Levelling up let down for South Yorkshire’s public transport


Published 27 January 2023 at 12:39pm

Commenting on the news that South Yorkshire’s bid for money to fix its public transport system had lost out in the second round of Levelling Up fund money, South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: 

“This is deeply disappointing for South Yorkshire, and just the latest example of how the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ mission isn’t working. While I’m happy for communities who have been successful in getting funding, Yorkshire as a whole got half the money that London and the south-east received and yet, £20m of the money for Yorkshire has gone to the Prime Minister’s own constituency.

“This latest let-down is an attack on our local ambition to fix our public transport network; it comes at a time where South Yorkshire has lost 15% of its bus network, whilst places like London and the southeast see theirs grow yet continue to receive levelling up funding.

“We asked the government for money to fix our buses. Whilst we got nothing, Broxbourne is getting a new skate park and Canterbury Castle is getting a facelift. 
“In its 12 ‘Levelling Up Missions’ the government promised us a ‘London-style transport network’ by 2030. That’s just over 360 weeks away and yet, here we are, losing out on ‘Levelling Up’ transport funding for a third time.

“Government need to devolve budgets and powers if we’re truly going to see levelling up happen. We know what works best for South Yorkshire better than anyone and with the right tools and resources we could transform our broken public transport network. Instead, we have to go through the ridiculous process of government pitting regions against each other, all competing for pots of money from Westminster. You can’t level up through competition. 

“It’s not fair and it’s not working. I’m not surprised the Tories want to stop using the phrase Levelling Up – because they know that since the last election, regional inequality has actually got worse.”  


Notes to editors
The c. £30 million bid to the Government’s second round of the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) proposed plans to fix South Yorkshire’s public transport system through responsive digital journey planning and real-time information, including 600 new information points or stops; a transformation to ticketing through a consistent and integrated ‘SMART’ fare system, with buying options online and at stops; and making journeys better through demand responsive transport and Zero-Emission vehicles, running with existing scheduled routes to create an integrated transport system.

Contributing to the Government’s LUF national missions, the decision to focus the bid on improving public transport was made in response to Government’s failure to support the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan that was denied funding from the National Bus Strategy


Last Updated: 06/02/2023

Published In: Transport, Mayor, Finances, Featured