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Agenda item

Notice Of Motion Regarding "Guaranteeing No More Cuts and No More Fare Increases" - Given By Councillor Ian Auckland And To Be Seconded By Councillor Richard Shaw

That this Council:-

 

(a)       believes that the Sheffield Bus Partnership has failed the citizens of Sheffield by not improving services and keeping fares low which has led to:-

 

(i)         cuts to services available to the general public;

 

(ii)        extortionate fare increases, forcing people to use their cars over public transport as a cheaper and more accessible option; and

 

(iii)       a lack of public confidence in the reliability of the bus service, which is also contributing to decreasing passenger numbers; noting that punctuality of bus services has reduced, down to 84% from 87% over the past three years;

 

(b)       is concerned that increased car use will add to air pollution in the city centre if fewer people are using more energy efficient bus services;

 

(c)        is concerned that cuts to bus services are preventing people from getting to work, school, run errands and attend medical appointments;

 

(d)       notes that, under the Bus Services Act 2017, the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority has the power to enact bus franchising and was agreed in the original 2015 Sheffield devolution deal;

 

(e)       believes that bus franchising will be a long-term solution to these problems, allowing bus operators and local authorities to work collaboratively to improve bus services and realise untapped growth potentials in regional and rural areas;

 

(f)        acknowledges the excellence of remaining municipal bus operators, and accepts the potential of a return of municipal enterprise in public transport services; however, notes that this would require new legislation, together with the assumption of substantial liabilities, risk and costs beyond that needed for a franchise approach; and

 

(g)       resolves to:-

 

(i)         call on this Administration to protect passengers from further fare increases, cuts to routes and unreliable services by using any available means, which could include, but not necessarily be limited to:-

 

(A)       giving notice to immediately terminate the Bus Partnership Agreement;

 

(B)       enlisting the support of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive;

 

(C)       an active media campaign; and

 

(D)       a review of existing bus priority measures in order to deliver a more reliable, greener and efficient bus service;

 

(ii)        support the introduction of a statutory bus quality contract in Sheffield;

 

(iii)       give notice to terminate Sheffield City Council’s membership of the Sheffield Bus Partnership immediately;

 

(iv)       call on the Sheffield City Region Mayor to progress bus franchising under the powers of the Bus Services Act 2017; and

 

(v)        send copies of this motion to all the other parties to the Bus Partnership Agreement.

 

Minutes:

8.1

It was formally moved by Councillor Ian Auckland, and formally seconded by Councillor Richard Shaw, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       believes that the Sheffield Bus Partnership has failed the citizens of Sheffield by not improving services and keeping fares low which has led to:-

 

 

 

(i)         cuts to services available to the general public;

 

(ii)        extortionate fare increases, forcing people to use their cars over public transport as a cheaper and more accessible option; and

 

(iii)       a lack of public confidence in the reliability of the bus service, which is also contributing to decreasing passenger numbers; noting that punctuality of bus services has reduced, down to 84% from 87% over the past three years;

 

 

 

(b)       is concerned that increased car use will add to air pollution in the city centre if fewer people are using more energy efficient bus services;

 

(c)        is concerned that cuts to bus services are preventing people from getting to work, school, run errands and attend medical appointments;

 

(d)       notes that, under the Bus Services Act 2017, the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority has the power to enact bus franchising and was agreed in the original 2015 Sheffield devolution deal;

 

 

 

(e)       believes that bus franchising will be a long-term solution to these problems, allowing bus operators and local authorities to work collaboratively to improve bus services and realise untapped growth potentials in regional and rural areas;

 

(f)        acknowledges the excellence of remaining municipal bus operators, and accepts the potential of a return of municipal enterprise in public transport services; however, notes that this would require new legislation, together with the assumption of substantial liabilities, risk and costs beyond that needed for a franchise approach; and

 

(g)       resolves to:-

 

 

 

(i)         call on this Administration to protect passengers from further fare increases, cuts to routes and unreliable services by using any available means, which could include, but not necessarily be limited to:-

 

 

 

(A)       giving notice to immediately terminate the Bus Partnership Agreement;

 

(B)       enlisting the support of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive;

 

(C)       an active media campaign; and

 

(D)       a review of existing bus priority measures in order to deliver a more reliable, greener and efficient bus service;

 

 

 

(ii)        support the introduction of a statutory bus quality contract in Sheffield;

 

(iii)       give notice to terminate Sheffield City Council’s membership of the Sheffield Bus Partnership immediately;

 

(iv)       call on the Sheffield City Region Mayor to progress bus franchising under the powers of the Bus Services Act 2017; and

 

(v)        send copies of this motion to all the other parties to the Bus Partnership Agreement.

