South Yorkshire bus cuts after tender process fails

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Buses services are to be reduced from JulyImage source, First
Image caption,
Buses services are to be reduced from July

Bus passengers in South Yorkshire face the biggest cuts to the service "in a generation", according to the region's mayor.

Oliver Coppard said services will be reduced by a third after a tender process for some routes ended with no operator agreeing to take them on.

Sheffield and Rotherham could see services shrinking as early as 24 July.

First South Yorkshire said the "vast majority" of services will continue.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard

No bus operator agreed to take over a number of routes on behalf of the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive in the tender process which closed this week.

Mr Coppard, who was elected in May, said: "These cuts will strike at the heart of our families, our economy, and our communities.

"They will also unfairly impact on those with mobility and health issues who rely on these bus services as lifelines."

He said £85m was needed over three years to keep services going while authorities explored a franchise scheme.

Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First South Yorkshire, said the company had to respond to "changes to post-pandemic demand", including increased working from home.

Bill Adams, Yorkshire and the Humber secretary for the TUC, backed the idea of a franchise.

He said: "If private operators won't run our bus services, then the mayor has to be allowed to run them as a public service."

The Department for Transport said it was investing £3bn into bus services by 2025 and had awarded us operators and local authorities almost £2bn since March 2020 to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

South Yorkshire has been allocated £570m over the next five years as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements to fund local transport within the area, including buses, it added.

Further cuts are possible in October when the government withdraws its post-Covid funding, the mayor suggested.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh MP raised this point in the House of Commons on Thursday.

She said if further funding is not provided, from October, South Yorkshire could be left with only four bus routes running across the region after 10pm.

The following service changes come into effect from 24 July:

Sheffield

Service 32/32a Sheffield - Firth Park - Parson Cross: Entire service will be withdrawn.

Service 135/135a Rotherham - Sheffield via Chapeltown: Early morning, evening and Saturday/Sunday services will be withdrawn.

Service 208 Whiston - Sheffield: Last evening trip from Sheffield - Whiston will be withdrawn. Sunday daytime service will be withdrawn.

Service X74 Sheffield - Tinsley Park: Some early morning and evening journeys will be withdrawn.

Rotherham

Service 73: Early morning, evening, and Sunday services between Rotherham and Treeton will be withdrawn.

Service 114: Early morning and evening services between Rotherham and Herringthorpe will be withdrawn.

Service 116: Early morning, evening, and Sunday services between Rotherham, Thrybergh and Ravenfield will be withdrawn.

Service 135/135a: Early morning, evening and Saturday/Sunday services between Rotherham and Thorpe Hesley plus links to Chapeltown will be removed.

Service 208 Whiston - Sheffield: Last evening trip from Sheffield - Whiston will be withdrawn. Sunday daytime service will be withdrawn.

Service X74 Sheffield - Tinsley Park: Some early morning and evening journeys will be withdrawn.

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