The plans set out in a new Enhanced Bus Partnership with operators intend to unlock greater powers to improve ticketing, routes, and frequency of services across the region.
Agreement on the Partnership by South Yorkshire councils and South Yorkshire’s metropolitan mayor Dan Jarvis puts South Yorkshire in contention for a share of £3 billion of national funding pledged by government to encourage local bus use.
Mr Jarvis, said: “This partnership is a crucial step towards driving the step-change I want to see for South Yorkshire’s buses.
“We’ve invested millions to improve our public transport system and set out transformational plans that give us more control over how buses are run and promise passengers a better service. That includes capping fares, free travel for young people, quicker journeys, more journey options, and zero emission buses to make travel cleaner and greener towards a net-zero future. Agreeing this Partnership gives us a shot at winning the funding needed to make that vision a reality.
“During my time as Mayor, improving South Yorkshire’s buses has been a top priority, getting this right will help South Yorkshire become stronger, fairer and greener. Today’s announcement puts in motion real, practical changes that passengers will benefit from.
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“But to progress our plans, to deliver a bus system people can be proud of, we need government to provide the investment they promised - to level up bus services and build the future that South Yorkshire deserves.”
Subject to government funding, South Yorkshire’s Enhanced Partnership will provide free travel for under 18s and capped fares for all passengers, bus priority measures to make journeys quicker, better journey planning information, ‘turn up and go’ bus options, and the region’s first zero emission buses.
The legally binding agreement between SYMCA and local bus operators will remain in place for between three and five years, allowing progress to be made on bus improvements at the same time as the formal assessment of bus franchising is undertaken.
It follows public consultation on Enhanced Partnership plans, between January and February 20 this year.