 

 

8.2

Whereupon, it was formally moved by Councillor Sophie Wilson, and formally seconded by Councillor Andy Bainbridge, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words:-

 

 

 

(a)       agrees with comments from former Liberal Democrat Minister for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Norman Baker, that the Sheffield Bus Partnership Agreement was, at the time, “good news for the City”; and that the partnership directly led to the exclusive Better Bus Area grant of £18.3 million to further improve Sheffield’s bus offer just a year later;

 

(b)       notes that the recent Bus in Crises report found that, nationally, bus services are under sustained pressure, with council funding almost halved since 2010;

 

(c)        further notes that budgets to subsidise routes were reduced by another £20m last year and 188 services were cut, according to the Campaign for Better Transport, and that local authorities across England and Wales had taken £182m away from supported bus services over the decade, affecting more than 3,000 bus routes;

 

(d)       believes that councils had been put in an impossible position due to actions from successive governments since 2010 and the resulting funding squeeze;

 

(e)       notes that South Yorkshire transport activity is principally resourced through a Levy contributed by the four districts and that, as partners’ budgets have come under increasing pressure, the Levy has been reduced, noting that since April 2010, the Levy across South Yorkshire has fallen by £38.9m (41% down) from £94.7m to £55.8m for the financial year 2018/19, and further notes that Sheffield Liberal Democrat councillors supported these reductions;

 

(f)        recalls the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010 and the onslaught of cuts that Sheffield has suffered from, which were wholly unopposed by the local Liberal Democrat Group, despite all the evidence that showed the damage they were doing to Sheffield;

 

 

 

(g)       notes that despite these unprecedented cuts, which this Council believes were politically motivated, the Partnership has helped to ensure that city bus day and weekly tickets are still lower today in 2018 than they were in 2015, and that operators have invested heavily in modern technology, such as contactless ticket technology on almost every bus, free wifi, and USB ports in the new vehicles and the introduction of 117 greener and low emission buses;

 

(h)       believes that this Administration is doing everything possible to ensure that buses can pass through the city as efficiently as possible, and supports the planned improvements on the inner ring road, which will mean buses are able to pass through significantly more quickly, improving punctuality and reliability for numerous services;

 

(i)         notes that this Administration opposed government plans which have stripped local authorities of their ability to set-up and run their own municipal bus operators, and notes that Labour have promised to reverse this nationally;

 

(j)         recognises that control of the bus service is one of the powers available to the Sheffield City Region Mayor, and recalls that the opportunity to re-regulate bus services in the city was one of the reasons why this Council agreed to support the devolution deal; and

 

(k)        notes that, in November 2018, this Council called on the Sheffield City Region Mayor to bring forward re-regulation of the bus service.

 

 

8.3

It was then formally moved by Councillor Rob Murphy, and formally seconded by Councillor Douglas Johnson, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraph (g)(iv) and the substitution of a new paragraph (g)(iv) as follows:-

 

 

 

(g)(iv)  note the manifesto commitment of the Sheffield City Region Mayor in May 2018 to ‘use regulatory powers’, and the call from this Council on 7th November 2018 to him to ‘bring forward reregulation of the bus service’, and calls again for the Mayor to progress bus franchising under the powers of the Bus Services Act 2017; and

 

 

8.4

It was then formally moved by Councillor Penny Baker, and formally seconded by Councillor Sue Auckland, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the addition of new paragraphs (h) to (j) as follows:-

 

 

 

(h)       agrees with Clive Betts MP that the cost of public transport was a "real problem" in the City and that "it's a history over the last few decades of well above inflation fare rises whilst services have deteriorated all the time";

 

(i)         condemns recent fare increases as ultimately a futile strategy, only increasing bus company revenue and profits in the short term, further noting that, according to Matt Davis, Managing Director, Stagecoach Yorkshire, "where these costs are passed on to passengers through fares, every 8% increase in costs leads to a potential 5.6% fall in passenger numbers. Also, every 10% reduction in service frequency results in an estimated 5% drop in patronage"; and

 

(j)         notes comments recently made by the Labour Party Leader, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn, MP, that “Passengers now face a toxic mix of rising fares, cuts to services and reduced access” and “For too long the bus industry has put profit for a few before millions of passengers”, further notes that it is for councils to choose which bus operations to support in their area, and believes this that Administration continues to support fare increases and service cuts.

 

 

8.5

The amendment moved by Councillor Sophie Wilson was put to the vote and was carried.

 

 

8.5.1

(NOTE: Councillors Kaltum Rivers, Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy, Martin Phipps and Alison Teal voted for paragraphs (b), (c), (e) and (k), voted against paragraphs (a), (d) and (h), and abstained from voting on paragraphs (f), (g), (i) and (j) of the amendment, and asked for this to be recorded.)

 

 

8.6

The amendment moved by Councillor Rob Murphy was put to the vote and was carried on the basis that the new paragraph was to be an additional paragraph to the Substantive Motion.

