Toby Mallinson with the 52A bus

In the ongoing disaster that is South Yorkshire’s bus services, I welcome all efforts by the Mayor, Oliver Coppard, to fight for better funding. The previous Labour mayor, Dan Jarvis, massively underachieved in building, or even protecting public transport infrastructure.

In Hillsborough, the frequent and well-used 52A service now goes no further than Hillsborough Interchange. It has been replaced by the unreliable, hourly, 31 through to Wisewood and Loxley with no evening or Sunday service. Similar changes have happened to many services across Sheffield and South Yorkshire damaging the economy and people’s lives.

Now, with South Yorkshire’s Bus Services Improvement Plan receiving no government funding in 2022, there’s not only a huge public transport funding gap between the South and the North. There’s a growing divide between northern regions too and South Yorkshire faces yet more cuts.

Lessons can be learnt from other councils to help fund public transport. A workplace parking levy in Nottingham has raised almost £90 million over the last 10 years which has been re-invested into sustainable transport across the city. Green Party proposals to explore this in Sheffield continue to be blocked by Labour and Lib Dem councillors.

We must get buses back under local control. Dan Jarvis dithered before finally starting the legal process in March 2022, the last month of his 4-year term. Greater Manchester begins to get services back into public control this September. It’s going to take time in South Yorkshire and the Mayor must work hard to secure the funding needed for a successful transition when it finally happens.

The Tory government has created an appalling system that pits regions against each other. It causes great economic and social problems for those areas that lose out. We have no choice but to radically improve the quality of our funding bids and negotiation skills with the Government. But we also need to reverse a decade of tax cuts for the rich to properly fund all public services, including a public transport system in meltdown.

Find out more about the Green Party’s vision for transport in Sheffield and South Yorkshire here

Councillor Toby Mallinson, Hillsborough Ward Green Party


Toby Mallinson with an 81 bus
Toby Mallinson with an 81 bus

After massive bus service cuts across South Yorkshire in October, the planned removal of government Covid-support subsidies on April 1st threatens a lot more. It’s no longer just rural services under threat. Now all areas of Sheffield are suffering bus service cuts.

The high-frequency, double-decker, 52a no longer goes beyond Hillsborough Interchange. The replacement is the daytime only, unreliable, infrequent, low capacity, 31 service which does not run on Sundays. This has hit all groups of bus users in Wisewood and Loxley communities very hard:

– For working people, the loss of a frequent, reliable, direct service to the city centre and key employers like Hallamshire Hospital. It will force some people to drive when we need to reduce car use to meet the city’s climate change targets.

-For many older and vulnerable people, the loss of a frequent, 7 days a week option for daily shopping, medical appointments or just getting out of the house. If the 31 fails to turn up or is full, you have a one-hour wait. This happens frequently and is particularly harsh in cold weather.

-For school students and parents, the loss of their direct 52a service to central secondary schools.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has taken more control over buses in his region by introducing franchising. South Yorkshire’s new mayor, Oliver Coppard, has understood how bad our buses are unlike his predecessor Dan Jarvis. He’s started applying for similar franchising powers but it’s a long process. We must keep up the pressure on Coppard and the councils which make up the mayoral authority to ensure we get back public control, rather than the unregulated chaos we have at present.

I’d like to thank local community activist Nicola Feetham whose 52a petition with more than 2300 signatures has kept up the pressure to provide vital services in the Hillsborough area. Also Better Buses for South Yorkshire who continue to campaign relentlessly on our behalf.

Hillsborough Greens have asked the mayor to make a more frequent 31 service a funding priority. Greens across South Yorkshire will not give up pushing the mayor, bus companies and the Tory Government to provide the investment and services we need across all local communities.

Toby Mallinson

Council Election candidate, Hillsborough Green Party