Letter: Help support Better Buses

This letter sent to the Star was written by Roy Morris (S10), On behalf of BBSY – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield

By Roy Morris
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 6:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 7:01 am
Sheffield buses
Sheffield buses

So, Dan Jarvis mayor of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) has decided to manage the region’s buses with an Enhanced Partnership (EP) rather than going for franchising (Star, June 8).

This is really disappointing, but people who want a proper bus service for South Yorkshire should not despair: he can start the process to apply for franchising at a later date.

We must continue to put pressure on him to do just that!

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An EP is certainly cheaper than franchising but bus operators like First and Stagecoach can still decide routes, timetables and prices and decide whether to co-operate or not.

Only franchising can give public control of where routes cover, frequency of buses, and much simpler cross-ticketing for us to use with all bus operators.

An EP still allows the operators to prioritise their profits and dividends to shareholders whereas franchising gives SCR (the transport authority) the power to make public service their main priority.

Dan Jarvis has not ruled out franchising completely.

He is aware of how bad the service has got over the years and has said franchising is a possibility at a later date.

He probably thinks it is better to spend what money SCR has on tangible things like better bus shelters, bus time indicators and the like.

I’d guess he also hopes the operators will play ball and work to improve the service.

But their record is pretty poor: between 1986 and 2016, London had franchising and bus use doubled.

During those same 30 years, South Yorkshire’s buses were controlled by the bus operators and bus use halved because fares went up, the service was cut and we couldn’t rely on buses turning up and being on time.

I doubt those operators can guarantee anything other than the same steady decline: higher fares, less frequent buses, loss of services and increasing isolation for more and more people.

If you’d like to show your support for franchising and better buses, please join Better Buses South Yorkshire (BBSY) at their lobby of SCR offices, close to the big Parkway roundabout on Broad Street West (S1 2BQ), 11.30, Friday, June 18.

We look forward to seeing you! (Broad St West is down the side of Wilko in Sheffield City Centre and next to Wilko is called Dixon Lane!)