South Yorkshire bus and tram services are to receive a £35 million boost after getting the go-ahead for two major improvement schemes.
Transport minister Baroness Susan Kramer visited Tinsley Viaduct to confirm the go ahead for a £30 million rapid transit bus service between Sheffield and Rotherham.
And £5 million is to be spent on replacing worn out sections of rail on the city’s Supertram network.
The bus system will see special vehicles travelling along a fixed route, only stopping at a limited number of places.
Part of the journey will be run on dedicated bus lanes, with a separate road being built under the M1 motorway at Tinsley.
The service is expected to be operating by 2015, with further routes planned.
The first service, known as the Northern Route, will pass the Meadowhall shopping centre and Sheffield’s Hallam University.
David Young from South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said the bus service was an important part of the economic regeneration of the area.
He said: “Mostly it’s about getting people better access to employment and opening up the employment sites in the Don Valley and also helping people get to those between the two urban centres.”
The Government has already backed a £60 million ‘tram-train’ scheme, due to open in 2014, which will see newly-built vehicles run on tram routes and Network Rail lines between Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham.
Baroness Kramer said the Supertram rail replacement project was equally important.
“An efficient and reliable transport system is critical to any city. The Sheffield Supertram network is an important local feature - it contributes significantly to the growth of the economy and provides reliable and frequent links to many of the key employment and development areas in Sheffield. The funding we are providing demonstrates a commitment to providing communities with access to jobs.”