Thursday, June 3, 2021

News: £50m bid to level up South Yorkshire's public transport

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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 competitive fund will invest 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. The Government has committed £4 billion for England over the next four years (up to 2024-25).

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.

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.

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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."

The improvements are also expected to support the city region's response to the climate emergency.

£15m is required for 1,500 high quality transport shelters whilst £8m is needed for 1,000 passenger information displays.

£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.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region recently led a debate in Westminster on the importance of transport to the levelling up agenda. He 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."

SCR website

Images: G&H Group

2 comments:

Rob Foulds June 4, 2021 at 10:50 AM  

So "Going forward" that's our 'levelling up' spending money is it, 50m quid.

However will be able to express our gratitude to our glorious prime minister and his ever so generous chumocracy.

I shall sleep most easily from now on, knowing that 50m quid has been granted (and most likely begrudgingly) to the whole of South Yorkshire to bring some sort of improvement to our transport system.

Oh, oh, oh, but wait a minute, I've just reread the article, for God's sake we haven't even got the dosh yet, we've got to sodddin well beg for it. Oh, sorry again, I meant to say "bid" for it.

Well, best of luck to Dan and his no doubt very costly consultants, in submitting their plans for the creation of "vibrant and resilient places across South Yorkshire" and convincing the BJ Chumocracy to dole out the pittance to our part of the grim north.

Anonymous,  June 4, 2021 at 12:44 PM  

Wouldn't grant em a penny,South Yorkshire is well known for wasting money,in particular RMBC.

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