Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Transport Committee co-chair, has today (02 March) confirmed on Radio Sheffield that the red route bus lanes on Abbeydale road and Ecclesall road do not have Labour’s support to go ahead at this present time.
He also confirmed that Labour councillors do not want to see any changes to the current parking arrangements and no increases to the restriction time.
A discussion on this will go to the council’s cross-party Transport Committee on 16th March, with a final decision expected in the summer.
Council Leader Terry Fox:
“The reason we are doing this is quite simple – private operators have significantly cut back our bus networks since these red route schemes were being devised 18 months ago.
“We have worked hard to protect our buses: putting millions of pounds into ‘Connecting Sheffield’ upgrades and travel infrastructure, and the South Yorkshire Mayor has introduced measures like a £2 fare cap.
“But this has not been enough. South Yorkshire was the largest region to miss out on “Bus Back Better” money last year, receiving no support from the Government. Support is funnelled directly to bus companies, and even then, it is drip-fed for three months at a time and only renewed at the last minute – removing any ability to plan or recruit staff.
“As a result, we already lost 15% of our bus network last October. Without radical intervention from national government, we now face another, more severe, cliff edge this summer.
“We believe in bus lane segregation. Look at London – it works really well there. The issue we have locally, however, is that implementing them in the current climate is not right.
“There are many understandable local concerns, from residents and business, and we must listen to these. We have already paused the red route plans, and Labour councillors are today confirming we will not support them going ahead.
“We don’t support increasing the bus lanes for 12hrs , and we do not want to see any changes to current parking arrangements
“However, we will of course keep this under consideration until such a time when a city-wide public transport offer is fit for purpose.
“I will continue to work closely with South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard as he takes action to fix our transport system, most clearly by accelerating the bus franchising assessment process to as fast as the law will allow”.