Communities across South Yorkshire will benefit from £19.4 million investment following an announcement today [14 December] by the Department for Transport (DfT) to improve local transport links and support economic growth.
Following a successful bid from South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), the investment will be used towards funding the Bus Rapid Transit North scheme - a new high frequency bus service from Rotherham to Sheffield, via the Lower Don Valley, including a new sustainable transport route under the M1 at junction 34, Tinsley.
The announcement comes in addition to the Government’s statement last month, which will see the Dft invest £12.3 million to provide four new tram vehicles in Sheffield.
It is proposed that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) North scheme will:
· Provide a high quality, frequent and reliable public transport service connecting development sites in the Lower Don Valley to the centres of Rotherham and Sheffield
· Enable significant development proposals in the Lower Don Valley, through the provision of the Tinsley Link Road and a new public transport service
· Support new and existing jobs in the Lower Don Valley by providing direct, sustainable access in an area which is currently constrained by congestion at peak periods.
David Brown, SYPTE Director General, said: “We are delighted to receive news of this £19.4m of funding from the Department for Transport, as part of its wider investment in local transport schemes across the country.
“This shows fantastic strides forward in our ongoing commitment to providing a sustainable transport network across South Yorkshire. It will help unlock economic development in the Lower Don Valley by funding a high frequency bus service from Rotherham to Sheffield and increasing capacity for local traffic around junction 34 of the M1.
“These improvements will be invaluable in terms of enabling economic growth, strengthening local communities, providing better access to jobs and services, and reducing congestion.
“This good news also follows the government’s recent announcement to fund the much needed four new trams in Sheffield, which will help ease overcrowding at peak times and improve the customer experience.”
The Bus Rapid Transit North developments are expected to generate an estimated £200 million for the local economy each year, increase public transport patronage by 7,500 passengers per day, and reduce carbon emissions by 6,320 tonnes over 60 years.
Councillor Leigh Bramall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport at Sheffield City Council said: "£19.4m for Bus Rapid Transit North is great news. This considerable investment will help to make the scheme a reality, stimulating economic regeneration in the Lower Don Valley, improving transport and helping to address air quality.
"Bus Rapid Transit North is a key part of our aspirations for the Lower Don Valley area and emerging Enterprise Zone. We are working tirelessly to boost the city region economy, to provide more jobs for local people and to bring vital investment to the Sheffield City Region economy. The BRT North scheme will provide the much needed infrastructure to stimulate this economic growth. The current programme would see construction start in early 2014 with the service operational in Autumn 2015."
Councillor Gerald Smith, Rotherham Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Prosperity, said the announcement was good news for Rotherham.
He added: "I really welcome it because the bus will run from Rotherham Bus Station along a new road at Tinsley through the Don Valley to Sheffield making limited stops. It will not only cut the journey-time down between the two destinations but will also hopefully relieve congestion and provide sustainable access to employment opportunities in the Don Valley."
South Yorkshire’s investment forms part of £854m worth of investment from the Department of Transport in 21 schemes across the country.
For more information visit sypte.co.uk