Transport chiefs in South Yorkshire are set to bid for millions of pounds of Government funding to make buses quicker, smarter and smoother.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is applying to the Better Bus Area Fund for cash to make buses quicker through new bus priority measures, smarter through multi-operator smartcards and smoother due to improved traffic flows.
The proposals aim to help enable growth of 1,225,000 new passenger trips, save 756 tonnnes of carbon and as a result of reduced boarding times for all bus users in South Yorkshire.
If successful the bid would attract £4.91m from the Department for Transport as well as pulling in another £7.3m in local contributions.
The bid is targeted on the main employment areas in South Yorkshire and aims to significantly improve access to jobs and services.
It has been developed in partnership with bus operators to provide a network that enables existing and new passengers to benefit from the employment opportunities of the Sheffield City Region (SCR). Research has shown that without investment traffic in South Yorkshire will see significant delays in the years to come.
The bid has three main parts. Investment will be targeted towards smart, multi-operator tickets. These will provide more cost effective travel for young people looking to access work or training.
Bus journeys on the most important arterial and business routes will be faster and more reliable through infrastructure improvements. These will help improve the efficiency of the network and increase economic productivity.
And the network will be managed and enforced to improve journey speeds and efficiency at traffic bottlenecks.
If successful SYPTE, in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, will directly help 2,250 young people into work and training by providing a public transport smartcard allowing free travel for up to three months. After that the smartcard would allow the holder to pay for their tickets to access work by bus in the long term.
Amongst the works planned are highway improvements along Ecclesall Road in Sheffield to speed up bus journeys by relieving bottlenecks at Moore Street Roundabout, Hunters Bar and Bents Green to reduce bus delays by introducing bus pre-signals to junctions and preventing vehicles queuing onto a key roundabout.
Smart management technology will be used to control traffic signals and give priority to buses to minimise the delays experienced along the route. And there will be bus stop clearways, raised kerbs and tactile paving at 30 stops along the corridor including 10 new bus shelters with Real Time Information displays at key stops.
Further improvements will be made along the Sheffield to Halfway (Optio Orange route). This will see bus lanes at three pinch points at Granville Road, Mansfield Road/Manor Top and City Road/Spring lane to reduce bus delays. Work will also be carried out on Rotherham Thrybergh, Woodfield Way, Barnsley Town Centre, and Sheffield key commuter routes.
Ben Still, SYPTE Director of Strategy, said: “The Better Bus Area Fund will help to get public transport moving more efficiently on key corridors which support employment. That will help employees, employers and improve air quality for everyone.
“It will also allow us to directly help young people with their transport costs to make sure those costs aren’t a barrier to them getting into work or training.”