 

 

8.7

The amendment moved by Councillor Penny Baker was put to the vote and was carried, except for paragraph (j) which was negatived.

 

 

8.7.1

(NOTE: Councillors Kaltum Rivers, Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy, Martin Phipps and Alison Teal voted for paragraphs (h) and (i), and abstained from voting on paragraph (j) of the amendment, and asked for this to be recorded.)

 

 

8.8

The original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       agrees with comments from former Liberal Democrat Minister for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Norman Baker, that the Sheffield Bus Partnership Agreement was, at the time, “good news for the City”; and that the partnership directly led to the exclusive Better Bus Area grant of £18.3 million to further improve Sheffield’s bus offer just a year later;

 

(b)       notes that the recent Bus in Crises report found that, nationally, bus services are under sustained pressure, with council funding almost halved since 2010;

 

(c)        further notes that budgets to subsidise routes were reduced by another £20m last year and 188 services were cut, according to the Campaign for Better Transport, and that local authorities across England and Wales had taken £182m away from supported bus services over the decade, affecting more than 3,000 bus routes;

 

(d)       believes that councils had been put in an impossible position due to actions from successive governments since 2010 and the resulting funding squeeze;

 

 

 

(e)       notes that South Yorkshire transport activity is principally resourced through a Levy contributed by the four districts and that, as partners’ budgets have come under increasing pressure, the Levy has been reduced, noting that since April 2010, the Levy across South Yorkshire has fallen by £38.9m (41% down) from £94.7m to £55.8m for the financial year 2018/19, and further notes that Sheffield Liberal Democrat councillors supported these reductions;

 

(f)        recalls the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010 and the onslaught of cuts that Sheffield has suffered from, which were wholly unopposed by the local Liberal Democrat Group, despite all the evidence that showed the damage they were doing to Sheffield;

 

(g)       notes that despite these unprecedented cuts, which this Council believes were politically motivated, the Partnership has helped to ensure that city bus day and weekly tickets are still lower today in 2018 than they were in 2015, and that operators have invested heavily in modern technology, such as contactless ticket technology on almost every bus, free wifi, and USB ports in the new vehicles and the introduction of 117 greener and low emission buses;

 

(h)       believes that this Administration is doing everything possible to ensure that buses can pass through the city as efficiently as possible, and supports the planned improvements on the inner ring road, which will mean buses are able to pass through significantly more quickly, improving punctuality and reliability for numerous services;

 

 

 

(i)         notes that this Administration opposed government plans which have stripped local authorities of their ability to set-up and run their own municipal bus operators, and notes that Labour have promised to reverse this nationally;

 

(j)         recognises that control of the bus service is one of the powers available to the Sheffield City Region Mayor, and recalls that the opportunity to re-regulate bus services in the city was one of the reasons why this Council agreed to support the devolution deal;

 

(k)        notes that, in November 2018, this Council called on the Sheffield City Region Mayor to bring forward re-regulation of the bus service;

 

(l)         notes the manifesto commitment of the Sheffield City Region Mayor in May 2018 to ‘use regulatory powers’, and the call from this Council on 7th November 2018 to him to ‘bring forward reregulation of the bus service’, and calls again for the Mayor to progress bus franchising under the powers of the Bus Services Act 2017;

 

 

 

(m)      agrees with Clive Betts MP that the cost of public transport was a "real problem" in the City and that "it's a history over the last few decades of well above inflation fare rises whilst services have deteriorated all the time"; and

 

(n)       condemns recent fare increases as ultimately a futile strategy, only increasing bus company revenue and profits in the short term, further noting that, according to Matt Davis, Managing Director, Stagecoach Yorkshire, "where these costs are passed on to passengers through fares, every 8% increase in costs leads to a potential 5.6% fall in passenger numbers. Also, every 10% reduction in service frequency results in an estimated 5% drop in patronage".

 

 

 

8.8.1

(NOTE: 1. Councillors Simon Clement-Jones, Bob Pullin, Richard Shaw, Mohammed Mahroof, Joe Otten, Martin Smith, Paul Scriven, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Cliff Woodcraft, Ian Auckland, Sue Auckland, Steve Ayris, Gail Smith, David Baker, Penny Baker, Vickie Priestley and Mike Levery voted for paragraphs (b), (c), (j), (k), (m) and (n), and against paragraphs (a), (d) to (i) and (l) of the Substantive Motion, and asked for this to be recorded; and

 

 

 

2. Councillors Kaltum Rivers, Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy, Martin Phipps and Alison Teal voted for paragraphs (b), (c), (e), (k), (l), (m) and (n), voted against paragraphs (a), (d) and (h), and abstained from voting on paragraphs (f), (g), (i) and (j) of the amendment, and asked for this to be recorded.)