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South Yorkshire's Mayor slams government following the latest round of bus cuts


Published 31 July 2023 at 2:00pm

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard has today called the Government’s funding for South Yorkshire’s buses “completely unacceptable” as they impose further cuts to public transport in the region.

At today’s Mayoral Combined Authority Board meeting (Mon 31st July), the Mayor and local Leaders confirmed a series of measures to protect as many routes and services as possible across the region.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said:

“The government’s promises to level-up by giving us a ‘London style transport system’ are in tatters. In the most recent round of funding, we got just 15% of the money going to other areas. I simply won’t accept that the people of South Yorkshire get just a fraction of the funding received by other communities here in the north, they are our friends and neighbours who I work for and represent.

Make no mistake, the bus network in our region is broken. We’ve been failed by the privatisation of our buses and a series of governments who haven’t fixed the problem. And now we’re facing further cuts to routes, changes to services, and even having to stop some vital cheaper fares because the government have again cut the money for South Yorkshire’s buses.

Every day, people across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield are having to deal with a bad bus network that is getting worse. We used to have a world-class public transport system here in South Yorkshire, but now we can’t rely on our buses, even to do the bare minimum: to get to work, to hospital or college, or to see friends and family.

Locally, we’re doing everything we can to protect the network and fight these cuts. Every year we spend around £70 million pounds on our public transport system. We’re now using every available penny of our financial reserves to save as many routes as possible. But cuts to the funding we get from the government now mean our buses are going to get even worse.

I’ve today written to the government demanding that they get around the table and look again at funding for South Yorkshire. We deserve and need a fair deal. At the very least we deserve the same support as other places in the north.”


Notes to editors:

· South Yorkshire and regions like it were promised a ‘London-style transport network’ by 2030 by the government. In 2022 Government committed over £1bn to Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP). South Yorkshire was, however, the only Mayoral Combined Authority that was not awarded funding. Greater Manchester received c. £95m, West Midlands £88m, and West Yorkshire c.£70m.

· In May 2023, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that £300 million would be made available to Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) to continue a level of support for locally funded bus services from July 2023 until April 2025. In July 2023, the DfT confirmed that South Yorkshire would receive an allocation of £6.3m, which is around 50% of previous support funding and less than then £7.75m expected to be received by West Yorkshire.

· This level of funding is nowhere near sufficient to protect all services and fare incentives. To try and close the gap, South Yorkshire will take c. £11m from reserves, savings and locally generated resource to protect as many services as possible.

· Since October 2022, South Yorkshire has seen a 15% network loss based on trips. Bus services in the last 10 years have fallen from 588 services to 338 services. That equates to 9.3 million miles of the region’s bus services lost.

· At today’s Mayoral Combined Authority board meeting (Mon 31st July), the mayor and local leaders voted to remove the Zoom Beyond 18-21 concession for bus passengers, effective from November.

· From the 1st November, the child concessionary fares will rise from 80p per trip to £1 per trip on bus and tram and the Zoom Beyond concessionary pass will be removed. Child fares are for those under 18 and the Zoom Beyond pass is for 18-21 year olds.

· Mayor Oliver Coppard has today written to schools, colleges and care leaver groups from across the region to discuss what mitigations can be put in place to reduce the financial impact.


Last Updated: 21/11/2023

Published In: Transport, Mayor, Featured


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