Rotherham Council pledges support for better buses campaign

Rotherham councillors voted to pledge their support for a better buses campaign, which aims to bring South Yorkshire’s bus service under public control.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:51 pm

At the Rotherham full council meeting on January 12, members of the Better Buses campaign held a protest outside the Magna Centre, where the meeting would be held.

Andrew Glossop, a campaigner and regular bus user, said the service from Thorpe Hesley to Rotherham Town Centre that he uses to get to work is often missing.

“I got a monthly pass, I complain pretty much twice a week. Keep on saying use the app. I use the app for live buses but they don’t turn up, I complain again,” said Mr Glossop.

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Campaigners outside Magna Centre.

“It’s horrific. It’s not good for the socioeconomics when it comes to Rotherham.

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“Everyone’s complaining, and all we seem to get is excuses all the time and this isn’t just Covid either – this was well before Covid, Covid has just magnified it more.”

The Rotherham Liberal Democrats called on the Labour administration to back the campaign and Inform the South Yorkshire Combined Authority of its support for conducting a statutory assessment of franchising.

Councillor Drew Tarmey, Lib Dem for Anston and Woodsetts told the meeting that South Yorkshire ‘lags behind’ other regions when it comes to bus services, adding that rural communities in Rotherham are ‘poorly served’.

“It takes residents in my ward in Woodsetts two buses and over an hour and a half to get to Sheffield. This isn’t acceptable,” he added.

The Labour administration added a clause to call on the government to fully fund South Yorkshire’s £570M City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, and the South Yorkshire Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Labour leader of the Council, councillor Chris Read, said there are ‘structural reasons’ why Rotherham is facing a ‘crisis’ in bus provision, such as deregulation and the impact of austerity.

“I think it’s now universally acknowledged that that [deregulation] has been a disaster,” Coun Read told the meeting.

“We’ve already put forward good, practical plans to improve reliability, develop new infrastructure… effectively cap fares and make bus travel free for under 18’s, but we need to government to come up with the funding for that.”

The motion was carried after it received cross party support.