Green Party point finger at Mayor Dan Jarvis for South Yorkshire’s bus funding snub

The Green Party has sought to blame Mayor Dan Jarvis for the government not handing South Yorkshire millions of pounds in bus funding.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 2:06 pm

Sheffield’s Green Party leader, Coun Douglas Johnson and South Yorkshire mayoral candidate Bex Whyman, criticised the outgoing mayor and said his submission was ‘not ambitious enough’.

But Mayor Jarvis hit back and said the comments were ‘nonsense’ and that they were ‘grubbing for votes’ in time for elections.

He added that the plan was ‘bold, ambitious and deliverable’ and laid blame at the Conservative government.

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Bex Whyman, Green Party candidate for South Yorkshire mayor. Credit: George Torr/LDRS

The mayoral combined authority were handed £570 million to renew Supertram past 2024 but there was nothing for buses in the latest funding proposal published by the Department for Transport.

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. Significant bus priority measures. 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. Free bus travel for everyone aged 18 and under in South Yorkshire.

Coun Johnson said: “I am acutely disappointed and frustrated that Sheffield and South Yorkshire have lost out on this major investment in bus services. This can only be bad news for the travelling public trying to get to jobs, homes and friends right across South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire was snubbed in its bid for bus improvement funding

“The Government said it would not fund areas that did not show sufficient ambition, including for improvements to bus priority.

“Sadly, the Bus Service Improvement Plan put forward under the Labour mayor Dan Jarvis’ leadership had so little ambition in it that – if fully successful – it would have meant fewer people using buses in the future.”

Bex Whyman, Green Party candidate for South Yorkshire mayor, added: “Dan Jarvis and the Labour leaders have really let South Yorkshire down at a time when people are crying out for better bus services and bus company employees for better pay and working conditions.

“It’s clear to me that the only way forward is to elect a full time Green mayor, I will disrupt the status quo and fight for the bus services that South Yorkshire deserves”.

Outgoing Labour South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis hit back at the criticism and said it was 'nonsense'.

Responding, Mayor Jarvis said: “This nonsense is focused only on grubbing for votes in the local and mayoral elections — not fighting for the investment that South Yorkshire needs and deserves.

“Our Bus Services Improvement Plan was bold, ambitious and, above all, deliverable. The Conservative Government’s failure to back our plans says far more about their commitment to investing in services and levelling up South Yorkshire than it does about our local ambitions.”

Other candidates running for South Yorkshire mayor include:

David Bettney – SDP Simon Biltcliffe – Yorkshire Party Oliver Coppard – Labour Joe Otten – Liberal Democrats Clive Watkinson – Conservative