Nearly 90 per cent back renewal of Supertram in Sheffield and reject scrapping network for buses

Sheffield residents and businesses have overwhelming supported a plan to renew and modernise Supertram, a survey has found.Â

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 12:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 12:48 pm
Supertram on the streets of Sheffield

Transport bosses at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) launched a consultation earlier this year and found 88 per cent backed a scheme to renew and improve vehicles and information systems. 

Some 78 per cent rejected scrapping the scheme completely to be replaced with a new dedicated bus service. 

Supertram makes its first entry into the city centre arriving on a proving journey over the new bow string bridge into Commercial Street, 5th November 1993

Stagecoach has operated Sheffield Supertram since 1994 but the commission is up for renewal in 2024 at a cost of around £230 million. 

There is no money set aside to completely renew the system and bosses are relying on the Department for Transport to stump up the majority of the cash. 

The renewal also requires a '˜commitment to a local contribution' of around '˜20 per cent' from the four South Yorkshire councils which roughly totals £46 million. 

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has previously said there will be '˜no more taxpayers cash' from borough residents to pay for Supertram and any funding for renewal should come from central grants and fares. 

Barnsley Council leader Steve Houghton has also cited Supertram as a reason for pulling out of the Sheffield City Region devolution deal. 

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has spoken of Supertram's importance to the area and his travel master plan which includes possible expansion across the county. 

Of the 2,888 responses received, 67 per cent supported maintaining Supertram as it is through ongoing essential repairs. Some 78 per cent opposed exploring alternative transport options to Supertram, such as a dedicated bus system. 

Over a quarter stated they moved or relocated to be nearer to a tram routea and some 68 per cent of respondents would travel by car if the tram was no longer available. 

Mayor Jarvis said: 'It is clear from the number of responses received, that our Supertram system is a source of pride and of great value to those that use it. 

'Renewing Supertram is fundamental to the growth of our region. The tram train pilot scheme has the potential to be extended to other areas across the region, easily and conveniently connecting urban areas with our towns and city. 

'I want to ensure that we build a transport system that works for everyone, connecting people to the places they want to go, both within the region and also nationally and internationally.' 

The results of the consultation will now be discussed by transport bosses.

A plan will be presented in a business case that will be considered by the  SCR Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

Further consultation will be held during the next stage of project, when the business case is complete in the middle of 2019.