First South Yorkshire

First South Yorkshire
First South Yorkshire
First South Yorkshire service 81 passing Sheffield Town Hall in 2009
Parent FirstGroup
Founded 1998, formerly Mainline Group Ltd
Headquarters Midland Road, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England
Service area Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, North East Derbyshire, Peak District, East Riding of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire
Service type Bus services
Hubs Hillsborough Interchange
Fleet Wright Eclipse Gemini
Wright Eclipse
Alexander Dennis Trident
Wright Renown
Alexander PS
Optare Solo
and more
Daily ridership 90 Million/year
Web site Official Website

First South Yorkshire is the largest bus operator in South Yorkshire, England. As a division of FirstGroup the company's legal name was, for a time, Mainline which operated it between 1993 and 1998, following the sale South Yorkshire Transport (SYT) to its employees.



SYT was eventually sold to its employees in 1993, and it became Mainline Group Limited.[citation needed] It was bought by First Group in 1998, operating at first as First Mainline and then First South Yorkshire.[citation needed]

SYT's head office was moved from SYPTE's HQ in Exchange Street, Sheffield to Amos Road in Meadowhall and at the time of the company's formation its central works was located on Queens Road in Sheffield, although this later closed. Under First ownership, Herries Road, Leadmill Road, Greenland Road and recently, Halfway garages have all been closed with only the Olive Grove garage remaining in Sheffield.[citation needed] The head office is now based at Midland Road garage in Rotherham.


Under SYT, Mainline began as a trade name for the main routes, starting in Sheffield in 1989. Buses traded with Sheffield Mainline names in a bright red and yellow livery, replacing the beige/red livery used before. It was followed by Doncaster Mainline in a silver grey and red livery relieved by a light yellow band and finally Rotherham Mainline, whose buses ran in blue and yellow. In 1992 the locality was dropped from the logo when Mainline became the fleetname, the livery based on the former Sheffield Mainline red and yellow, but with silver and blue bands added. Mainline operated most bus services in South Yorkshire over that time (thanks in the main to the former monopoly position of SYT), though other operators such as Leon Motors, Wilfreda Beehive, Andrew's of Sheffield and Yorkshire Terrier started making inroads. The company was generally popular with passengers, and boasted an extensive network with low fares and modern vehicles.[citation needed] Mainline was sold to its employees in 1993, though Stagecoach bought a 20% stake in the company not long after. This had to be sold off in 1995, at which point the newly created FirstBus took this stake.

First Mainline

Mainline was taken over by First Group in 1998, and became First Mainline. A simplified livery of just red and yellow was introduced, reminiscent of the original 1989 Sheffield Mainline livery. The name was altered again to First South Yorkshire. Since about 2000, vehicles began being repainted in First Group corporate livery (nicknamed "Barbie" by enthusiasts). There are three versions of the livery: the main corporate livery, a livery intended for buses pre 1998 but this livery is being slowly phased out, and a revised version of the original livery.



A First South Yorkshire Wright Eclipse Gemini

First received a large batch of Volvo B10BLEs in 1999 as well as a number of Volvo B7Ls (most from First Manchester) and B7TLs between 2002–2004; most of these were however allocated to Sheffield, where 10 Volvo B7TLs/Wright Eclipse Gemini also entered service during summer 2006. Secondhand Volvo Olympians (Northern Counties) were cascaded from London and now make up the entire step entrance double decker fleet.

Save for the 10 Geminis, the fleet changed very little from 2003 until 2007 when First invested £6.4 million in 38 new double-decker buses.[1] Twenty Volvo B9TL/Wright Eclipse Gemini double-decker buses arrived to upgrade the X78 route to low-floor operation; these new buses entered service on 1 June 2007. All twenty buses are now based at Rotherham Midland Road Garage although previously they were to be shared with Doncaster Leger Way depot. Doncaster received the remaining 18 of these buses in early 2008. These operate services 50, 55 and 78 as part of the Woodlands to Rossington Quality Bus Corridor. Shortly afterwards, an order for 58 more of the same buses was announced, and the majority of these have now entered service in Sheffield on routes 47/48/75/76.

