Fleet of buses laid on as strike hits festival

Extra buses are being laid on in Sheffield to ferry people home from the city's strike-hit Tramlines music festival this weekend.

Crowds at Tramlines last year

The annual event, which begins today, is being held for the first time in a single venue – the 40,000-capacity Hillsborough Park, three miles north of the city centre.

But a 72-hour pay strike by 200 drivers and conductors on Sheffield’s tram service – after which the festival is named – has been called to coincide with the event.

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Stagecoach, the transport company which runs the Supertram network and the city’s bus services, has said it will run only a limited tram service on the line that connects Hillsborough Park to the city centre. But it will provide a fleet of 30 buses to help ferry concertgoers back to the city after each day’s programme.

They will run from 8pm today and tomorrow, and from 7pm on Sunday.

Matt Davies, managing director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, added: “Tramlines is a fantastic festival and we want this year’s event to be a success. As soon as we were made aware that the strike was going ahead we looked at what we could do to help people get home.”

The tram staff voted by 91 per cent for strike action. Steve Clark, a spokesman for their union, Unite, accused Stagecoach of “waging a nasty propaganda war”.

Tim Bilby, managing director of Supertram, said: “We’re extremely disappointed that the union intends to proceed with this strike action, despite last minute talks and a further revised offer being tabled.”

Mr Bilby had earlier accused Unite of having “deliberately targeted young people and the Tramlines festival”, adding: “It clearly has no thought for the impact on local people and the local economy, which gets a £9m benefit from Tramlines every year.”

Headline acts this year include Stereophonics and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.