Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis has told Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that there is a need for ‘sustained support’ for the region’s trams and buses alongside rail investment to enable the transition back to normality after the Covid pandemic.
Mayor Jarvis said: “Nowhere is there more potential or need for ambition than in our bus network. It has suffered from decades of neglect but is the backbone of our public transport network. I’m working to deliver a world-class bus service for South Yorkshire.
“If we build a system that works, people will use it. But this all needs transformational funding. Funding for bus services have been cut by almost 20% between 2009 and 2018 and is 15 times lower per head in Sheffield than in London. If the government is serious about change, they must give Mayors not just the freedom to make changes, but the support and proper, long-term, and reliable funding to make the bigger improvements we all want to see.”
The Star in Sheffield reports that the Mayor also asked Ministers to confirm that Northern Powerhouse Rail will not be delayed or neglected, requested support for smaller scale transport investments across the region, highlighting the Hope Valley line upgrade and direct train services to Doncaster Sheffield and Manchester Airports as priorities for regional rail.
He added: “Much of the debate on northern transport, rightly or wrongly, has focused on HS2, but for me and many Northern leaders, faster rail journeys to London are only one contributor to levelling up. The focus must be on transport between the cities of the North and delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) in full.
“Regional transport matters more for the day to day lives of many people, and the need for coherence and vision is just as great. HS2 must not become a reason to neglect NPR and local improvements, as this will actively harm the levelling up agenda, not help it.”
“We need the powers and long-term funding to go alongside it. If the government are going to continue to talk about transformation and levelling up, they must act now and deliver it.”