The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) is working on a bid to secure £50m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund that is focused on improving the passenger journey experience on public transport in South Yorkshire.
The investment will made in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.
Rotherham is in the highest priority list and will receive some initial money to work on bids. The fund will on focus investment on projects of up to £20m however larger investments of up to £50m could be made in transport by exception. Combined Authorities are eligible to submit one transport bid only, according to a report by Rothbiz.
The SCR MCA’s bid focuses on delivering improvements in the bus customer experience to drive patronage and invest in structural and infrastructure maintenance. It links to a city region strategy that aims for a modal shift towards more sustainable transport.
In March 2021 the MCA agreed a £3.2m investment of Gainshare funding in replacing community transport buses with electric vehicles, upgrading bus shelters, and installing electronic displays at bus stops
To be discussed next week, the Levelling Up Fund bid seeks to build on this work with investment from the Government to make improvements to include:
– Increased passenger access to ‘live’ journey information
– Making sure contactless payment technology is available on buses and trams
– Off-board payment machines
– Investment in EV community transport
– Upgrading transport shelters to improve accessibility and make sure they represent the communities in which they’re situated
– Giving passengers additional seating support at stops and in shelters
– Increased bus priority on roads
– Investing in Active Travel to encourage alternative, sustainable journey types
Meeting papers state: “Going forward, national research confirms that a strong, reliable public transport network is integral to inclusive economic growth and the prosperity of towns, cities, and regions.
“The Sheffield City Region Strategic Economic Plan sets out our commitment to creating vibrant and resilient places across South Yorkshire and the importance of a transport system that connects communities to opportunities. This includes ensuring that our main population centres are better connected to one another and to future sites of major employment.”
£16.5m is in the bid to invest in road improvements on key bus corridors. For Rotherham, improvements will be linked to the local authority’s own constituency LUF bid and includes improved bus priority measures such as traffic signal improvement at Warren Vale.