Decision on creating ‘enhanced bus partnership’ in South Yorkshire could be next step in path to public control or franchising
An update on the next step on how buses are run in South Yorkshire will be unveiled soon, Mayor Dan Jarvis has said.
Asked what steps were being taken in improving services, the Sheffield City Region mayor said the authority would be ‘providing an update’ in the coming days ahead of a meeting on June 7.
Mayor Jarvis said residents calling for radical change on the county’s buses in the short-term ‘should be patient’.
He added it took Greater Manchester over four years to get to a position of bringing buses back into forms of public control.
The update is likely to be if SCR sets up an ‘enhanced bus partnership’ – this would bring the four councils and city region together under one umbrella centralising more decisions as a unit.
Plans could also include a simpler ticketing system which could include setting up plans to introduce a daily cost cap and greater flexibility of fares.
A comprehensive review into the state of the services published last year found a raft of shocking failings throughout the county’s public transport network.
Review members, which included Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, said the possibility of creating a municipal bus company – owned and run by the Sheffield City Region – should come no more than five years after the creation of a new South Yorkshire-wide Enhanced Partnership.
Franchising should be considered after around three years by June 2023.
Mayor Jarvis said: “People just have to be a little bit patient, we will give a full update of where we’ve got to in South Yorkshire and what our plans are for the future.
“We have to make a decision in the short term about whether we’re going to move to an enhanced partnership or not.
“But a lot of activity is taking place in South Yorkshire to look at how we can draw down the investment that we need to improve the service. That’s not easy at the moment, because levels of patronage are still well below where they were when we went into the pandemic and they were falling quite significantly before lockdown.
“There was a big job of work we’ve already allocated millions of pounds of investment from devolved funding but what’s not yet clear is is what the national bus strategy will unlock in terms of resources for us in South Yorkshire but I will give a full and detailed update of where we’ve got to and what our plans are for the rest of this year.”