South Yorkshire bus review is finished but publication on hold

A major review into the state of South Yorkshire’s buses is ready for publication - but the report has been delayed due to Covid-19.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:10 pm

The Sheffield City Region bus review was set up by mayor Dan Jarvis to look at the present state of services and what can be done to improve the situation.

Over the last decade, the number of people using them has fallen by nearly 20 per cent.

A survey held last year revealed that many residents had negative feelings towards buses citing route cuts and expensive fares.

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Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis

Mr Jarvis appointed Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts to appoint a panel of commissioners and to oversee the group.

Although not published, councillors have heard the report highlighted four key challenges for the bus system that had emerged from the evidence gathered:

The network faced ‘significant bus reliability and frequency challenges’;

There was ‘inadequate connectivity’ between bus routes and with other modes of transport;

The system was ‘overly complicated’ and difficult to navigate;

There was an ‘inconsistent quality’ of network;

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Mr Jarvis has previously said buses in the region are ‘not good enough’ and asked Mr Betts to leave no suggestion off the table.

For more than a year, the panel has been asking residents, community groups and businesses on their views about how the bus service could be improved.

The commissioners have also travelled to other cities like Nottingham, Reading and Slough to see how they operate services.

Some South Yorkshire councillors have urged Mr Jarvis to implement a bus franchise system which would bring services under the combined authority with the power to set fares and routes.

It’s understood Mr Betts has finished his findings, but the report is being held back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coun Colin Ross, SCR scrutiny board chairman, said: “I enquired with officers where we were with the bus review.

“It is ready to be published, but because of the Covid-19 shutdown, it was decided to delay its publication until such times it could receive the proper public attention.

“It was hoped this would be coming along fairly shortly, but we don’t have a date as yet.”

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