South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and Combined Authority officers have proposed a budget savings plan for 2015/16 to the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority. This proposal will be decided upon by the region’s leaders on 5 January 2015.
The report states that a 10% savings target was set but the good news is that this target is proposed to be met without making any further changes to the discretionary concessions for older and disabled people, or raising the 70p child fare. SYPTE fund 16% of all bus miles in the County, typically in rural areas, in the evenings and on Sundays and these services will also not be affected.
Proposals being put forward to the Combined Authority reflect resource pressures across local government. Reductions to frontline services are inevitable but SYPTE has worked hard with its Local Authority partners in order to keep the impact to the public transport user in South Yorkshire to a minimum.
The 2015/16 savings suggest a number of changes which include stopping printing paper timetables funded by SYPTE and relying on at-stop and internet options instead; reducing the level of cleaning in Interchanges and at bus stops/shelters; and also replacing Transport Information Centres (located at Interchanges across South Yorkshire) with kiosks, web and other alternatives, some of which are more accessible to customers.
SYPTE’s ‘Have Your Say!’ public consultation, ran during September and into October, and provided valuable information which influenced the preparation of the budget proposal. This information, together with additional consultations provided by community groups and supporting research, has informed the equality impact assessments which carefully look at how the suggested savings proposal will impact the community and how these impacts might be mitigated.
SYPTE Deputy Interim Director General, David Young, said: “Resource reductions to Local Government are being felt across the country but particularly in the north, and this inevitably means reductions to public transport funding. We have, and continue to, work hard with operators and our local authority partners and this year we are pleased to be able to propose a budget which avoids reductions to local bus services and concessionary travel.
“However, the savings will see SYPTE’s workforce reduced by 45% from 2010/11 levels and the 10% budget reduction is on top of 25% already delivered since this time.
“It is with regret that we have to put forward these proposals. We realise that they depend on some customers changing the way they find information about bus/tram/train times and how they buy tickets and apply for passes, but we feel these savings are necessary to protect bus services and the concessionary travel scheme.
“The changes will affect some people and we have carefully worked through equality impact assessments as part of this proposal. The paper SYPTE has put forward is purely a proposal for consideration and a decision will be made by the leaders on 5 January at the SCR Combined Authority meeting.”
For more information contact SYPTE Communications Team on 0114 221 1443/ 0776 738 4519 or at firstname.lastname@example.org