public transport ‘should be a right not a privilege across our country’

SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S MAYOR SAYS PUBLIC TRANSPORT ‘SHOULD BE A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE ACROSS OUR COUNTRY’ AS £1BN SPENDING GAP REVEALED.

Published 1 March 2023 at 9:15am

Mayor Oliver Coppard says an affordable, reliable public transport network should be a right not a privilege in South Yorkshire, as analysis shows the region would have £1bn more to spend on buses, trains, and bike lanes if it received the same amount of transport spending per head as London did last year.
In a speech at the region’s Transport Summit in Doncaster later today, Oliver Coppard will outline his vision for the future of the region’s public transport and challenge the government to deliver on their promises to South Yorkshire:

"My vision is for public transport as a public service, the clue is in the title; trains, buses, bike lanes that create and sustain our communities rather than being at the mercy of officials in London or shareholders in Dubai.
"A baby being born today in Doncaster should grow up breathing clean air. By 2030, when she turns seven, we want her to be able to walk or cycle safely to school with her friends; jump on a cheap, reliable bus to see her grandparents or play football at the weekends.


"By 2030, a child in Rotherham who is ten years old today will be at a crossroads in their life…their life chances should not be limited by limited, unreliable and expensive transport options. They should not be forced to buy and run a car they can barely afford, and which our planet cannot afford either.


"Getting there won’t be cheap, and it won’t be easy. We’ll do everything we can with the tools we already have in South Yorkshire. But if we want to meet the government’s own ambition of a ‘London style public transport system’ by 2030 then we will need the same level of power, money and control over our public transport network as they already have down there."


According to new analysis of government figures, if South Yorkshire had the same amount of transport funding per head as London last year, the region would be more than £1bn better off.


The Mayor will outline a series of ambitions for the region including –

  • Fully-devolved, needs-based funding for South Yorkshire.
  • Tram extensions using the UK-leading technology of Tram-Train.
  • An electrified railway linking Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley Dearne Valley to Leeds and beyond.

Ten months into the role, South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard will outline how he is already working to fix public transport, by

  • Bringing the tram network into public control and public ownership
  • Accelerating the bus franchising assessment process
  • Stepping in to train a new generation of bus drivers
  • Using budget reserves to protect school bus services
  • Launching an inquiry to ensure that what happened to Doncaster Sheffield Airport cannot happen again.

He will say:
“Those ten months of activity are a down payment on our future. Behind these policies sits a new guiding philosophy: public transport as a public service, the clue is in the title; trains, buses, bike lanes that create and sustain our communities rather than being at the mercy of officials in London or shareholders in Dubai.


South Yorkshire and regions like it were promised a London-style transport network by 2030. To help develop the vision for what South Yorkshire’s public transport should look like in 2030, the Mayor has convened a Transport Summit to bring together leading thinkers and innovators.


The Summit will hear from the Mayor, the region’s new Active Travel Commissioner Ed Clancy, leading behavioural scientist Pete Dyson, plus representatives from other regions around the UK.

For more information on the Summit, visit: South Yorkshire Transport Summit 2023

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Last Updated: 01/03/2023

Published In: Greener Future, Governance, Investors, Transport, Mayor, Active Travel, Featured