Barnsley ‘stuck in the slow lane’ as councillors delay action on bus services

Written by Emily Phillips

A proposed motion to bring buses back into public control in Barnsley was delayed yesterday after councillors amended it.

In this proposal, the local council would take charge of bus routes, fares and standards, instead of individual operators.

Matthew Topham, of the campaign group Better Buses for South Yorkshire, said: “The leaders of the region are dragging their heels.”

The original motion asked the local council to commit to findings from the South Yorkshire Bus Review, which took place in 2020 and consulted nearly 6000 people, Mr Topham said.

The review gave councillors three years to make a final decision on public control, with no progress so far.

Greater Manchester set off their campaign in 2018, sparking other regions around the country to follow suit.

This week, following an email action on the group’s Twitter page, over 200 local people contacted the Barnsley Cabinet asking them to pass the motion unamended.

Cllr Steve Houghton, Labour leader of the council, said the costs of public control needed to be understood through a further preliminary assessment, before the proposed statutory assessment could go ahead.

Mr Topham said prior to the council meeting that this type of setback would undermine what the campaign are wanting to achieve and, following the meeting, frustration continues.

He said: “Public control was identified as the best way to deliver improvements to our services by the Mayor’s bus review, with a statutory investigation identified as the next step.

“Why have our councillors decided to leave the handbrake on and introduce yet another delay?”

Many other organisations are involved in campaigning, including South Yorkshire Freedom Riders, Unite Community, Yorkshire Pensioners Association and national campaign organisation, We Own It.

The news comes as last week Sheffield City Council passed the motion’s recommendations, with passenger protests outside Dan Jarvis’ mayoral office.

After the action in Barnsley yesterday, Mr Topham said: “Once again, South Yorkshire is stuck in the slow lane.”

Written by Emily Phillips

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