Calls to reverse child bus fare rise across Sheffield and South Yorkshire

Coun Auckland during a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall in November last year
Coun Auckland during a protest outside Sheffield Town Hall in November last year

Calls have been made to reverse an increase in children's bus fares across South Yorkshire by using millions of 'underspent' money.

Liberal Democrats councillors have hit out at the Sheffield City Region Transport Authority, for cutting concessions for children and young people whilst 'pocketing large savings on pensioner bus passes'.

Buses in Sheffield

Buses in Sheffield

A report seen by The Star showed in the six months from March to September 30, the authority had saved £1.2million on money earmarked for pensioner concessions.

Transport Committee members had been told this was part of a 'national trend' as pensioners’ use their bus passes 'less and less'.

This comes on top of another £2.1 million which was under spent last year. The revenue budget for the 12 months to March 31, 2016 was £68.7m against an initial pot of £71.3m.

Graves Park councillor Ian Auckland and member of the Sheffield City Region Transport Authority has called for the underspend to be used to reverse the hike in child fares, brought in earlier this year.

Buses in Sheffield

Buses in Sheffield

He said “South Yorkshire Council leaders set the budget for the transport authority and earmarked this money for concessions - so it’s a no-brainer to spend it on concessions and reverse the hike in fares for children brought in earlier this year, which disproportionally hits young hardworking families.

"Savings over recent years would have covered many of the reductions in concessions for senior citizens, such as cutting free bus journeys after 11pm and these should be looked at again.

“Yet again Labour politicians in South Yorkshire are pleading poverty saying they have no choice but to slash services and cut concessions, whilst quietly pocketing millions of taxpayer money set aside for concessions for their own priorities.”

A South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive spokesman said: “SYPTE is in the process of producing a budget proposal for the 2017/18 year, which must be financially sustainable.

"Any proposed policy changes will be considered by Sheffield City Region Combined Authority.”

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