Mayor Ros Jones rubbishes claims South Yorkshire’s rejected £434 million bid for bus improvements ‘wasn’t ambitious enough’

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has rubbished claims South Yorkshire’s rejected £434 million bid was ‘not ambitious enough’ as described by Government ministers.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 2:21 pm

The region didn’t receive a penny in its bid from the Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) which was part of the Prime Minister’s ‘Bus Back Better’ pledging £3bn to overhaul services but then cutting it to £1.2bn.

Regions like West Yorkshire, Manchester, Derbyshire and Cornwall all received between £30 million and £95 million respectively.

The South Yorkshire Bus Services Improvement Plan included:

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Mayor Ros Jones

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

Significant bus priority measures as well as new bus shelters, on-street information, backed by a new customer charter to improve passenger journeys.

A new zero emission bus fleet, an on-demand bus service and free bus travel for everyone aged 18 and under in South Yorkshire was also put in the bid.

Mayor Jones said: “Government has shafted South Yorkshire but I’m always a half full, not half empty person and whoever becomes our new mayor of South Yorkshire needs to go back to them and fight for this.

South Yorkshire didn't receive any money as part of a £434 million bid to Government in bus improvements

“The plan put forward ticked all the boxes they wanted. It was ambitious, and it was about enabling us to rapidly improve our bus services and hopefully look to lower fares and improve reliability of our bus service.

“South Yorkshire is made up of many areas. We’ve got urban and rural and I use Doncaster as a prime example. What services are required in Thorne is different to the service required in the town centre and that’s the same for many parts.

“So what we’ll do is get behind our new mayor and push to get the funding required for South Yorkshire and our region and I will certainly be pushing for Doncaster.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The successful areas receiving indicative allocations from the £1.2bn transformational fund have been chosen because of their ambition to repeat the success achieved in London – which drove up bus usage and made the bus a natural choice for everyone, not just those without cars.

“As the Government stated in last year’s national bus strategy, Bus Back Better, areas not showing sufficient ambition, including for improvements to bus priority, would not be funded.”