South Yorkshire leaders submit £50m bid to Government for improving public transport
South Yorkshire leaders have submitted a multi-million pound bid for new bus lanes, state-of-the-art transport shelters and ticket machines at stops to improve journeys on buses and trams.
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis and the four council leaders have agreed the £50 million bid as part of a package of schemes through the Government’s Levelling Up Fund
The bid includes updating and upgrading bus and tram shelters with more live information displays and replacing a fleet of community buses with electric vehicles.
The investment plan also includes pre-payment machines, contactless technology on all buses and trams and additional seating and support at shelters.
Plans also include ‘increased bus priority on roads’ and more money invested in cycling and walking provision to encourage ‘sustainable journeys’.
The vast majority of the funding at 16.5 million, would be spent on improving journey times for buses.
In Sheffield, SCR bosses want to tackle congestion along the Chesterfield Road bus corridor – described as one of the ‘busiest traffic hotspots’.
Adding extra public transport capacity, enhancing existing highways and bus lanes are planned.
In Doncaster, plans have been drawn up to ease traffic congestion along the A18 while in Rotherham, the money will aid the council’s own priorities already drawn up including improving bus priority on key routes and traffic signal improvement at Warren Vale.
In Barnsley, improvements are planned along the A635 including at the borough’s ‘busiest roundabout’ as well as dedicated bus lanes and traffic signal improvements.
Another £15 million would be earmarked for better transport shelters.
Transport bosses want to improve or replace 1,500 bus shelters which are 20 years old and up to 100 tram shelters,
Other parts of the plan include more seating for passengers, accessible boarding by raising curbs and installing tactile paving, replacing electric power with solar panels and battery supply, providing passengers with more local travel information including active travel routes and upgrading shelters to reflect the communities in which they are situated.
Just over £5 million will be spent on improving connectivity along the Trans Pennine trail. Transport bosses said the route has ‘doubled over the last 18 months’ and it requires upgrade and investment to support the growing commuter and leisure use.
Around £640,000 would be spent on 20 payment machines across South Yorkshire to improve passenger access to off-board ticket payments.
Martin Swale, interim director of transport, at Sheffield City Region, said: “This Levelling Up Fund bid proposes to build on what is already underway but seeks to scale up the investment so that more passengers, in more communities, on buses and trams can enjoy the benefits of an improved public transport system.
“The recent Bus Review deliberately assessed the bus system from a passenger perspective and gathered significant amounts of evidence through different forms of stakeholder engagement. The feedback from passengers was clear. The current public transport system in South Yorkshire is not fit for the 21st century.
“The Bus Review provided the MCA with a robust case for change and in July 2020, we responded to the Bus Review with an ambitious plan of sector-leading analysis to explore opportunities to make public transport better, simpler, and easier.
“At the heart of the response is the MCA’s determination to make public transport a more attractive option to people.”