Bus campaign group celebrates the new deal for South Yorkshire trams and sends a message: ‘The game is up’

A group campaigning for bus franchising in South Yorkshire has welcomed the development of getting the trams back under public control and warned private operators saying "the game is up".
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Better Buses for South Yorkshire is celebrating the region getting its trams back under public control for the first time in 27 years and said this "opens the door" to an integrated network under democratic control.

Matthew Topham from Better Buses for South Yorkshire told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "This is a day of celebration when our local transport will be run by and for the people it serves.

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"It opens the door to an integrated transport network under democratic control.

"The mayor’s interventionist on ticking in the first 100 days shows how greater control can deliver for passengers."

When asked what this would mean for his group’s cause – in terms of making bus franchising a reality in South Yorkshire – Mr Topham the "game is up".

He said: "The change to the tram shows the game is up — private control and profiting from public transport is on its way out.

"The public won’t put up with it anymore.

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"Through our roots in neighbourhoods across the region, we know people are hungry and will see it come in."

He said Oliver Coppard, the South Yorkshire mayor, has announced that public control is the preferred option for buses in the region and the next steps were clear: the public must have their say.

He said: "What we need now is to get the plans in front of the public and voted through a consultation.

"The power to take back control will soon sit with us — we invite everyone in our region to join the fight for a service on a par with London and the rest of Europe."

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Trams in South Yorkshire are now back under public control so the focus from making money for shareholders is now shifted to running better services, local leaders said.

Starting on Friday, March 22, South Yorkshire’s tram system is no longer run by Stagecoach and this could result in massive changes in the region’s public transport system for the long term.

Part of the plan is to enhance user experience – to make it a positive experience after all those years of "lack of investment", ask the public’s opinion on policy changes (a survey is already live asking about things like dogs on trams) and completely refurbish the trams by 2027 with a new fleet being rolled out by 2032.