Letter: Time for an SY Gold Card

Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris EtchellsMayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells
Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis. Picture: Chris Etchells
This letter sent to the Star was written by Mike Smith, A South Yorkshire Freedom Rider, S70

On August 16, 2020, under Dan Jarvis as Mayor, the combined authority reported that the county’s bus services were found to be substandard in many areas – something the public could have told them years ago. BUT SCR bosses were also seriously considering the option of public ownership through franchising.

There was no mention of Enhanced Partnerships. It was further reported that Dan Jarvis was, “…going to seize this opportunity… to deliver meaningful benefits for our residents – they deserve the best.”

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Last week Dan Jarvis was asked a direct question – “… (Mike Smith) argues the Metro Gold Card is ‘cost-free’ in the North East. Will Mayor Jarvis introduce a similar scheme here? If not, why not?”

The answer just involved Dan Jarvis dodging the question again and not even mentioning the Gold Card. But by doing so he inadvertently confirmed the point that the Gold Card is “cost free” and is as viable here as it is in the North East and simply needs implementing.

As it’s clear that in three years few people in South Yorkshire have seen any “meaningful benefits” let alone anything judged “the best”, can I put forward a suggestion for the mayor? Implement a Gold Card scheme before the summer holidays start for the senior citizen residents for a trial three-year period. During that time it should be relatively easy for a team (in co-operation with transport experts from the Yorkshire universities?) to monitor the social, physical, mental and financial benefits – both personal and for local economies. Jamie Driscoll, North Tyneside Labour Mayor stated: “When people can move around freely, it increases prosperity – every trip taken on the Metro generates £8.50 for the local economy.” Is that “meaningful benefit” enough?

So let’s see the Mayor seize this opportunity not only on behalf of the 300,000 plus elderly but the cafe owners, bars, shops, musicians, cultural centres and so much more. We don’t want what you consider “best” for us – we just want what the senior citizens have across other mayoralties. Why is that so hard for him to understand and get on with?

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