A First Plaxton President bus arriving at Crystal Peaks

Dennis Dominators were the main double deckers in the fleet with over 300 at one time. These have steadily been withdrawn and the last ran in service on 26 July 2006. A large number of Volvo B10Ms with Alexander PS bodywork (new to Mainline) are still in service although some of the older ones have been converted to driver training buses, some of the others are still in service while the rest are operating in Scotland with First Glasgow, and a large batch of the newest ones were recently cascaded to Glasgow. The latest wave of new buses has allowed many of the older B10Ms to finally leave the fleet, and has also seen off the last of the step entrance Plaxton Pointers (both Dennis Dart and Volvo B6 chassis example were operated, indeed two of the latter remain in service albeit with Alexander Dash bodywork).

As of September 2010 the following bus types are operated:[citation needed]


First South Yorkshire run services in Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. Due to bus services history and number changes, some routes share service numbers within South Yorkshire.

Service X78 is a limited stop service which goes from Sheffield Interchange via Meadowhall, Rotherham and arriving an hour and a half later in Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange. From Monday to Saturday it operates every ten minutes during the day and every fifteen minutes on Sundays and week day evenings.

Service 91, Airport Services, departs from Doncaster Frenchgate Interchange and arrives approximately twenty-eight minutes later at Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport. This bus has luggage racks for passengers located at the front of the bus.

First also run Peak District services; 51A and 272, from Sheffield, across the South Yorkshire boundary and into Derbyshire in the Peak District. Local or South Yorkshire FirstDay/Week/Month tickets are only valid up to the Sheffield boundary. Special day tickets must be purchased on board to travel on First South Yorkshire buses in Derbyshire. See ticketing

First also ran 215, 218, 240 to the Peak District, but as of 27 April 2009 First withdrew these services, and TM Travel operate these routes on behalf of Derbyshire County Council.


First have branded some services as Overground on bus services with high frequency during the daytime. Based on the London Underground network where each frequent service is given a recognisable colour, each Overground service is, in addition to its running number, colour coded. The concept is now a prominent fixture throughout all First bus companies in the UK. Most buses on the Overground run to a frequency of ten minutes, although some run every fifteen to twenty minutes, a few routes in certain areas may even run on a frequency under ten minutes.

Number Branding From To Via Notes
Pink Stannington (11)(11A)
Hall Park Head (12)
Sheffield City Centre Stannington Road, Malin Bridge, Hillsborough Interchange, Langsett Road and Shalesmoor
14 Turquoise Woodhouse
Stradbroke, Hyde Park, Shalesmoor, Langsett Road, Hillsborough Interchange and Wisewood
Lime Green Hemsworth Hillsborough Woodseats (20A), Norton, Chesterfield Road, City Centre, Wicker, Burngreave, Pitsmoor, Northern General Hospital, Longley, Southey Green, Wadsley Bridge and Leppings Lane Services from 2030 hours are run by Stagecoach Sheffield.
22 Green Nether Edge Woodhouse Sharrow, City Centre, Hyde Park, Manor Park and Stradbroke
Orange Fulwood (120)
Crystal Peaks (42, 44)
Killamarsh (49)
Halfway (120)
Sheffield (42, 44, 49)
120: Nether Green, Ranmoor, Broomhill, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, City Centre, Duke Street, City Road, Manor Top, Intake, Frechville, Hackenthorpe and Crystal Peaks

42: Hackenthorpe, Dyke Vale Road, Frechville, Intake, Manor Top, City Road and Granville Road
44: Birley, Base Green, Hollinsend Road, Intake, Manor Top and Granville Road

Part of the Travel South Yorkshire 'Optio' network.
Olive Herdings Shiregreen 47: Heeley, Bramall Lane, City Centre, Nursery Street, Pitsmoor, Fir Vale, Northern General Hospital and Firth Park

