Councillor Ben Miskell’s spoke to Sheffield’s Full Council on Wednesday, calling for buses in Sheffield and South Yorkshire to be brought back under public control:
Lord Mayor, many residents in my ward, one of the most deprived in the whole city and one of the most disadvantaged in the entire country, rely on buses. They are a lifeline, getting people to jobs that often start at unsociable times in the morning and end late in the evening.
Residents in my ward are the key workers who held this city together through the pandemic and continued to work throughout. Often, they simply don’t have the luxury of opting for other modes of transport. But Lord Mayor, residents in my ward have been let down for too long by a bus service that doesn’t serve their needs. It is what can only be described as a deregulated free for all, which urgently needs to be brought to an end.
For too long, despite the best efforts of this council, this city has had a bus network that fails Sheffielders, when it comes to the routing, frequency, connectivity between different models of transport and the often scandalously high-ticket prices charged by private operators. This must come to an end.
That’s why I’m proud of the Bus Review that was led by Clive Betts MP and the unity amongst my colleagues in pushing to take back public control of the bus network. In fact, today, we’ve seen a joint statement issued by Mayor Dan Jarvis and the Leaders of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley’s councils, saying that franchising is very much ‘on the table’. I look forward to that, because if it’s right for London, with its £76 per head of population investment in buses, then it’s right for Sheffield, where we currently only see a measly £5 per head of invested.
Lord Mayor, I ask that members support this amendment.