The organisation that oversees South Yorkshire's public transport is on course to run out of cash reserves

South Yorkshire’s Passenger Transport Executive transport is on course to run out of financial reserves in the foreseeable future, new budget documents have revealed.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 1:31 pm

The public body’s medium-term budgets show reserves could be in the red by 2025, as it tries to navigate budget reductions while trying to maintain vital services.

All four South Yorkshire councils pay an annual levy to the SYPTE (South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive) in order to carry out public transport works in the region.

Sheffield, with the highest population in the county, pays 41.5 per cent of SYPTE’s £54.3 million budget.

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Pictured are Buses in and around Sheffield City Centre. Picture: Steve Ellis

Doncaster contributes 22 per cent, Rotherham 19 per cent and Barnsley 17.5 per cent.

Since April 2010, the annual levy has been reduced from £94.7m to £54.3million (42.5 per cent) due to budget reductions faced by the South Yorkshire councils.

To achieve these levy reductions, SYPTE has had to cut costs.

Buses pictured travelling along Trafford Way, Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Buses MC 11

All four councils were entitled to a further two per cent reduction in levy payments but town hall leaders have been asked to maintain 2019/2020 levels which would generate £1.1 million.

Proposals to earmark this money could be spent on a detailed analysis on essential routes in each district and emerging routes with growing patronage numbers.

Another option is to top up reserve levels which bosses say would help with inflationary costs.

SYPTE are accountable to Sheffield City Region members and mayor Dan Jarvis.

Mike Thomas, senior finance officer at Sheffield City Region, said: “The proposed budget for 2020/21 has been prepared based upon current activity and known inflation and services will be provided within that budget.

“However, it must be acknowledged that there are impending future financial pressures that will put pressure on services and costs in 2021 and beyond.

“Work on the next medium-term financial plan needs to examine the impact and reflect the changes in future budgets.

“Reserves have been used to help smooth impact of the necessary reductions in levy over the past eight years. However, the resources available to do this are diminishing and will cease to exist in 2024.

“Whilst the medium-term scenario shows that future levy will match expenditure, there is increasing pressures on that expenditure that needs to be recognised and further analysed in developing the next medium-term plan.

“A review of levy policy will also need to be undertaken to ensure funding of future service provision.”