Update – February 2024
Update – December 2023
Following the meeting held in October regarding bus services in the Askern, Norton and Campsall area, a follow up meeting was held with Arriva, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and local representatives to discuss options to improve the service.
It was left that Arriva were going to put together some options based on the feedback received and share these with SYMCA. An email update has now been sent out from Mayor Oliver Coppard to residents who attended the meeting in October which you can see below.
Thank you for attending the community bus meeting in Norton in October.
As you will remember, at that meeting Ed Miliband MP and I promised to do everything we could to get Arriva to look again at services in Norton, and to deliver some of the changes that our community wants to see.
We promised to call together a working meeting with Dwayne from Arriva to review potential changes, including borough and parish councillors, my team and Ed’s team, and other members of the community.
Together, we pressed Arriva to act on the concerns you raised in our meeting (including services to and from Askern, Norton and Instoneville as well as bus routes and frequency). Those in the meeting reiterated the challenges that our communities currently face, and set out well-considered alternative suggestions which might be viable.
I’m grateful to Arriva for the constructive approach they have taken, including following up in writing to me. They have proposed a set of reforms, including:
• Options to provide separate services with a quicker direct hourly service complemented with a less frequent service for smaller communities.
• Options to relink services with the 408/409, that is wholly funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, that provide a link to Pontefract.
• Options to extend service 496 from South Elmsall via Askern to improve access to employment and links to Pontefract.
Before we implement those changes, we need to make sure that they work for the people of Askern, Norton and Instoneville, too. Our final step, before any changes take effect, is to come back to you with a formal consultation. This will be issued soon, when we’ve finalised the last few details with Arriva. I will email you again to make you aware of the details of that formal consultation as soon as it is available.
As I explained when we met, I wish we could go further and faster in reforming how our buses operate, and in bringing in additional funding for our bus network. We are constrained by the legal limits imposed on us by the Government in London, and by the lack of funding allocated to South Yorkshire for buses by the Department for Transport. We will make the changes we can in the short-term, while I push forward with our bus franchising assessment to make sure we have the powers we need in South Yorkshire to reshape routes and services.
Thank you once again for giving up your valuable time to join me in Norton.
With my best wishes,
South Yorkshire’s Mayor
Update – October 2023
Askern, Campsall and Norton Bus Services
I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who attended the meeting in Norton on Friday with Oliver Coppard about bus services. I asked for the meeting because I know the very justified strength of feeling and it was incredibly well attended with almost 100 local residents attending.I know some couldn’t attend because it was during working hours.
Many residents shared their experiences of the bus service and how recent changes have had a significant impact on them from kids trying to get to school to those trying to get to work to the elderly and those with disabilities.
Oliver Coppard explained that funding for buses in South Yorkshire has been reduced significantly by the Conservative government, with another round of reduction in services at the end of this month. The Mayor had requested a further £205 million for buses but this had been rejected by the government.
Some routes are run by bus companies for profit and others are funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, so the reductions in funding means that they are unable to provide as many journeys as they would like to. Oliver Coppard explained that he is passionate about delivering a much better bus service for South Yorkshire, but some of the plans are medium to long term plans due to legislation.
Current legislation stops Oliver Copppard setting up a municipal bus company and makes him jump through hoops to get the control over services that London has. The Labour Party has committed to change this if we get into government.
Residents understood that transformation couldn’t happen overnight, but wanted as much done now as possible because the situation is so urgent.
Arriva also attended the meeting and it was agreed at the meeting that they are going to work with SYMCA to discuss amending the route of the 51 bus so it better met the needs of local residents. They will work with local representatives to ensure the views of local people are taken into account. This will be looked at in the next month and I will keep you updated.I know there is scepticism about whether Arriva will deliver what local people want and I understand that.
I will continue to do everything that I can to listen to constituents and press for a better service that meets the needs of local people–working alongside the Mayor and all local and parish councillors, including my Labour colleagues Austen White and Iris Beech who attended the meeting.
The meeting was a good start because the Mayor knows the strength of feeling, but I will keep fighting for change and improvement.
Update – September 2023
Update – June 2023
Rosie Winterton and I have written to the Department for Transport to ask it to urgently accelerate reform for local bus funding.
Residents have been in touch about the impact of the changes to bus services.
I am particularly concerned by the loss of the 405 and 408/409. These were important services that linked residents to jobs, family, education and health care in Pontefract and Selby. Constituents have told me that local people have lost their jobs and children can no longer get to college due to bus services being withdrawn
I met officers from Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, before Christmas to discuss these concerns. I have contacted bus operators and Dame Rosie and I have raised this with the Government.
South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is trying to plug the gaps for as long as it can but we need a sensible, sustainable funding solution before we lose more services.