Dan Jarvis: ‘Many people tell me the buses aren’t good enough’ as South Yorkshire mayor sets out bus review plans
South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis has said many people tell him they ‘don’t think the region's buses are good enough’.
Mr Jarvis, who heads up the Sheffield City Region, added the region has ‘lost its way over the years’ after having a 'longstanding tradition and proud history' of good bus services.
The mayor, who is also MP for Barnsley Central, has asked fellow South Yorkshire MP and former Sheffield Council leader Clive Betts to chair a special review to see where improvements can be made.
The Sheffield South East MP has been asked to ‘consider lots of different options’ and added bringing in a franchise model for South Yorkshire, similar to London, was ‘not off the table’.
Mr Betts is also being instructed to look ‘far and wide’ into good practice overseas as well as working with metro mayors Andy Burnham in Manchester and Steve Rotheram in Liverpool.
The names of those picked for Mr Betts' supporting team are expected to be announced soon.
Mayor Jarvis said: “Most people say to me they don’t think our buses are good enough. We’ve got a really proud, longstanding tradition and history in South Yorkshire of leading when it comes to public transport but I think it’s lost its way over the years.
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“I don’t think our bus services are anywhere near where they need to be and Clive Betts’ review gives us a good opportunity to take advice nationally and internationally with resources and powers available by trying to do something innovative to improve our bus services.
“What I’ve said to him is to look far and wide - that might be good practice in other countries in places like Scandinavia, the rest of Europe or wherever else it is. Let's look to see if there EW lessons we can learn, not just from other parts of the country but the world.”
The mayor stressed this review couldn’t bring about wholesale changes overnight but stressed the north-south funding gap had to be addressed by Government.
“It’s important to understand I don’t have a magic wand that I can wave,” Mayor Jarvis added.
“When I met with Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) he was telling me they receive £700 million from Government every year – we don’t have that support. There’s a very important conversation to be had with ministers about what additional resources they are prepared to invest in our region.
“I want to see them do that and I’ve made the point on numerous occasions both locally and in Parliament that we don’t get our fair share of the cake – there is a massive gulf between London, the South East and South Yorkshire.
“One year on we’re in a stronger position to do that because if you want more money then nobody takes you seriously unless you’ve got a plan for what you’re going to do with it and for the first time, we’ve got that plan.”