Agenda item

South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority Transport - Update


Nathan Broadhead, Bus Partnership and Development Manager, gave the following presentation on the bus services update and contract awards:-



¾     Approval at 31st July SYMCA Board to tender evening and Sunday bus services at a lower frequency to ensure maximum coverage

¾     Tender exercise commenced in August with deadline of 31st August

¾     In order to remain within budget, frequency of evening and Sunday services to a mixture of 60, 90 and 120 minute frequency

¾     Tenders assessed, contract award recommendations prepared and produced together with implications at a service level

¾     Contract awards issued to operators on the basis of the recommended approvals who had then registered changes ahead of the 29th October service change dater

¾     Confirmed annualised budget of £5.9M available for evening and Sunday tenders


Initial Tender Analysis

¾     For tenders from operators for evening and Sunday services – total costs £5.82M compared to budget of £5.9M

¾     Able to protect all of the evening and Sunday network based on affordability albeit at reduced frequency and with some service amendments and combined services to maintain coverage

¾     Evening and Sunday services which had not run since October 2022 had not been tendered and were not proposed to be reinstated

¾     Average cost per passenger by local authority ranged from £0.80 to £1.52 with a regional average of £1.17 but the highest overall was £31.25

¾     On the high cost per passenger services, other better value for money solutions would continue to be explored and replaced where possible



¾     The final set of contract awards for evening and Sunday services were the last remaining component of bus service tenders which took SYMCA through to as a minimum April 2025

¾     Been able to protect daytime tendered services to July 2026, non-statutory school services to July 2025 and evening and Sunday services to March 2025

¾     Total tendered service budget increase from £7M in 2020/21 to £18.75M for 2023/24, expected to raise to £21m in 2024/25

¾     Retention of hourly or better frequency on a number of services across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield with First and Stagecoach at no extra cost to the MCA

¾     The new total mileage provided overall was 84.16% of current evening and Sunday mileage being operated (83.70% for evenings and 85.05% Sundays)

¾     Higher than the expected outcome of the process which would have been nearer to 50% had all services reduced to a 2 hourly frequency

¾     Belief that in some case operators were seeking to protect their commercial day time services by retaining (at their own cost) improved frequencies in particular to make services remain as attractive as possible to passengers that relied on evening (or Sunday) services to fulfil their journeys

¾     Not been able to protect all services at current frequencies and seeing an approximate 16% reduction in frequency for evening and Sunday.  Each local authority had services which would reduce frequency

¾     Some passengers would still face a reduction on their current hourly service to every 2 hours

¾     Need to ensure operators ran the lower frequency contracts reliably to avoid unacceptable gaps in service


Implications for Rotherham

¾     Retention of 20 services in the evening and 21 services on Sunday

¾     Reduction in frequency in the evening to 87.9% of current frequency and 90.2% on Sunday

¾     94% of current passenger demand in the evening protected and 97% on Sunday

¾     Average cost per passenger combined for evening and Sunday services of £1.42


Recommendations and Next Steps

¾     Leaders had been taken through the outcome of the tender process as well as briefings of Executive Directors and/or senior transport officers

¾     Stakeholder communications updated and issued on the basis of the information contained within the briefing

¾     Work with SYMCA Communications Team to ensure consistent messaging on the reason for the changes and how they related to the funding changes in South Yorkshire.  The Mayoral Bus campaign had run throughout September and October

¾     Timetable changes and customer-facing information had started being prepared from 18th September in readiness for timetables to be updated online and at bus stops around 2 weeks ahead of the service change date

¾     100% of digital (PDF) timetables updated on the Travel South Yorkshire website for passengers

¾     Timetable printing to distribute to stops commenced on 13th October with timetables at stops updated between 17th-26th October

¾     The service change came into effect on Sunday, 29th October


South Yorkshire Fare Changes – came into effect as from 1st November, 2023 Bus Fare Cap

¾     A child single fare would change to £1 instead of 80p with a valid Zoom under 16 or 16-18 pass

¾     The adult single fare cap remained at £2.  The fare cap remained in place until December 2024


Zoom Beyond 18-21

¾     80p fare would be withdrawn

¾     A new flat fare of £1.50 would be available for Zoom Beyond cardholders on services run by First, Stagecoach and TM Travel and £2 on Supertram

For more information go to


Discussion ensued on the presentation with the following issues raised/clarified:-


·        SYMCA had done everything it could to protect the network.  The pressures that existed were completely out of their control

·        Publication of the changes to the Zoom card had been seen in communities


Agreed:-  That the presentation be circulated to all Members.