Conservative Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford, who led a Westminster Hall debate on the issue of public transport in South Yorkshire, took aim at outgoing metro mayor and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis for failing to secure any money from the recent Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP).
The detailed proposal would have resulted in South Yorkshire receiving money for free fares for under 18s, new bus priority routes, and state-of-the-art shelters, fare caps, cashless ticketing systems and a new zero emission fleet.
Mr Stafford, who took aim at the South Yorkshire mayor, said the £400 million plus bid was ‘not ambitious enough’ and cited that Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire managed to secure funding.
He also called for a body to be set up called Transport for South Yorkshire, with similar towers to TfL in the capital.
Mayor Jarvis hit back and said Mr Stafford ‘needed to do his homework’ and ‘was nowhere to be seen’ when the bid was being prepared.
Mr Stafford said: “Transport for South Yorkshire must deliver on important objectives, led chiefly by what residents of Rother Valley, so often overlooked in favour of those living in Rotherham or Sheffield, want to see.
“This means delivering a fully integrated bus service with more frequent services, subsidised pricing for less commercial routes and levelling up physical and digital bus infrastructure.
“It is clear that the current leadership in South Yorkshire has no vision for our area and is more concerned with attacking the Government than fixing the problems we have. That is why we need a bold plan to revolutionise transport for our region, which will be delivered by Transport for South Yorkshire
In response, Mayor Jarvis said: “The Conservative Government, slavishly supported at every turn by Mr Stafford, has consistently let down the travelling public in South Yorkshire and failed to deliver the much needed investment in our bus services.
“We put forward an ambitious and achievable BSIP and didn’t receive a penny in investment; that tells you all you need to know about this Government’s commitment to levelling up South Yorkshire.
“It beggars belief that the member for Rother Valley – who was nowhere to be seen when the graft was being done to prepare the bid or the work to lobby Government for investment – now seeks to make political capital out of his own Government’s shameful track record of failure.”
The full debate can be viewed here: