‘Government has shafted South Yorkshire’ – Funding bid for free fares for under 18s, new bus shelters and fare cap rejected by ministers

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has said ministers have ‘shafted South Yorkshire’ for failing to hand millions of pounds for buses in a latest funding announcement.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 2:54 pm

Mayor Jarvis, along with South Yorkshire council leaders, signed off on the Bus Services Improvement Plan – which aimed to bring in a fare cap, new bus shelters and an improved fleet to name a few.

The mayoral combined authority were handed £570 million - £100 million of which is for the first phase of renewing the Supertram network past 2024.

The rest will go towards a range of transport schemes which includes bus priority measures, junction improvements and pothole repairs.

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South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has said ministers have 'shafted' the region after missing out on new bus funding

But there was nothing for South Yorkshire's Bus Services Improvement Plan worth more than £400 million in the latest funding proposal published by the Department for Transport.

West Yorkshire received £75 million while Greater Manchester got £95 million.

The South Yorkshire Bus Services Improvement Plan included:

A cap on daily and weekly fares, plus access to cashless ticketing to create an easy to use system.

A faster, more reliable and punctual system helped by significant bus priority measures.

A better bus experience with new bus shelters, on-street information, backed by a new customer charter to improve passenger journeys.

A new zero emission bus fleet and on-demand bus service.

A proposal to make bus travel free for everyone aged 18 and under in South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire’s rejected funding proposal would have seen 1,500 bus shelters replaced, with 1,250 new real-time displays installed.

Buses would have taken on the same branding irrespective of the operator, and a new all-electric bus fleet introduced before 2040, starting with community transport vehicles.

The wider plan also includes: standardising and extending hours of operation of existing bus lanes; improve pinch-point junctions at identified locations of greatest delay; Major junction improvements on the key road network to include bus priority measures as a core design requirement and develop a pipeline of bus priority improvements across the key road network.

Mayor Jarvis said: “We’ve been shafted. We submitted a visionary and detailed bid to transform our bus services. We needed central government to put its money where its mouth is and back our ambition. They have once again failed the travelling public in South Yorkshire.

“The government’s so-called commitment to levelling up – which supposedly has buses at its heart – is nothing more than an empty promise.”

The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment.