Shape bus services plea after £25m South Yorkshire travel cuts

Buses on Sheffield's High Street
Buses on Sheffield's High Street
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Passengers are being urged to influence how travel services are provided in future after budget cuts hit OAP passes and free buses.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive will next week launch a new consultation aimed at pinpointing how services are used.

The executive has already faced more than £25million in budget reductions in the past four years.

That cuts have been the reason cited behind controversial decisions such as the removal of funding to FreeBee bus services in Sheffield and Rotherham as well as to OAP travel - which sparked the long-running Freedom Riders campaign across the county.

A U-turn was made to help disabled people, but pensioners continue to fight for the return of their free rather than half price train use and free bus travel at all times.

“We have had to make some difficult choices over the past few years,” said David Young, the executive’s deputy interim director general.

“The financial environment remains challenging but we are not currently working on plans to change the concessionary travel offer or to cut the bus services funded by the executive.

“SYPTE needs to look at further ways of saving money, which is why we are asking the public about how we provide public transport information and about our interchanges.

“The feedback we get will help us plan how we deliver services in future.”

Community transport fees have gone up by 50p, and funding was withdrawn from the 638 Park and Ride service in Doncaster, as a result of the cuts. The executive says it has also made ‘deep’ cuts to its workforce.

Now people are being asked to share how they use public transport, from the tickets they buy to what they think about bus stops.

A range of drop-in consultation events will be held at interchanges across the county. The first will be at Dinnington on September 5, then at Meadowhall and Hillsborough on September 8.