Yorkshire free bus cuts planned
Free bus services in Sheffield and Rotherham are planned to be discontinued and the concessionary fare scheme for older people scaled back as transport chiefs look to make budget savings from April. The proposed cutbacks are currently being considered by councillors. They come as South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (SYITA) aim to make savings of around 10% to their annual budget. Under the proposals the two publicly funded FreeBee bus services in Sheffield and Rotherham and the express 638 in Doncaster are proposed to be discontinued from the end of April.
It is also proposed that the OAP and disabled persons concessionary travel scheme could be scaled back so weekday free travel is available from 09.30 to 23.00, bringing South Yorkshire in line with the rest of the country outside of London. Councillors are also due to consider the scaling back of concessionary travel on train services. There are also proposals to cut grants to community transport services, although operators will be able to offset this by raising fares by 50p. The transport authority said child concessionary fares will not go up this April and that evening, weekend and rural bus services funded by SYPTE have been protected from cuts too. Talks are taking place with operators with a view to introducing new young persons’ daily and weekly tickets designed to make public transport even more affordable. Over the past three years SYPTE has had its budget slashed by over £17m and has made deep cuts in its workforce. The cuts SYPTE/SYITA is making to its budget for next year total £8.3m and they are to reduce their workforce by 16%.