Mayor and local leaders to invest £3.2m to improve South Yorkshire’s bus network

//Mayor and local leaders to invest £3.2m to improve South Yorkshire’s bus network

Published 19th March 2021 at 11:24am

South Yorkshire’s bus network is the backbone of communities and an essential lifeline for workers and families across the region.

That’s why, next week (22 March), Mayor Dan Jarvis and local leaders are set to approve a £3.2 million investment to improve the region’s network, as part of the Mayoral Combined Authority’s recovery plan for the region.

Using the first year of devolved gainshare resource, the investment will deliver long overdue improvements, including:

  • Replacing up to a third of community transport buses with electric vehicles, as a step to reducing emissions.
  • Upgrading up to 300 bus shelters across the region.
  • Installing electronic displays in up to 250 bus stops.

This investment in the bus network follows this week’s announcement that everyone aged 21 and under will pay concessionary fares for bus and tram journeys, a major extension of the current 11 – 18 policy. The announcement was the centrepiece of a South Yorkshire Young People’s Pledge, where the Mayor and leaders are investing more than £23million to support young people with support for their travel costs, skills and to help them find work.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said:

“Our bus services across South Yorkshire have been in managed decline for many years and the comprehensive Bus Review led by Clive Betts MP laid out the challenges we face in stark detail. COVID has only exacerbated the challenge.

“However, I am determined to deliver a better bus network for passengers, and that’s why we’re using our devolved powers and resources to make improvements for passengers now. This is the power of devolution in action, where local leaders can invest in the priorities that matter to people in South Yorkshire. And this is only the beginning. Alongside this investment, we are developing a comprehensive plan to recover and renew our bus network in light of COVID and the Bus Review, including action on fares, services, integration with other forms of transport and the conversion to zero-emission vehicles.

“I’m determined to build a transport network that South Yorkshire’s residents and communities can be proud of. I will also be pressing national government to ensure the promises made in the National Bus Strategy are backed up with the levels of investment we need to see. Currently funding for buses in London is £76 per head: in Sheffield it is £5 – this is unacceptable. I’ll continue to fight our fair share of funding to build the bus network our region needs and deserves, because that is the only ambition that makes sense for South Yorkshire.”

 Clive Betts MP, said:

 “I welcome this announcement as the first step by the Mayor and the Combined Authority towards implementing the proposals in the bus review and creating a better service for all bus users and those who need to be attracted to use buses again. I particularly welcome the concessionary fares scheme extension to the 21-year olds and under.

“Ultimately as the Mayor says, the sort of bus service the people of the city region need and deserve will require significant additional resources from central government as well as additional local support.”