Bus review: Sheffield Council could have more control over buses

Sheffield councillors had their say on a huge review of the region’s bus services, which could see changes in fares, routes and council control.
Bus services.Bus services.
Bus services.

Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region mayor, launched the year-long process in February. MP Clive Betts will chair the review and gather evidence from bus operators, passengers and local politicians with a selected panel.

The plans were brought to Sheffield Council’s scrutiny committee for discussion on the best way forward.

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Councillor Bryan Lodge, representative for Birley ward, said: “It’s the right time to be doing this to get a better understanding of what we need out there.

“This is a great opportunity to try and get important information together so we can make fact-based decisions and not just rely on what feels like a good thing to do or the commercial decision, because that doesn’t serve our communities.

“We really need to stop this predominance of getting people out in cars. It’s aspirational for a 17-year-old to get out in a car – when I was growing up you never even considered it because we had a bus service that was superb – it got to where you wanted to and it was cheap. That’s got to be achievable again.”

Coun Dianne Hurst, representative for Richmond ward, said: “I wholeheartedly agree with what Coun Lodge said.

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“We need to get those very real experiences of what it’s like and put them into the sausage machine to get something that brings people back to using buses.”

It follows reports that bus usage across the country has fallen significantly, with the number of journeys declining by 90 million in the past year.

Jo Kaczmarek, of Sheffield City Region, said to gather public opinions they are currently promoting a survey, will be announcing a formal call for evidence and, after summer, holding public discussion sessions.

They also plan to work with three different research centres to gather and analyse data on things such as bus fares and passengers.

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Both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Unions, which collectively represent 62,000 people, have also called for concessions for students on fares. Ms Kaczmarek said there had been a decline in students using bus services, and a rise in use of taxis and private vehicles.

Friday, September 6 is the closing date for written submissions, which can be made via Sheffield City Region’s website https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MCVNLH6