Big cuts agreed for travel centres across South Yorkshire

Travel centres are to close, paper timetables will be scrapped and jobs are set to be lost after transport plans to save £7.6m were agreed.

Bus shelters will only be cleaned once every three months rather than every month and there will be reduced cleaning at interchanges, under the plans by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

A general view of Sheffield Interchange, Pond Street, Sheffield.

A general view of Sheffield Interchange, Pond Street, Sheffield.

The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority agreed the plans after local councils, which fund a levy to the executive, asked for it to be reduced by ten per cent.

Members agreed to set a budget of £68.3m.

The savings include closing information centres at Sheffield, Meadowhall, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

The facility on Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre will operate as a bus interchange only and be staffed by customer service assistants.

Passengers will have to use self-service kiosks and up to 40 jobs could be affected in total.

David Young, SYPTE deputy interim director, said they had made savings internally before those impacting customers.

Paper timetables will also be removed to save £118,000 and a travel choices team that promotes public transport travel will be scrapped.

Cleaning staff at interchanges will be reduced from two in the daytime and one in the evening to one, then a mobile cleaner.

Coun Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield Council, told the meeting: “The levy has to be balanced against other services that we provide in Sheffield. Some of our services in Sheffield are seeing cuts of up to 15 per cent.

She added the council had to cut the budget by ten per cent because other services would face bigger cuts if the reduction was any less.

She added that the local authorities had looked at ways they could provide some of the services themselves.

Coun Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and chairman of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, added: “None of these decisions are taken very easily and they lie heavy on us.”

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said by 2017, her authority would have 50 per cent less money to spend than it did in 2010.

“Nobody wants to do this, but we have to put forward a balanced budget,” she added.

Protestors gathered outside the meeting at Rotherham Town Hall and sat in the public gallery as the budget was set.

Tony Nuttall, of Barnsley Retirees’ Action Group, said the group opposed all the cuts. He made ‘practical suggestions’ including using more of the authority’s reserve funds and contacting bus companies to see if they could offer reduced travel on their services. Members have agreed to report back on his suggestions.