48: Hemsworth, Newfield Green, Olive Grove Road, Bramall Lane, City Centre, Nursery Street, Pitsmoor, Fir Vale, Northern General Hospital and Firth Park

51 Yellow Charnock Lodge Moor Gleadless Town End, Hollisend, Arbourthorne, Olive Grove Road, Queen's Road, Bramall Lane, City Centre, West Street, Western Bank, University of Sheffield, Western Park, Broomhill and Crosspool
Red Crookes Woodhouse Station Crookes, Broomhill, Western Park, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, West Street, City Centre, Wicker, Darnall and Hansworth
53 Brown Bradway Ecclesfield Meadowhead, Woodseats, Queen's Road, City Centre, Nursery Street, Neepsend, Hillsborough, Wadsley Bridge and Parsons Cross Services before 1900 terminate at Low Edges instead of Bradway.
56 Salmon Sheffield Wybourn Park Hill and Hyde Park
73 Violet Sheffield Ecclesfield Wicker, Burngreave, Shirecliffe, Firshill, Southey Green and Parson Cross
Blue Jordanthorpe (75)
Low Edges (76)
High Green (75)
Ecclesfield (76)
Batemoor (75), Greenhill (76), Meadowhead (75), Beauchief (76), Woodseats, Abbydale Road, City Centre, Wicker, Burngreave, Pitsmoor, Fir Vale, Firth Park, Sheffield Lane Top and Chapeltown (75)/Sicey Avenue (76)
82 Purple Ecclesall Sheffield Banner Cross, Hunters Bar and Collegiate Crescent
95 Mauve Walkley Sheffield Commonside, Crookesmoor, University of Sheffield, Western Bank and West Street
Claret Ecclesfield Totley (97)
Totley Brook (98)
Southey Green, Northern General Hospital, Pitsmoor, Burngreave, Wicker, City Centre, Abbeydale Road, Milhouses, Abbey Lane, Abbeydale and Baslow Road (97)/Furniss Road (98) Circulars around Ecclesfield
Red Maltby Rotherham Bramley, Wickersley Circulars in Maltby
Pink Blackburn (7)
Kimberworth Park (8)
Rotherham Kimberworth
15 Orange East Herringthorpe Rotherham Clifton Park Circular
Peach Sheffield (32)
Treeton (33)
Rotherham Brinsworth, Canklow
37 Green Thrybergh Rotherham Herringthorpe
39 Mauve Kimberworth Park Rotherham
Yellow Kimberworth Park Rotherham Circulars
15 Indigo Edlington Doncaster Warmsworth, Balby Circular around Edlington
16 Orange Broomhouse Lane Doncaster Balby
Green Dryden Road Doncaster Balby Road
49 Sky Sprotbrough Doncaster Circular around Sprotbrough
Mauve Skellow Doncaster Scawthorpe
Pink Rossington Doncaster Circulars around Rossington
57 Brown Goodison Boulevard Doncaster Cantley
63 Yellow Bentley Doncaster Circular around Bentley
66 Purple Intake Doncaster Shaftesbury Avenue
71 Salmon Greenfield Lane Doncaster
Turquoise Clay Lane (76/76A)
Wheatley Hills (77)
Doncaster Wheatley, Wheatley Park
Claret Woodlands Doncaster Sunnyfields Circulars around Woodlands
Blue West Moor Park (81)
Parkway (82)
Doncaster Armthorpe, Doncaster Royal Infirmary Circulars around Armthorpe
Lime Green Hatfield Doncaster Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall, Barnby Dun, Dunsville, Dunscroft Circulars around Hatfield (83/85)
Red Moorends (87)
Goole (88/88A)
Doncaster Rawcliffe (88/88A), Moorends, Thorne, Edenthorpe
22 Claret Rotherham Barnsley Stairfoot, Wombwell, Wath upon Dearne, Rawmarsh

Other services

  • 4 Millhouses - Darnall
  • 30: Dore - Hunters Bar - Sheffield - Birley - Crystal Peaks or Plumbley
  • 39 Sheffield - Chancet Wood/Batemoor
  • 57'58' Sheffield - Hillsborugh - Worrall - Oughtibridge - Deepcar - Stocksbridge
  • X78 is not an Overground route but is listed in the Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster Overground maps.


