Immediate future secured for rural bus service as long term funding solution investigated
A council-funded bus service for rural communities around Penistone is being given more cash to ensure its survival this year – with the hope it can eventually become free of local authority support to secure its long term future.
The circular service was introduced using South Pennine Community Transport around 18 months ago, with cash support from Penistone Area Council, a body which has a budget from Barnsley Council to spend on improving the community in that area.
It proved highly popular and has already been extended once, with the area council – made up of councillors representing the two Penistone wards – agreeing to support it again.
This year’s grant is reduced, however, because increased passenger numbers mean the service is getting closer to breaking even.
The hope is now that the area council will be able to end its commitment without scrapping the service. It was introduced after cuts to buses in the district, following a timetable review which had to be introduced following the collapse of bus firm Tates, which operated most routes around Penistone.
Coun Dave Griffin said: “South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive were concerned it would not last a year.
“It is moving into its second year and is a success. We are eager to get involved in Mayor Jarvis’s review of public transport to show him what our investment in Penistone is achieving,” he said.
Coun Robert Barnard added: “The subsidised bus has been a success, from a slow start.
“I would like to get to a position where it is totally sustainable. I would like to find some way of linking it to Sheffield.”