South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis hits back at Tory MP Alexander Stafford's calls for new body to run 'abysmal' buses

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis has hit back at a Tory MP’s calls for massive investment in ‘abysmal’ buses saying his own efforts had been ‘continually stymied’ by the Conservative government.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:57 am

Mr Jarvis said he needed government to back its own vision for buses ‘here and now’, whatever happens with franchising.

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He spoke out after Alexander Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley in Rotherham, called for public control of buses - called franchising - to improve ‘abysmal’ services.

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South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis in Sheffield

He wants a new body called Transport for South Yorkshire to dictate where and how often buses run, introduce the same ‘affordable’ fares for all operators and revamp bus stations, stops and shelters with ‘new modern transport interchanges where necessary’.

And he called on mayor Dan Jarvis to use his franchising powers, along with ‘significant Government funding’, to create it.

Mr Jarvis responded: “Our efforts to improve transport services in South Yorkshire have continually been stymied by the persistent failure of Mr Stafford’s Government to provide the investment needed to deliver the service that South Yorkshire passengers deserve.

Alexander Stafford, Rother Valley's Conservative MP.

“Local leaders and I formed the Enhanced Partnership in November last year, which is a vital first step in achieving a transformative transport network in South Yorkshire by allowing local leaders to work together on improving ticketing, routes and frequency of services across the region. That's something we need to crack on with without delay, whatever happens with franchising.

“As Mr Stafford knows, the MCA is due to decide shortly whether to undertake an assessment of a proposed franchising scheme.

“But what we need here and now is for government to back the vision for buses their national strategy says they support - and to provide a fair share of funding for South Yorkshire, that helps us build a local bus network that our people can be proud of.”

Last week, Mr Stafford said the ‘toothless’ South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive was incapable of dealing with the bus crisis and did not have the powers to ‘revolutionise bus travel in our region’.

There is a growing clamour to return buses to public control. Picture: Chris Etchells

He added: “I therefore call on the mayor to work with me to establish Transport for South Yorkshire, and I stand ready to begin discussions with him on this. I look forward to the creation of a transit system in which we can all be proud.”

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