Sheffield is to pilot the first ‘Better Bus Area’ scheme in the country after receiving £18.3 million of funding from the Government.
The grant will be used to improve traffic control as well as infrastructure on city routes including roads to Gleadless, Meadowhead, Heeley Bottom and the Parkway, and also to improve audio visual equipment on buses.
The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, which entered the bid for the grant on behalf of the recently launched Sheffield Bus Partnership, was awarded the money by the Department for Transport.
It said the Better Bus Area scheme should promote economic growth and reduce pollution emissions by improving bus services.
Transport Minister Norman Baker told The Star: “The Better Bus Area scheme will lead to increased punctuality in services and will help to reduce congestion at traffic pinch points.
“We received a great deal of interest from Sheffield in this whole concept. The scheme was there and ready to be used and Sheffield stepped up to the mark.”
The grant combines new government funding with money already paid directly to bus operators.
David Young, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive director of customer experience, said: “An effective bus network is an essential part of a vibrant economy and the Better Bus Area grant will help get transport moving more efficiently on key corridors in Sheffield, support employment and improve air quality.”
The bid submission built on the work that led to the creation of the Sheffield Bus Partnership.
SYPTE and Sheffield Council will work with operators to improve the network and lead to many passengers paying lower fares.
David Sidebottom, Passenger Focus director, said: “The Better Bus Area is potentially good news for Sheffield’s bus passengers as it will deliver investment in infrastructure and new buses.”
Giles Fearnley, First UK Bus Managing Director, said: “This is very good news. The members of the Partnership have already made great strides in improving the quality of bus services but we have plans to do a lot more.”