Free bus suggestion during COP26 climate summit would cost South Yorkshire taxpayer £2.6million
A call to make bus travel free across South Yorkshire during the COP26 climate change talks in Glasgow would cost the taxpayers around £2.6 million, Mayor Dan Jarvis has said.
Jenny Carpenter, from South Yorkshire Climate Alliance, presented a petition which contained 197 signatories calling on free travel from October 31 to November 12 and said the move would ‘highlight to everyone the need for radical action to tackle this climate emergency’.
Ms Carpenter said that transport is the ‘largest source’ of climate pollution in the UK, accounting for over a third of annual omissions.
But the call was rejected by Mayor Jarvis but said the authority was investing in the bus network and had an array of plans to make bus travel more appealing.
The mayor also said £6 million had been spent in subsiding cheap fares for under 21s and a massive £660 million bid had been submitted to government for a range of transport improvements, including greener active travel schemes.
The UK is hosting the climate change conference in the Scottish city and all of the leaders of major countries across the globe are set to attend to discuss what they can do to drive down carbon emissions.
Ms Carpenter said: “We need radical change to how people travel, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid catastrophic climate change and helping to reduce air pollution, road congestion and obesity.
“To do this, we need our public transport systems to become more effective, serve all our communities and be far cheaper. Then people are more likely to choose public rather than private transport.
“COP26 takes place in Glasgow where world leaders will meet for the 26th time to discuss the climate emergency which threatens us all. We need to put the pressure on to make sure they take the decisions needed to avert catastrophe.
“We call on the South Yorkshire mayor to take the measures necessary to ensure that busses across South Yorkshire are free for everyone during the two weeks of COP26. This would highlight to everyone the need for radical action to tackle this climate emergency”.
Mayor Jarvis said: “The Combined Authority had pledged to make major transformations to the bus network and public transport through millions of pounds of investment in the network.
“I would like nothing more than to make the bus travel free during COP26, but speaking candidly, the minimum estimated cost of approximately £2.6 millon of revenue funding, that will be difficult to achieve.
“However, I would like to assure people that we will be looking at the wider issues of affordability, concessions and services through the Bus Services Improvement Plan and the Enhanced Partnership proposal.”