South Yorkshire bus and tram network gets last-minute bailout

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Public transport in South Yorkshire has been handed a multi-million pound bailout after metro mayor Dan Jarvis warned services could be mothballed.

South Yorkshire will receive part of a £256 million national package to boost bus and tram networks, after recent coronavirus restrictions meant more people staying at home.

Recent reports showed revenue plummeted and some routes were operating with just 10 per cent of its usual passenger numbers.

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Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, South Yorkshire MPs and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive wrote to transport minister Grant Shapps to ask for help.

Buses and a tram on Church Street, Sheffield. Pic Google.Buses and a tram on Church Street, Sheffield. Pic Google.
Buses and a tram on Church Street, Sheffield. Pic Google.

Government funding provided in May to support essential bus and tram services ceased on August 3.

Bus services across the country will receive up to £218.4 million of support over the next eight weeks, with rolling funding at up to £27.3 million per week afterwards.

A 12-week agreement of £2.9 million will be provided to SCR to support Stagecoach Supertram.

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SYPTE executive director Stephen Edwards, said: “The Government’s financial help has been critical in ensuring South Yorkshire’s public transport network can continue to connect people to the places they need to be, safely.

“This additional funding is a welcome boost in our bid to maintain services, as far as possible, as the region begins to recover from coronavirus. However, as this funding is time limited, we would urge government to commit to a longer-term settlement to support the re-start of the local economy.

“We are building back to a new normal, with more people relying on bus and tram travel as workplaces and schools return. And we want passengers to be confident that they can choose to travel by public transport.

“But services will continue to be different for a while. That’s why we’re asking people to plan ahead and, where possible, to be flexible about when they travel. Think about whether it’s possible to walk or cycle instead, check if you can avoid peak times, and travel smart to keep yourself and others safe.”