Task force set up to help fix South Yorkshire’s ‘broken bus system’

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Mayor Oliver Coppard has brought in a task force to put communities at the centre of plans to fix South Yorkshire’s ‘broken bus system’.

Spearheaded by Dawn Badminton-Capps of Bus Users UK, the aim is for community, campaign and business representatives to help create legally-binding promises and performance checks that hold bus companies and government to account.

Mayor Coppard said: “When I took office as South Yorkshire’s Mayor I made fixing our buses a priority, not just for me but the thousands of people let down every day by our broken bus system.

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“Because for far too long our buses have been unaffordable, unreliable and now – in the face of sweeping service cuts – inaccessible for far too many across our region.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has set up a new task force to help tackle the 'broken' bus serviceSouth Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has set up a new task force to help tackle the 'broken' bus service
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has set up a new task force to help tackle the 'broken' bus service

“I am doing everything I can with the limited powers and money that I have available to protect our services on behalf of our communities but it is not enough and I find that hugely frustrating.

“It is clear we need a fundamental change to how the whole system works because our buses are no longer working for South Yorkshire.

“That’s why I have brought in a bus champion and task force of bus users, business representatives and interest groups with the common goal of putting passengers at the heart of building a better future for the services we use and that so many of us rely on.

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“This group will play a fundamental role in representing our communities and helping to create a formal customer promise, set in legislation, that will set out what we want and deserve from our network.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has put together a task force to help him fix the region's 'broken' bus serviceSouth Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has put together a task force to help him fix the region's 'broken' bus service
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has put together a task force to help him fix the region's 'broken' bus service

“We will stand together and hold bus companies and government to account because we all agree that we cannot carry on with an unreliable, expensive, and polluting system that puts people off choosing travel choices that reduce traffic on our roads.

“I’m under no illusion, fixing our bus system will not be easy; it will take time, and we’ll need the government to deliver on their promise for significant funding to make it happen.

“But together we will take action to rebuild a service from the bottom up and campaign for a joined-up public transport network that is more like the one enjoyed by London; one that truly meets our regions’ needs, that is fit for purpose and delivers faster, smarter, greener bus journeys that South Yorkshire can be proud of.”

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‘End to cushy deals’

Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, says that franchising is the only way to solve problems with Sheffield busesLouise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, says that franchising is the only way to solve problems with Sheffield buses
Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, says that franchising is the only way to solve problems with Sheffield buses

The inaugural task force meeting focused on the creation of a formal customer charter that puts passengers first and holds transport authorities and bus companies to account to deliver a better service.

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A meeting of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority Enhanced Partnership Board in Sheffield on Tuesday (October 4) was lobbied by the campaign Better Buses for South Yorkshire.

They want an end to “cushy deals” for bus companies and say services must be brought back under public control.

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As 60 services were cut, halted or altered this week, Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haighsaid that franchising, which the mayor is working on, is the only answer.

“We must take the bus network into our own hands, we cannot continue to allow private bus companies to dictate where and when bus routes operate, and the removal of vital routes that simply are not profitable for operators.”

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