Difficult choices ahead as SYPTE faces deep budget cuts
27 November 2013
The latest cuts will put a further 45 jobs at risk. This is on top of the 25% workforce reduction SYPTE has suffered in the last three years and which saw 61 posts alone lost in March 2013, half of which were achieved by compulsory redundancies, which we are seeking to minimise this year. The organisation has already had its budget slashed by more than £17 million over this time.
Senior managers have reviewed the organisation and measures identified to achieve the necessary budget savings, but there are now warnings that cuts of this scale will inevitably impact on locally-funded services and travel benefits.
The announcement comes as the economic climate within the region remains gloomy, with many of the South Yorkshire districts and other public sector organisations also making significant cuts whilst SYPTE has been pursuing an efficiency programme for several years the impact of the latest round of cuts is likely to be the most significant to date.
SYPTE’s overall remit centres on overseeing and delivering public transport to support the economic regeneration of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and is specifically responsible for maintaining the county’s public transport infrastructure, including its interchanges and bus stops.
It also subsidises bus services which operators say don’t make enough money to be commercially viable. These services, which make up a sixth of all bus miles in the county, are mainly evening, weekend and rural services, some of which are likely to be targeted in order to make the necessary savings.
David Young, SYPTE Deputy Interim Director General, said: “We knew that making the required savings in the next year would be challenging to achieve, and so it was inevitable that in addition to our continual review of improving the ways we work, and the services which we provide, we would have to make further cuts to budgets and with much regret, to staff numbers too. These cuts are deep and will significantly affect the services we will be able to provide for the customer on street.
“Our employees are central to all we do and so decisions about staff reductions will follow full consultation with the trade union to ensure all relevant options are considered.
“We have been continually working with operators, our district council partners and any interested private sector businesses to see how we can mitigate the effect of some of these now inevitable cuts but sadly it will be impossible to protect our customers from what will be a reduction in the services we provide.”
Over the past two years SYPTE has secured around £150 million worth of funding from Government and European sources for regionally important transport projects such as Tram-Train, Better Bus Area Fund, and a further £16 million recently announced from DfT in support of the Bus Rapid Transit project, as well as schemes to improve access to jobs and training.
Notwithstanding the cuts SYPTE is also continuing to be recognised through industry awards, having recently won the prestigious title of Integrated Transport Authority of the Year at the National Transport Awards.
For more information on the work of SYPTE visit sypte.co.uk