MAYOR MAKES AGGRESSIVE MOVES ON TRANSPORT IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE
Published 20 May 2022 at 9:27am
In his second week in office, South Yorkshire’s new Mayor has taken significant steps to improve public transport across South Yorkshire.
Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “For too long our communities have had to put up with a declining, underfunded public transport network, with regular cuts to services. That’s not ok. I’m going to do everything I can to bring about improvements as quickly as possible.
“That’s why this week I’ve agreed to designate a director with a dedicated team who will take the so-called ‘franchising’ assessment forward at pace, and I’ve also taken one of the first major steps in delivering that process.
“I’m going to continue to use every lever I have to create a network that works for our communities. That includes extending free park and ride services, because right now all too many people are struggling with the cost of living. And I’m extending the Zoom Beyond pass, keeping bus fares as low as possible for 18–21-year-olds across South Yorkshire.
“Longer-term, I’m determined to fight for a world class, integrated public transport network in our region. It won’t be quick, and it won’t be easy, but that has got to be the goal.
The government have said they want to see a ‘London style transport network’ here in South Yorkshire by 2030 but right now we’re a million miles away from that goal and the clock is ticking. Without investment from government things are going to get worse, not better. We’re doing everything we can, but they need to put their money where their mouth is. We’re done with waiting.”
This week, South Yorkshire’s Mayor has taken action to improve the region’s public transport network by:
- Agreeing to appoint a dedicated team to oversee the assessment into franchising the region’s bus network, which means there will be a team of people with the responsibility of delivering on that process at pace.
- Taking one of the first major steps in the franchising assessment process by requesting regional bus operators share six years of their patronage, performance, and financial data. This will allow the MCA to get on with the work required to assess the benefits and risks of franchising in South Yorkshire.
- Extending the Zoom Beyond concession, which was due to end in June, meaning 18–21-year-olds in our region will continue to pay just 80p for single fares across buses and trams in South Yorkshire by applying for a pass.
- Extending the free use of Park & Ride facilities across South Yorkshire, enabling more people to choose public transport for their journeys.
- Writing to the new CEO of First Group challenging them to deliver better services for South Yorkshire’s communities.
- Meeting the team at the Stagecoach depot in Rawmarsh to discuss the decarbonisation of the region’s bus network.
- Beginning conversations about appointing a new Active Travel Commissioner to continue Dame Sarah Storey’s progress, meeting active travel campaigners in Barnsley to hear their views.
- Meeting the team behind Doncaster’s GBRHQ bid to firmly show support and to discuss the opportunities for an innovative rail cluster here in our region, with the GBRHQ at its heart.
- Following up on his letter to the prime minister last week by writing to Grant Shapps, challenging him on a host of transport issues facing our region including buses, the Integrated Rail Plan, Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2.
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