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RURAL LINKS COMPETING FOR AWARD (19TH APRIL)

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Lifeline South Yorkshire Bus Services on verge of national recognition

Three South Yorkshire bus services that provide crucial travel links to job seekers and rural residents are in line for national recognition in the 2004 National Transport Awards .

The Manvers Shuttle and the A1 Shuttle are unique bus services helping many people get to work and training opportunities. Both have been shortlisted under the 'Bus' category.

And the Bradfield Rural Links Network, a transport lifeline for many rural residents who do not have ready access to a car, is competing in the 'Rural Transport' section.

All three are administered by partnerships led by the Transport Executive. Passenger Services Director David Brown expressed his delight at the news, and said: "Our role is to make sure people can get to where they need and want to be, and sometimes that means having to think creatively to find unique solutions to local challenges.

"That is certainly the case with these three services, which many people now rely on for the basics that others take for granted - travelling to work, getting to school or college, going shopping.

"It is very gratifying when our efforts gain this kind of national recognition which thoroughly justifies the investment and hard work put in by ourselves and our partners."

Launched in January 2002, the Bradfield Rural Links network - highly commended at the Bus Industry Awards in 2003 - feeds into Hillsborough Interchange (winner of the 'Small Urban Interchange of the Year' at the Integrated Transport Awards) which gives travellers access to 56 buses an hour and Supertram.

"All these services have been successful, as the figures show. Patronage on the A1 Shuttle has doubled since it started in August 2003, and the number of passengers using the Manvers Shuttle - now in its fourth year of operation - has increased by 67% since the first year," added Mr Brown.

"The Bradfield Rural Links Network is even more impressive with a 159% increase in travellers since it began; exceeding all our expectations and the targets we set.

"It's all the result of finding what out existing and potential users said they wanted, and by dedicated partnership working."

Notes to editors:

Partnership:
As well as the Transport Executive, the partnership for the three projects includes; Hi-Tec, Powergen, T-Mobile, University of Sheffield, Ventura, Dearne Valley College, South Yorkshire Police, Gala Bingo, Sheffield Business Park, Carcraft, The Magna Centre, Kingfield Heath, Bekaert Fencing, Yorkshire Terrier and Sheffield Community Transport, Bradfield Parish Council, Sheffield City Council, The Countryside Agency, BOSSY (Bus Operators Serving South Yorkshire), First South Yorkshire, Stagecoach Supertram, Morrisons, the Peak District National Park, CPRE and various local interest, community and user groups.

Photographs:
A selection of photographs are available by e-mailing [email protected]

Innovative features:
Other innovations on the Bradfield Rural Links network include:

  • solar powered lighting of bus shelters in rural areas to increase safety and security at isolated locations without the prohibitive expense of laying lengthy electrical connections to the nearest mains supply;
  • three of the services run a 'Hail'n'Ride' policy, which means that between designated points on the route the bus can stop to pick up passengers when hailed;
  • the 'H' Pass is a ticket designed for the Bradfield Rural Links network, where residents with concessionary passes can interchange with all buses and trams at Hillsborough without paying a second fare;
  • the first service to have a Passenger Charter, which consists of a series of promises made by the Transport Executive and Yorkshire Terrier regarding the quality of the service and infrastructure provided. In instances where the service does not meet the expectations set out in the Charter free travel vouchers are available.

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THE COUNTRYSIDE AGENCY BARNSLEY MBC DONCASTER MBC ROTHERHAM MBC SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT