In order to secure substantial government funding, the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) has agreed to bring in an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with bus operators as an interim arrangement while other governance models – including franchising – are further explored.

Under this model, the MCA, Local Authorities and operators agree shared aims and work closely together to deliver a better transport system. Once agreed, the partnership model unlocks additional government funding as set out in the National Bus Strategy.

Mayor Jarvis said: “Our bus services are critical to the future of South Yorkshire, but we need a transformation if they are going to fulfil their potential. If we build a good system, people will use it.

“This is an interim arrangement, so we can secure the funds needed, while we look at the full range of governance models, including franchising.

“My bottom line is that I will back whatever structure can best deliver the fundamental change we so badly need, to build a reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly bus service for all of South Yorkshire.

Mayor Jarvis continued: “As we know from other areas, franchising is a complicated process that can take many years, and we want to get cracking now on delivering the improvements our system is crying out for. An ‘Enhanced Partnership’ lets us start the process of reform and get results on the ground as soon as possible.

“But let me be clear, I won’t settle for anything other than a transformation of our buses.”

Mayor Dan Jarvis has already invested £3.2m to make a start on upgrading the bus network in South Yorkshire, and an additional £6m to extend cheaper fares to 18 – 21 year olds. The MCA has also put forward a bid to the Levelling Up Fund worth £50m which contains a package of proposals to improve the bus services for passengers.