Protesters in Sheffield send noisy message to mayor Dan Jarvis: 'take action on buses now'

It was an entertaining, noisy and good-natured protest with a serious message: we need action on buses now.

Monday, 24th January 2022, 1:14 pm
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 4:02 pm

In print, campaigners have castigated mayor Dan Jarvis and the four South Yorkshire council leaders for not committing to taking services back into public control.

But outside a mayoral meeting they used humour to get their point across.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PROTEST?

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Sheffield City Council leader Terry Fox told The Star he thought buses were on ‘life support’ but there were ‘no blank cheques’.

One banner showed the five leaders apparently asleep on a bus. Another said: ‘Enough blah, blah, blah, re-regulate South Yorkshire buses’.

They also sang SYMCA (South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority) song based on the 1978 Village People hit. It starts: ‘Hey Dan, what are you gonna do?’

And Richard Teasdale and Janice Brown, of Act Now Sheffield, dressed up as a super hero and ‘the world’ to ‘make a drama out of a crisis’.

The demo saw 50 people gather outside the mayor’s office on Broad Street West in Sheffield city centre.

Climate protesters outside the South Yorkshire mayor's office in Sheffield

WHO ATTENDED?

It was organised by Better Buses for South Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Climate Alliance and attended by Sheffield Heeley Constituency Labour Party, Burngreave Clean Air, We Own It, Sheffield TUC and Socialist Worker.

The noise appeared to upset a manager at the Travelodge, who had words with staff in the mayor’s office. The fuss also allowed Sheffield City Council leader Terry Fox to enter the building unnoticed.

He told The Star he thought buses were on ‘life support’ but there were ‘no blank cheques’.

The demonstration was organised by Better Buses for South Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Climate Alliance and attended by Sheffield Heeley Constituency Labour Party, Burngreave Clean Air, We Own It, Sheffield TUC and Socialist Worker.

Franchising would be costly, but as yet no one knows how much, he added.

“We can’t commit to it until we know the cost.”

The next step was to work up a business case, he added.

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Richard Teasdale and Janice Brown, of Act Now, Sheffield, dressed up as a super hero and the world to ‘make a drama out of a crisis’.

Last week, mayor Jarvis said the MCA would discuss franchising at the meeting and this would ‘initiate the process of deciding whether we move ahead with the statutory investigation’.

A decision on whether to do that will be announced in early March, he added.

Fran Postlethwaite, of Better Buses for South Yorkshire, said buses should be ‘cheap or free’ and connect with trains and trams so they become first choice for travel.

She added: “We want to end the domination of private profit, which is how buses are run at the moment.”

One banner showed the five local authority leaders apparently asleep on a bus. Another said: ‘Enough blah, blah, blah, re-regulate South Yorkshire buses’.

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Fran Postlethwaite, of Better Buses for South Yorkshire, with Richard Teasdale of Act Now Sheffield as a climate 'super hero' behind.