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Bus services in Rotherham

Volume 729: debated on Tuesday 7 March 2023

The petition of residents of the constituency of Rotherham,

Declares that residents are concerned at the poor standard of local bus services; express their opposition to a series of cuts that have seen timetables slashed and left services wholly unfit for purpose; and note that local transport authorities have been unable to attract operators to maintain existing services even where these services have been put out to tender.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to commit long term, sustainable funding to bus services in South Yorkshire both to maintain services in the short term and to grow the bus network in the long term.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sarah Champion, Official Report, 5 December 2022; Vol. 724, c. 174.]


Observations from The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Richard Holden):

The Government recognise that the bus sector continues to face a number of challenges, including lower levels of patronage following the pandemic, and that this is impacting the viability of some services. The Department for Transport announced on 17 February that we will provide up to £80 million to extend the Bus Recovery Grant for a further three months from April to June 2023 to continue protecting vital bus services and take Government support for the bus sector to over £2 billion since March 2020. We are currently working on our plans for when BRG ends on 30 June 2023 and will continue to work with the bus sector, including bus operators and local transport authorities, on the challenges they face.

The Government are also taking proactive steps to help increase patronage on bus services by providing an initial investment of £60 million to help bus operators cap single fares at £2 on services in England outside London from 1 January. Over 140 operators covering more than 4,700 routes are participating in the scheme which will help increase patronage on buses and help millions save on their regular travel costs. The scheme was originally due to run until 31 March. However, on 17 February we announced our intention to provide up to £75 million to extend the cap for a further three months until 30 June.

The Government are also providing £570 million over five years to South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements programme from 2022-23 to 2026-27 to improve its local transport network. This will include direct funding for bus infrastructure. This long-term funding is being delivered through a consolidated transport settlement agreed with central Government and based on the delivery programme put forward by SYMCA. SYMCA has also been provided with revenue funding to support the development of its capital investment programme and build longer-term local transport planning and delivery capacity.