Last year, First Group made £122 million profitt nationally, most of which went into the pockets of its shareholders, the same shareholders who are willing to sit on their backsides comfortably whilst complaining that their workers aren’t doing a good enough job, neglecting the fact that all bus drivers not only have to deal with their management’s incompetence,and the anger at the proposal to cut the 86 bus service This bus is not only used by residents of Rustlings Road and Nether Green but by a considerable number of the allotment holders behind Rustlings Road.
Some of the allotment holders are elderly and no longer permitted to drive due to health. Why should these people, who only have pensions to live on, be forced to take taxis? The 86 bus also provides the only direct connection to the rail station ( see residents against station closure) for people in Nether Green and Rustlings Road. It is absurd that a substantial suburb like Nether Green and a main road such as Rustlings Road should have no bus service in a town the size of Sheffield.
Over three years we have seen First Sheffield increase bus fares, this could be why services like the no 86 have lack of people, it is just to expensive for some people to use First, a raft of changes to bus services in Sheffield due to be rolled out in July have been blocked by the council.
Despite pleas from the First group that the routes are not commercially viable in the current economic climate, the council said it was “not signing up to cuts”.
FIRST bus company has warned drivers considering striking that they risk a “devastating effect” on the business leading to potential redundancies. Brandon Jones, deputy managing director, said a walkout could result in people permanently switching to their cars.
First, which is facing more strikes by its Sheffield drivers in an unrelated dispute over pay, has been forced to backtrack under the terms of the Sheffield Bus Agreement it signed with the council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive in May 2007.
This followed outrage at another increase in fairs and public protest, We Want Our Buses Back is holding a public meeting on Thursday 30th July, 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House, St James Street, city centre (near the Cathedral) to discuss the drivers’ fight alongside the campaign for re-regulation of public transport.
They have invited local politicians, union representatives and the media to hear, and contribute to, the case for public transport. Sheffield City Council apparently has plans for bus re-regulation. Join us to continue to pressure our representatives to carry out this popular and much needed policy.
Sheffield’s buses are dominated by First and Stagecoach, and there has been a stream of fare rises and service cuts. ‘WWoBB’ campaigns for a return to public control and ownership of this vital public service. Over the past few years WWoBB has organised petitions, protests and demos involving thousands of people.
‘We Want Our Buses Back’ demands:
- Reduce bus fares
- Restore services
- Decent wages and shorter hours for bus drivers
- Re-regulate the buses
- Re-nationalise public transport
This meeting is organised by www.wwobb.org (we want our buses back) a front for The Soclist Party, who also support The Residents Against Station Closure a pressure group uniting a wide range of groups, individuals, organisations and communities, in a campaign to stop East Midlands Trains installing barriers at Sheffield Station. Ticket barriers will prevent many people walking through the station to gain access to the city centre or the tram stop which is at the back of the station.
Sheffield used to have a very good, cheap bus service. Since Thatcher deregulated and privatised it in 1987, private operators like First and Stagecoach have gained a near monopoly. They raise fares and cut services without any regulation. They’ve put profit before passengers.
‘We Want our Buses Back’ has been campaigning since the fare rises and cuts in bus services in 2005. Since then they have organised petitions (of 15,000+) to Sheffield City Council, spoken at meetings, held protests and demos involving thousands of people across Sheffield. WWoBB regularly appears in The Star and has featured on BBC Radio Sheffield as well as Sheffield Live Radio.
Sheffield is proud of The refurbishd station, and the region has spent £50 million on the award-winning refurbishment of the station and the immediate vicinity. The resulting refurbishment is described as a world class gateway to the city
The footbridge links communities and organisations on both sides of the station. It is one of the few truly integrated transport networks in the area uniting as is does, the tram stop, the station and the Sheffield Interchange. The bridge is particularly important for wheel chair and push chair users as the only alternative bridge is completely inaccessible, so a very large diversion would be required.
The link through the station is also central to the City regeneration strategy as it provides a direct route for future occupants of the massive Park Hill scheme to access the Golden Route into the city centre.
It is Direct Action that has seen East Midlands Trains part back down, a spokesman for East Midlands trains said that “a line had to be drawn”, and we agree – by making this decision, EMT have put their profit margins ahead of the views of the 2,076 Sheffielders who signed a petition opposing the barrier, and we can’t let them get away with it.
It raises serious questions about democracy when a scheme so universally unpopular with pretty much everyone can be pushed through. As for our elected representatives, MP Richard Caborn boasts that he’s “told them not to do a daft thing like this again”, but what’re the chances of them actually listening to him?
If we’re going to defend the principle that public needs come before private profit, it’ll take more than fine words from politicians – we need to build a large and militant movement, capable of scaring the arrogance out of bosses who’ll never listen to our views unless they’re forced to.
We hope to see you at this meeting and lets start to reclaim not only our Trains and Buses but our future, in a time where we see the rise of the far right, due to politicians fucking over the working class, and who was it in 1997 told us vote Labour with no illusion of course the far left, meanwhile The Anarchists of Sheffield have always understood which side these people are on, we need therefore to ensure the Socialist Party, of which http://www.wwobb.org (we want our buses back) is a front for are not the ones leading the fight back and becoming the vanguard of the working class, neither do we need other fronts to do the same, we need a united working class militant movement one that is willing ready and able to take direct action.