£8.5m cut to public transport budget


- Senior and disabled concessions, supported bus services and passenger information protected

FURTHER reductions of £8.5m to South Yorkshire’s public transport budget have been agreed for the coming financial year.

The 10% cut in South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s (SYPTE) 2016/17 budget was passed by the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority on 1 February, reflecting resource and financial pressures across the local authorities that fund SYPTE.

SYPTE achieved £7.5m of the required £8.5m savings through internal, cost and reserve efficiencies, therefore lessening the impact the reductions will have on the public transport support services it provides.

Local enhancements to the Senior and Disabled English National Concessionary Travel Scheme have been protected, and the scope of these travel passes maintained. Supported bus services and passenger information are also unaffected.

However, the impact of further £1m required budget savings means the cost of a standard single child concession fare will increase by 10p from September 2016.

Parents will still be able to make savings on school travel with value for money, multi-operator child tickets, which will soon be available on smartcard. 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.

SCR Combined Authority Chair, Cllr 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.”

SYPTE held a ‘Have Your Say’ budget consultation from 4 September to 4 October 2015 to understand public transport users’ service priorities and the impact that any changes may have. 2,437 people gave their views.