South Yorkshire transport budget cut by £8.5million

Buses in Sheffield
Buses in Sheffield

A further £8.5million is to be slashed from South Yorkshire’s transport budget – but fares for the elderly and disabled will remain unchanged.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has cut another 10 per cent from its budget in the coming financial year amid resource and financial pressures across the local authorities which fund the partnership.

While old folk and disabled people will see no change to their fares, a standard single child concession fare will rise by 10p to 80p from September after proposals were approved at a Sheffield City Region Combined Authority meeting on Monday. Campaign group the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders are already calling for a U-turn on the increase.

The PTE said some £7.5million of the savings for 2016/17 had been made through ‘internal, cost and reserve efficiencies,’ lessening the impact on public transport services.

Combined Authority Chairman Coun Sir Stephen Houghton said: “SYPTE is funded by the South Yorkshire local authorities it serves, and government cuts to these budgets have had an impact on the proportion of money that can be allocated to public transport.

“Whilst this is not the route we want to take, we have had to make difficult decisions. To protect public transport services any further would mean cuts to other essential services in our region. We have looked at the best possible ways to make savings that will have the least impact on passengers, particularly those who are most vulnerable and depend on public transport to aid their independence, and the thousands of people who rely on it to go about their day to day lives.”

Supported bus services and passenger information are unaffected.

The PTE said parents will still be able to make savings on school travel for their children with multi-operator child tickets, which will soon be available on smartcard. It said bus and tram operators also continue to provide cheaper travel for children and young people.

Prepaid weekly child tickets offer a discount on the standard single concession fare when making multiple journeys, with unlimited bus travel across South Yorkshire available from 72p per day.

SYPTE held a ‘Have Your Say’ budget consultation from September 4 to October 4 to understand public transport users’ service priorities and the impact that any changes may have.

Some 2,437 people gave their views.