Minister marks opening of Bus Rapid Transit North scheme


Government Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP was joined by local transport leaders to mark the official opening of Sheffield City Region’s £29.8 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) North scheme today (Monday 12 December) at the newly constructed ‘Blackburn Meadows Way’ link road under J34 of the M1.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP, said: “This new link between Sheffield and Rotherham will cut congestion, improve journeys, help create thousands of jobs and boost the regional economy.

“Up to 2 million passengers are expected to use it in its first year alone, this shows how vital good bus services are to our communities.”

Delivered by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Sheffield City Council, and part financed by £15.8 million from the Department for Transport and £8.1 million from the European Union's Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BRT North’s eight mile route introduces a new link road, highway and junction modifications that provide bus priority traffic control, purpose built bus stops with real-time passenger information, and modern low emission vehicles.

Nearly half a million passengers have already benefitted from the scheme’s ‘X1 Steel Link’ bus service and new infrastructure since it was introduced on 4 September 2016. The service provides high-quality, frequent public transport connections between Rotherham and Sheffield in addition to improving capacity, reliability and quality on the bus network.

First South Yorkshire Head of Commercial, Allan Riggall, said: “Customers have welcomed the new X1 service providing a high quality, great value journey delivering improved and reliable connections. We’re delighted to have worked closely with all our transport partners in delivering such an outstanding new service that supports the region’s economic and low emission objectives whilst providing a real alternative to the car.”

The ‘Blackburn Meadows Way’ link road, built on bridges over the River Don and under Tinsley Viaduct, is designed to offer a direct route for buses, improve local traffic congestion near Meadowhall, and support Lower Don Valley development schemes such as the Olympic Legacy Park and Ikea to create up to 4,400 new jobs. It includes one of the largest retaining wall structures in the UK.

SYPTE Executive Director Stephen Edwards, said: “BRT North is vital to meet local transport demands and support economic growth. The frequent connections and dedicated bus routes it offers between the centres of Rotherham and Sheffield is providing customers with flexibility, improved capacity and a high-quality, reliable public transport option.”

Partner at Nabarro LLP and lead SCR LEP board member for transport, Martin McKervey, added: “Sheffield City Region partners are working together to create a thriving, super-connected and successful economy and the opening of this vital new link under the motorway at Tinsley is further evidence of what we can achieve when we work together. This investment, which has taken 325,000 person hours in construction, will ease congestion on the M1, and provides infrastructure for a high quality, modern and reliable bus service. This road better connects key economic areas of Rotherham and Sheffield and is welcome news to businesses and residents across our city region. This gives a real boost to economic growth and jobs as part of our shared ambition to build a centre of economic excellence.”

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