FirstDay is for unlimited travel on all services in South Yorkshire, and costs £4.80. Local FirstDay tickets, covering Sheffield, Rotherham or Doncaster only, are available for £4.30. A FirstDay Group ticket is available to groups of two adults and a maximum of three children for £8.50.

FirstDay GreenZone is for unlimited travell on all services within a smaller area of the FirstDay in Doncaster for £3.[2]

FirstWeek is for unlimited travel for a week on all South Yorkshire services for £19.50. A local FirstWeek ticket for Sheffield only is £17.50, while a Doncaster or Rotherham ticket is £16.

FirstXtra is for people who buy a local FirstDay/Week/Month/Term ticket and want to travel to another town for £1.

The Centro is a ticket for Sheffield City Centre for 50p and Doncaster Town Centre for 40p.

Students can travel for 70p on the Unilink service if valid student ID is shown.[3]

Other tickets: Children under 5 are free, Children aged 16 and under and students aged 16–18 can travel for 50p if they show a valid pass.[4] Dogs cost 40p. These apply to all bus operators in South Yorkshire.

First also do special offers on certain Overground routes. Such as the Red Line and Orange Line. A FirstDay Red or a FirstDay Orange specific for that route is for £3, a FirstWeek for £9.


First lost many routes to other competition recently, particularly in Sheffield. Some routes are either shared with another company or completely run by a competitor. Routes 4/6/7/17/20/20A/33/272 are all now shared with other operators; this caused Stagecoach Sheffield and TM Travel ridership to increase and First's large share of the market to decrease dramatically.

First attracted criticism for raising fares four times in 2005,[5] raising the cost of a 5-10 minute journey to £1.60 as of February 2007, as well as for cutting a number of services. But the fares for the 51 service (Charnock-Lodge Moor via City Centre and back) were frozen. Referring to low passenger numbers in an interview, First South Yorkshire's managing director, Gary Nolan. said that on some routes. his drivers were "carting fresh air about" and, as such, it was uneconomical to maintain current service levels.

The company also attracted criticism from national journalists[who?] who launched an investigation into why First introduced several price rises in just two years whilst regional competitors such as Arriva and Stagecoach managed to cap their fare rises. The group's then financial director Nicola Shaw attributed the increases in fares to rising oil prices, despite the fact that in on press releases the group has said that it had hedged all of its fuel purchases to offset the rising cost of oil.

The company was also criticised[by whom?] for the seating comfort of newer vehicles and for withdrawing the 'bendibus' from the roads of Sheffield. The company later went on to explain that the vehicles had been withdrawn 'due to their mileage', but these were later found to be in service at both Bristol airport and in Bath.

The company has suffered from poor industrial relations with drivers striking on many occasions due to pay and working conditions.[citation needed] In such strikes, management employees tried to run a skeleton service by driving the buses themselves.

See also


  1. ^ First Investing £6.4 million In New Buses For Region First South Yorkshire website . Retrieved 6 April 2007. Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
  2. ^ FirstDay GreenZone First South Yorkshire. Retrieved 16 May 2011. Archived 16 May 2011 at WebCite
  3. ^ Unilink Fares FirstGroup - UK Bus South Yorkshire . Retrieved 17 October 2008. Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
  4. ^ MegaTravel Pass Travel South Yorkshire . Retrieved 20 2009. Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite
  5. ^ Fares up Sheffield Today by the Sheffield Star . Retrieved 29 October 2005. Archived 1 January 2011 at WebCite

External links

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