Passengers urged to share views on most important Sheffield services as city braces itself for 'devastating bus cuts'

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Sheffield passengers are being urged to share their views on which services are the most important to them, as the region braces itself for the ‘most devastating bus cuts for a generation’.

South Yorkshire mayor, Oliver Coppard, said the county is facing the loss of a third of the bus network this autumn, when government funding provided to operators throughout the pandemic ends.

Mayor Coppard, a Labour politician who was elected in May this year, says he and and the county’s council leaders have already stepped in with over £5 million from the region’s emergency budget to protect school buses.

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But he says the public budget for South Yorkshire’s buses – paid through people’s council tax - will only stretch to cover half of the services bus companies plan to cut.

Buses on the streets of Sheffield.Buses on the streets of Sheffield.
Buses on the streets of Sheffield.

Mr Coppard said: “We are facing the biggest and most devastating bus cuts for a generation, because of a broken system which is failing passengers.

“A reliable, affordable, clean bus service is vital, not just so everyone can get to where they need to go, but so they can get there without using a car, cutting the toxic traffic choking our region.

“As the private sector bus companies look to cut services, I’ve said I’ll do everything I can to keep our buses going until I get the powers and money I need to transform the network.

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“We’ve stepped in with emergency money to support school buses, I’m moving as fast as the law currently allows to assess bringing in more public control through franchising, and I’ve called on the government for emergency funding to keep services going.

“But the budget we have to support buses is limited and will not stretch to fill all the gaps. Public money can only buy back around half the services bus companies plan to cut.

“So, we’re asking for people’s views because we need to make sure we’re making the most effective use of the money we have, to pay for services where communities rely on them the most.”

Under South Yorkshire’s current system, bus companies are free to decide where and when they will run services.

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When bus companies withdraw services, as they are expected to do when government funding stops, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) can pay other companies to run the route.

Between October 2022 and April 2023, South Yorkshire’s public budget to support bus services – part of the council tax residents pay for public transport – is £11.9 million.

It is estimated to cost at least £23 million to replace the services bus companies plan to remove.

Last month, Sheffield councillors condemned the cuts and decided that the Sheffield Better Buses Partnership, which brought together the council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive with bus operators, was no longer fit for purpose

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The Labour Party announced the launch of its Stop Tory Bus Cuts campaign with an online petition.

Accusations flew across the council chamber as to how well the partnership had ever worked and whether the time to step away was now or when Mr Coppard introduces bus franchising, which could take up to 18 months.

Share your views on support for bus services by visiting:

Alternatively, pick up a paper survey from a Travel South Yorkshire Interchange or by calling 01709 515151.