Passengers meet with councillors in campaign to save South Yorkshire’s buses

20 Oct 2020 11:33 AM

Bus users yesterday (Monday 19 October) met with councillors in an online public meeting to call for action on South Yorkshire’s failing private bus network.

An NHS worker, a fast food worker, a bus factory worker, a pensioner and disabled user will be among the speakers who will give personal testimony to show how private bus services are failing local communities.

The meeting, organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), is part of the Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign, which aims to bring our buses back into public control and ownership.

Council leaders have declined to attend. Councillor Robert Johnson (Sheffield), and Councillor Chris Lamb (Barnsley), both Transport portfolio holders, will attend instead.

The union body’s analysis of DfT data shows that South Yorkshire has lost 5 million miles of bus route since 2014, in a stark display of the failure of the privatised model of bus provision.

Further DfT data shows net public funding for buses in South Yorkshire has fallen by £1.6 million in the last 20 years. South Yorkshire bus services have seen 24.5 million fewer passenger journeys since 2009, and 11.3 million fewer elderly and concessionary passenger journeys since 2009.

Over 200 local residents have written to their council leader raising concerns about cuts to services, and invited them to this virtual public meeting to hear these concerns face to face.

Gareth Lewis of the TUC yesterday said:

“Our bus system is in crisis. 

“Buses in Yorkshire should be run to serve our community, not for the benefit of private operators. But right now we face a funding cliff edge, with hundreds of services at risk.

“Over 200 local residents have expressed their deep concerns to council leaders about the future of their bus services. We hope they hear this message loud and clear.

“The Better Buses for Yorkshire campaign is ready to work with councils to change the privatised system that is failing working people.

“Right now, public money goes straight from government to private operators, with local councils having little say over routes, timetables, or services. We need that money to come directly to councils, so decisions about bus services can be made closer to those it affects.

“The government needs to fully fund services, including infrequent and socially necessary routes. We cannot let the poorest pay the price for a failing system.

“Public control is the best way to ensure that decisions about bus services are made by local people, for local people”

Click here for the full press release