Oliver Coppard: Give South Yorkshire a vote on public control in May

Dear Mayor of South Yorkshire — Oliver Coppard,

Thank you for pushing for buses to come into public control. Please give us the final say in May so we can take back our buses once and for all.

Signed:

Graphic with photo of man in suit holding microphone. Text reads: Dear Mayor Oliver Coppard, Give South Yorkshire a vote on taking back our buses in May!
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Read our full letter below

Dear Mayor of South Yorkshire — Oliver Coppard,

Thank you for all the work you have done to fight for funding for and control of local public transport in your two years as South Yorkshire’s Mayor.

We were delighted that you were elected on a pledge to bring buses into public control. We believe transport must be run in the interests of people and planet, not just for profit.

We believe it is time to give the public a say on whether our buses should come back into public control. This must happen as soon as possible in May if possible.

We know you have worked hard to get through the Government-mandated three step process to formally deciding to bring buses into public control which includes:

  1. An extensive business case to show that it is the right thing for our region.
  2. An independent audit to confirm your business case has been done appropriately.
  3. A public consultation to show that we all support the proposal.

We are pleased that a decision on whether or not to move to the second stage, an independent audit, will now be taken at the March 12 Mayoral Authority meeting.

We are concerned that the early Mayoral election, with its pre-election period preventing authority meetings and public decisions, could delay progress to this third stage — and therefore to us reclaiming our buses.

The audit could be completed as early as April. However, if the result has to be reported to a Board meeting before a consultation begins, this would push it back until the June meeting.

We believe you have the power to avoid this. For instance, the meeting on March 12th could delegate the authority to accept the audit report, conditional on there being no major issues, and move to consultation to a senior officer at the Mayoral Authority, without the decision coming back to a full Board meeting and therefore waiting until June. Alternatively, you could work to hold an extraordinary meeting of the MCA in May to progress the plans.

Thank you again for all your work to bring our buses back from Thatcher's experiment with Wild West deregulation of our buses. Please work with us to ensure we deliver this change as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,