SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis: No 'magic wand' to fix problems with South Yorkshire bus services
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis has said he cannot ‘wave a magic wand’ in order to fix problems with South Yorkshire’s bus services.
The mayor spoke about the work Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts is doing on a bus review which will report back to Mr Jarvis on the problems passengers face, the reasons for declining bus numbers and options on what to do next.
Mr Jarvis said extra government investment was needed to achieve real change in the county’s bus network.
“For too long the issue of transport has been too focused on the railways but lots more people in South Yorkshire are more likely to get on a bus than get on a train.
“The review will provide us with a blueprint for how we can improve bus services but the bottom line is if we’re serious about improving them then we are going to require additional investment,” he said.
The bus review panel has also visited numerous cities across the UK to see how they operate.
Over 7,000 people responded to the consultation - Mayor Jarvis said it is one of the ‘biggest ever’ and shows the ‘interest and strength of feeling’.
The mayor has the power to bring in a franchise bus service model - deciding on routes and setting fares like in London.
Last year, Mr Betts said the bus review panel could recommend franchising as a possible solution.
But franchising is likely to be strongly opposed by private bus operators and prompt questions over how it would be financed.
The mayor said Mr Betts’ work will provide a ‘blueprint’ for change in the county and likely provide a benchmark at a national level.
He added: “There’s an important conversation to be had about what we can get to do that because there’s no magic wand that Clive or I can wave - if you want a better bus service which I do, then it is going to be paid for.
“What I’m also looking at is how we can find additional revenue to invest in our public transport system and if you want game changing improvements, we have to accept we’ll have to pay for them.