Sheffield bus services: Government agrees £130million to support vital bus services across England
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The funding package announced today will cover six months of services, starting in October, at a time when people are most concerned about the rising cost-of-living.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, said: ““This funding will ensure millions across the country can continue to use vital bus services, and brings the total we’ve provided to the sector throughout the pandemic to almost £2 billion."
The news has been well received by South Yorkshire bus campaigners who have been petitioning the government to give this funding for some time, but some are calling for more to protect buses routes in the future.
Matthew Topham, a Campaigner at Better Buses for South Yorkshire, said: "This is a huge victory for people powered campaigning to defend our buses.
"Unfortunately, decades of privatisation have undermined South Yorkshire's bus network: passenger numbers have halved, fares have risen at five times the rate of inflation, and in some places one in four buses don't turn up on time.
"We need more than temporary sticking plasters that delay devastating cuts by 6 months at a time. We need a revolution in how our buses are run so they can once again be a public service: fully funded, fully public to put the needs of people and planet over profit."
The need for more to be done to help Sheffield and South Yorkshire’s vital bus services has been echoed by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
TUC regional bus campaigner Gareth Forest said: “We need more than temporary sticking plasters that delay devastating cuts by 6 months at a time.
“South Yorkshire’ bus services are collapsing before our eyes. The Powell’s buses fiasco two weeks ago saw 19 routes and dozens of bus drivers lost.
“Bus companies have announced cuts to routes and frequencies repeatedly over the last 18 months whilst the government has continued to hand out subsidies.
“Continuing to fund the status quo does nothing to change that."
Mr Forest then called for local leaders to “act fast” and purchase Powell’s to ensure “when these cuts inevitably come, there will be a bus service that can step into the breach and put passengers before profit.”