Green Party urge Sheffield City Region to take action on buses

South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis
South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis

Green Party councillors have called on Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis to improve South Yorkshire’s buses, saying the Bus Partnership has ‘failed’ on its own terms. 

Councillors Rob Murphy, leader of the Sheffield Green Party, and Douglas Johnson, who represents City ward, have put forward a motion to full council calling on Mayor Jarvis to take action.

Coun Rob Murphy

Coun Rob Murphy

In it they call on the regional mayor to take action towards greater public control of Sheffield’s bus network, including an immediate review of current services and public consultation on future provision.

Coun Murphy said: “Due to warring council leaders, our City Region Mayor doesn’t have many powers but improving our buses is one of them.

“We’re calling on Dan Jarvis to use these to take back control of our buses and improve journey times for all travellers.”

In their motion they said the Sheffield Bus Partnership ‘failed’ on its own terms after losing 10 percent of their patronage since 2012, approximately 5 million passenger journeys per year.

First Buses Sheffield.

First Buses Sheffield.

Coun Johnson added: “One reason for delays to bus services is the time taken with passengers having to haggle with the driver over the best ticket price.  Introducing sensible, modern, uniform ticketing would help make the buses run on time.”

They also note Mayor Jarvis has been in his position for six months and believe there has been no progress or action on bus regulation.

Controlling the bus service is one of the few powers available to the South Yorkshire mayor.

In his 2017 manifesto, Mayor Jarvis promised to consult on re-regulating bus services and use regulatory powers, and eventually franchising, to improve bus services.

Sheffield City Region stated the mayor was taking measures to improve services and that ‘much has been achieved’ since he was elected in May this year.

They said this includes working closely with local councils and South Yorkshire Passenger Travel Executive and creating a transport strategy .

“Among other measures, this has included commissioning Professor Steve Haake from Sheffield Hallam University to research best practice from around the world; working closely with stakeholders such as British Cycling, local campaign groups and Transport for the North; as well as announcing plans to appoint an Active Travel Commissioner in the near future.

“Mayor Jarvis also launched the ‘Little Big Changes’ active travel campaign and leads by example, using a Mayoral bike – on loan from an independent bike retailer in Sheffield – wherever possible, rather than travelling by car.

“Key policy changes are also underway. The first ever Sheffield City Region transport strategy is in production, with public transport and active travel being fundamental to the Mayor’s vision.

“Meanwhile, a review of the governance arrangements for transport across the Sheffield City Region is underway, and funding for transport projects is being secured, with the SCR’s bid for money from the Transforming Cities Fund being successfully shortlisted.

“Mayor Jarvis is also working closely with other Metro Mayors and colleagues in Parliament to explore ways to improve our public transport system.

“With a new transport strategy underway, good news on national funding and a stronger focus than ever before on environmentally sustainable travel, it is clear that much has been achieved since the Mayor’s election in May.”

The motion will go to full council on Wednesday 7, November.