Last chance to have say on next round of South Yorkshire bus cuts

The South Yorkshire Freedom riders protesting outside the SYPTE executive meeting in Barnsley
The South Yorkshire Freedom riders protesting outside the SYPTE executive meeting in Barnsley

More than 1,300 people have taken part in a consultation on more bus cuts facing South Yorkshire.

The survey was launched just days after a round of controversial cuts to services across Sheffield was agreed and runs until October 4.

It asks passengers to rate what is more important in child fares, OAP or disabled concessions, ahead of further budget reductions in 2016-2017.

But protesters the South Yorkshire Freedom Riders say the consultation is ‘divisive’ and are also concerned not enough people will know about it.

They attended a consultation event at Barnsley Interchange and said it was ‘hardly noticeable.’

Tony Nuttall, of the Barnsley Retirees’ Action Group, said campaigners held up placards and were told to put them away but refused.

He added: “We were determined travellers would see that something special was going on.

“The interchange manager told us only six people went to the table between 8.30am and 10am.”

The freedom riders requested the event be extended by an hour, which was granted by the South Yorkshire Transport Executive, and has protested outside interchanges in the past.

An executive spokesman added: “On Monday the freedom riders attended the consultation drop-in session at Barnsley interchange and protested by the stand.

“The group was asked to leave by a customer service manager and continue their protest outside, which they refused. They were then asked twice by a PCSO to leave, and refused.”

The spokesman said they ‘disagreed’ the protest would encourage people to take part. Visit or pick up a paper form from interchanges.

The final consultation events take place at Doncaster interchange September 25, from 8am until 11.30am, Meadowhall Interchange on September 29 from 3pm to 5.30pm, Dinnington mini i nterchange on October 1 from 8am to 10.30am and Hillsborough mini interchange on October 2 from 8am until 10.30am.

Meanwhile Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, has called on the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to improve local bus services and rail links in Barnsley as part of the consultation.

After being contacted by parents in Barnsley who faced a summer of uncertainty over the future of the 411 bus that pupils use to travel to school, Mr Dugher called for more powers to set routes and fares to be handed over to town halls and local communities.

The Barnsley East MP also called for increased and more punctual rails services to and from Elsecar rail station after commuters have complained that one train an hour is not sufficient to meet demand.

He said: “It is vital that local residents are able to get around Barnsley on public transport and better links and reliable services are a massive part of this.

“This summer, my postbag was full of complaints from frustrated commuters and bus users who are demanding a better service.

“We need better transport links in Barnsley, proper investment in our local services and a real voice for passengers at the heart of transport decisions which is why I’ve been campaigning for a better deal for local people.”

“I would urge all Barnsley residents to take part in SYPTE’s survey by visiting their website.”