk was bustling with customers, but after three decades working for the same business, she has decided to pack it all in.

One of the main reasons for doing so is the “nightmare” transport in Sheffield.

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Sheffield City Council were dubbed “Scrooges” after they scrapped free city-centre parking on Sundays in the run up to Christmas.

The “sky high” costs of parking have forced Sally to quit her job – and she has warned the prices will “absolutely kill” businesses.

“I pay £4.50 a day to park,” she said. “I can’t afford it.”



Businesses on Chapel Walk in Sheffield are feeling the impact of major transport issues in the city centre
Businesses on Chapel Walk in Sheffield are feeling the impact of major transport issues in the city centre

Bus driver shortages have caused complications in recent months too, which have been further exacerbated by the ongoing Stagecoach bus strikes.

The first weeklong strike in Sheffield began on Sunday, November 28 – and now another period of industrial action has been announced between Sunday, December 12 and Saturday, December 18.

“Business was getting better until the bus strike,” added Sally. “We’ve noticed it’s been really quiet.

“It’s very concerning. Trade is bad enough without buses going on strike.

“It’s another nail in the coffin.”

Further along Chapel Walk is Cards and Gifts, where shop manager Chris Lath is equally worried.

“The bus strikes will cripple us,” he said. “Christmas is a massive time of year.

“I’m very worried. In a fortnight, that’s the week before Christmas. We rely on last-minute shoppers.

“If there’s a bus strike the week before Christmas, what are we going to do?

“It’s dire as it is, but that will make it even worse. The city centre will die unless something is done about it.”



Newsagent Abdul Ubad said his customers are complaining more about the problems with transport in Sheffield
Newsagent Abdul Ubad said his customers are complaining more about the problems with transport in Sheffield

Abdul Ubad, who works at Central News just a stone’s throw from Sheffield Interchange, said: “It’s definitely going to impact on businesses. A lot of our customers have started to complain – about parking, about the bus strikes.

“There’s a lot of concern about this.”

Bus passengers are just as worried.

University student Dorcas Ipadeola said: “I wouldn’t be happy if there are more strikes.

“I live in Hillsborough and get the bus four times a week.

“The strikes would mean more stress because my journey would take more time.”



Sheffield student Dorcas Ipadeola said the bus strikes have led to more stress for passengers
Sheffield student Dorcas Ipadeola said the bus strikes have led to more stress for passengers

Sarah Foot has to get two buses every day to get to work.

“It’s been manic,” she said. “I was waiting about an hour-and-a-half for the bus the other day.

“They come up on the screen but just never turn up. You can’t plan anything.”

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Mental health nurse Yordanos Gebre said she was forced to walk to work at 5.30am on Thursday morning after her bus didn’t show up.

“It has affected me a lot,” she said.

“I couldn’t walk home after work because I was so tired. So I had to wait an hour and 10 minutes at the bus stop.”

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Unite the Union have promised the strikes will not take place over Christmas itself, but industrial action is happening all over South Yorkshire throughout December.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members employed by Stagecoach in South Yorkshire will have the total support of their union until this dispute is resolved.”

There is another major transport change looming on the horizon for Sheffield though – and this could arguably have the biggest impact.

Consultations are currently underway ahead of introducing a Clean Air Zone. Vehicles that are not environmentally friendly could be forced to pay up to £50 a day to drive in the city centre.



Sheffield's Clean Air Zone will cover the inner ring road
Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone will cover the inner ring road

Grants have been made available to drivers, and private cars are exempt, and Cllr Douglas Johnson, executive member for transport, climate change and the environment, said: “This is really important for the health of everyone in the city, and especially those who spend their days on the roads where they are most affected by toxic air pollution.”

However, Sally is concerned about how businesses will survive if the Clean Air Zone is introduced as planned.

“It is going to have a massive impact,” she said.

“We’re gripping on now, but if the Clean Air Zone happens that will be it for Sheffield city centre.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today06/12/2021