South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is seeking views from members of the public to make sure they are best using the public money they have to support South Yorkshire’s bus network in a public survey, which launches on Monday 1 August.
Why are buses changing in South Yorkshire?
Buses are a lifeline, the backbone of our transport network, used to get people to work, school, – to visit places, family and friends. They help to cut car use, traffic and pollution and are a big part of helping us all tackle climate change.
As you are aware we are facing the biggest cuts to the network for a generation, with nearly a third of services at risk. This is because most of South Yorkshire’s bus network is run by private bus companies who choose where to run services and can make changes to reflect when and where people are traveling most.
The pandemic has had an impact on travel patterns and the income bus companies make from fares. The government has been paying bus companies throughout Covid-19 but when this funding ends in October, bus companies plan to cut routes or sections of routes.
What is SYMCA doing in response to the service cuts?
We are doing all we can with the limited powers and money we have to protect bus services and have already stepped in with emergency funding for school buses. This includes paying bus companies to run services through a contract where there isn’t a profitable route. But the scale of cuts being made by bus companies means our budget can only buy back around half the network at risk.
Between April 2022 and March 2023 our budget to support the bus network is £11.9 million. It would cost around £23 million to pay bus companies to replace all the services they plan to remove.
We, therefore, want to make sure we are making the best use of our budget – the council tax we all pay for public transport – to run bus contracts where people rely on them most. We want members of the public in our region to tell us what kinds of bus services are most important to them.
How can people take part in the survey?
The survey launches on Monday 1 August and will close on Sunday 21 August and is open to anyone over the age of 16. The easiest way to take part is online at https://travelsouthyorkshire.com/haveyoursay. Please note that the survey will not be live until Monday 1 August.
Information about how people can have their say will also be available in interchanges, via Traveline and publicised across social media, radio and the press.
Feedback will help us with our decision-making about buses and how we use public money to support bus services in South Yorkshire.
How can you help?
If asked about the public engagement, please advise people that the easiest way to take part in the survey, from 1 August, is online and direct them to www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/haveyoursay.
Alternatively, anyone without access to the internet can call our Traveline team on 01709 51 51 51 who will be happy to help them complete the survey over the phone or paper copies will be available at our interchanges.