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First Mainline Buses provide public transport facilities for the whole of South Yorkshire. Personally, I have never really liked using buses, as the service that you receive, varies dramatically from bus to bus.
SPOT THE BUSES
There are two types of First Mainline buses currently in circulation. Both are manufactured by Volvo and can be either single of double deckers. Single deckers have a capacity of about forty people sitting and eighteen people standing. Double deckers have almost double this capacity.
The first type of bus is mainly yellow with a red horizontal stripe at both the top and the bottom of the bus. There is also a First Mainline logo in red on the side. You enter these buses from the front, where the driver is situated, usually via a couple of steps. Most of these buses have several rows of seats at either side with brown covers that have either a red, orange and yellow speckled pattern all over or a wide vertical red, orange and yellow stripe. However, some of these buses have a large luggage compartment with space for a single pram or buggy opposite.
The second type of bus is mainly white with lilac and violet horizontal stripes at the top and the bottom of the bus. The First Mainline logo again appears on the side but in the lilac and violet colours instead. You also enter these buses at the front where the driver is situated. These buses also have a ramp at the door can lifted up and out onto the pavement to allow wheel chair users to enter the bus. Most of these buses have both a space for a wheel chair and a space for a pram on the opposite site. The seats tend to have a bit more legroom on these buses, making the journey a little more comfortable. The seats have covers, which are mainly lilac with blue, violet and white vertical stripes on.
The cost of travelling via First Mainline has recently been increased for most users. Here are some examples of the prices:
Concessionary Fares (eg for children under sixteen and pensions) are 35p per single journey.
An All Day Saver will cost £2.50 if you buy it in peak times (ie before 9am) or just £2.20 if bought in off peak times.
A Weekly Saver will cost £10 per week for each individual city (eg just Sheffield or just Rotherham), but will cost £12 per week to cover you travel for the whole of South Yorkshires.
A Student Week Saver is £2 cheaper than the prices of the normal Weekly Savers on production of students valid NUS or Student College Card.
There are many other alternatives for single travel and monthly travel as well.
First Mainline work as part of South Yorkshire Transport. As a result, they provide a wide variety of services linked to their standard bus service.
The Customer Services at the main bus stations, provide useful and easy to understand information about First Mainline Bus routes and timetables. They can also chase up any lost properties claims for you by contacting the depot. The staff are often very friendly and helpful.
The South Yorkshire Travel Line (01709 515151), also provide you with up to date information about First Mainline Bus routes and timetables. This is a quick and easy service to use and the lines are open Mondays to Saturdays. I have found that the staff are again very helpful and have good Customer Service skills whilst dealing with you query on the phone.
The Travel Executive provides a whole range of travel passes that can be used on both First Mainline buses and other forms of public transport. One example is the Travel Master, which is accepted on all First Mainline buses, all other bus services, trains and trams with the boundaries of the district where the ticket is bought (eg South Yorkshire Boundary). There are often two types of these passes. The first is a scratch card where anyone can use it provided they present it to the driver on entering a d bus for example. The other is a photo card, which can only be used by the person identified on the photo card. I think that these are the most sensible option as travel passes can be very expensive if you loose them.
Some bus drivers are very friendly with excellent customer service skills. Some on the other hand have a lot to learn about providing a good service. Some bus drivers will wait until you have sat down before setting off (which I think is good for the older generations in our society) and others just cannot wait to put their foot down as soon as you get on the bus. It also depends on which bus service you are using, some routes have buses as regular as every five minutes and others only have buses running every hour. School bus routes tend to be really uncomfortable with all the children over crowded on the bus and then they are left in a terrible mess with all the sweet wrappers and crisp packets thrown all over.
In conclusion to all what I have said above, I personally would recommend First Mainline buses to anyone who wants to travel in South Yorkshire and is unfamiliar with the area as the bus driver will often call out when they reach your stop if you ask them too. However, I would not particularly recommend them for regular use as the service can vary dramatically form journey to journey.