South Yorkshire MP Alexander Stafford calls for new body to run 'abysmal' buses

A South Yorkshire MP is calling for a new public body to take control of buses to improve ‘abysmal’ services.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 7:28 pm

Alexander Stafford wants a new organisation 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’.

Mr Stafford said there was ‘no reason’ why South Yorkshire ‘cannot have one of the most exciting and efficient integrated transport systems in the whole country’.

And he called on the leader of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Mayor Dan Jarvis, to use the franchising powers he has been given by the Government, along with significant Government funding, to make it happen.

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Alexander Stafford, Rother Valley's Conservative MP.

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Mr Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley in Rotherham, is the latest local politician to call for greater public control of bus services which some claim have deteriorated since privatisation in 1987.

In December, Sheffield Council leader Terry Fox called an emergency meeting with First and Stagecoach bosses before Christmas over route cancellations.

Both firms have a shortage of drivers due to Covid and competition from better wages and conditions elsewhere.

Mr Stafford said: “The creation of Transport for South Yorkshire does not mean renationalising the buses, which would not be possible with existing capital, or even desirable, but we must recognise that the current bus privatisation model has not worked.

“South Yorkshire has a population of 1.8 million people, making the region one of the UK’s major metropolitan areas. We need a world-class integrated mass transit system to match, and we must start with our regional bus network.

“The capital has Transport for London and our near neighbours across the Pennines have Transport for Greater Manchester. Why should excellent buses be the preserve of those living in Greater London or Greater Manchester?“

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’, he added.

“I therefore call on the mayor to work with me to establish Transport for South Yorkshire. I look forward to the creation of a transit system in which we can all be proud and which is long overdue in South Yorkshire.”

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