Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire free public transport scheme 'inundated'

A tram to Middlewood Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Travel South Yorkshire is offering 500 free passes

A scheme to offer a month's free public transport to commuters in South Yorkshire was inundated with applications on its opening day.

Travel South Yorkshire (TSY) is giving away 500 free, 28-day bus, tram and train passes to people who usually travel to work by car.

The scheme was open until 8 November, but TSY said it had already received 700 applications on Tuesday morning.

TSY said it would ease congestion and pollution and help people save money.

The company added it would also help people become more active and be better for the environment.

The passes are valid for use between 25 November and 22 December.

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They will cover everywhere in the Travel South Yorkshire area of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, including some park-and-ride schemes.

Richard Pilgrim, from Travel South Yorkshire, said: "A lot of us are habitually jumping in the car for work or a small shopping trip, and we are just asking to try something new.

"It's about trying to break that habit and having a go at it.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The government is consulting on introducing green number plates

"Make a switch, give it a go and see if it works for you."

Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield about the South Yorkshire free travel plans, one commuter said: "That's great, but that will only work for them for 28 days won't it? What will happen for them after that point?

"I can park in the city centre for just over £4 a day and public transport from where I live will cost me more than that."

Another said: "I think it's brilliant, I think more people need to get the bus or the tram into town."

The scheme comes as Sheffield plans to introduce a clean air zone, with charges for lorries, buses and other high-polluting vehicles.

The proposals are part of a drive to bring the city's air quality within legal limits by 2021.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth's Yorkshire campaigner said: "Positive solutions like this initiative can have a real impact on reducing our carbon footprint and cutting air pollution.

"Our recent data reports show that less than a quarter of people in South Yorkshire commute by public transport, walking or cycling.

"We need [mayor of Sheffield] Dan Jarvis, the local councils and central government to radically improve this by developing and resourcing further great solutions."

It was also announced on Tuesday that electric cars in the UK could be given green number plates to make them more visible, and make their drivers eligible for incentives such as cheaper parking.

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