Sheffield bus passengers invited to take part in public transport survey

The views of Sheffield bus passengers are being sought.
The views of Sheffield bus passengers are being sought.

The views of bus passengers in Sheffield are being sought as part of an inquiry into the decline in the number of people using public transport across the country.

Sheffield MP Clive Betts, who recently said the cost of public transport was a ‘major problem’ in the city, is part of the all-party House of Commons Transport Committee.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

The group of MPs have launched an inquiry into people’s experiences and expectations about bus services and Mr Betts said it was ‘important that the voices of Sheffield and South Yorkshire people’ were heard.

The committee will look at reliability, how bus services are financed and examples of best practice.

Mr Betts said: “The Star has published a number of articles, including the views of local users, operators and politicians (including myself) about bus services in recent weeks.

“Now, the all-party House of Commons Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into people’s experiences of and expectations about bus services throughout the UK. It is important that the voices of Sheffield and South Yorkshire people are heard in this consultation.

“I invite everyone who is interested in trying to improve our local bus services to contribute.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) called for a redesign of the Government’s transport, housing and economic policy, after its research revealed public transport was 'holding back' low-income families from achieving a better standard of living.

Transport was consistently highlighted as a 'significant barrier' to work once the trade-off between the cost, reliability and speed of local public transport; and the prospect of low-wage, insecure work was considered, the study by researchers from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University found.

One of its authors Ed Ferrari, director of the centre for regional economic and social research at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “The report was very much about drawing up experience of bus users in Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow because these were the case studies, many of the issues are transferable not just across north but any part of the country outside London.

"The issues are particularly problematic in cities that have been most impacted by job losses over the last 20 years and you can certainly say Sheffield has.

"One of the issues we draw attention to in the report is that in most cases, city centres have become more vibrant in terms of employment but most are high-tech jobs and these kind of workers drive.

"Most low-paid jobs are now out of city centres on industrial estates and business parks and the bus services are poor and expensive."

Announcing the inquiry, chairman of the committee Lilian Greenwood said: “There are a number of reasons for the sharp decline in bus use in England outside London over the past 25 years.

“Congestion, car ownership, an increase in online shopping, and reductions in local authority subsidies all play a part.

“Our inquiry seeks to gather evidence about the health and future of the bus market.

“We will look at operational factors including the impact of congestion and reliability. We'll be asking about the most effective models for bus companies.

“The financing of buses, investment in services and value for money and progress since the Bus Services Act 2017 in metro and non-metro areas will all come under consideration.

“Buses are a vital lifeline in many communities but with funding streams falling and fares rising, their availability and attractiveness to the travelling public is under threat.

“A successful bus market can cut congestion, reduce social isolation, help the environment and offer a variety of economic benefits. I would encourage anyone with insight into this sector to submit evidence."

To take part in the consultation visit https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news-parliament-2017/health-of-bus-market-inquiry-launch-17-19.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, September 24.