Sheffield FreeBee bus service to be axed?

When I saw long queues for the FreeBee bus by the The Moor Market in Sheffield recently just after it re-located from the bottom of town, I wondered how long the valuable service would last in this climate of austerity.

On 6th February the ridiculously named South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority met to agree on drastic savings that will result in the total removal of the FreeBee service in Sheffield and also Rotherham. (The Authority also agreed to change the time slot for concessionary free weekday travel to 0930 instead of 0900 ending at 2300).

The body anticipates that a “negative public reaction can be expected to some of the cuts proposed” which is not surprising considering that cuts of 9.7% are planned for 2014/15.

Not only does the government and our local authorities want to clobber us with benefit cuts including the Bedroom Tax, the ending of Council Tax benefit and the closure of libraries and children’s centres, they add public transport cuts to the mix too.

What you may not know is that the people who make the decisions on these cuts are actually elected councillors representing local authorities in South Yorkshire. The members include 10 from Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat and 1 Conservative.

You might be thinking. “That’s fine, Labour councillors dominate the body and wouldn’t make such major cuts.” But think again. The councillors include Sheffield Cabinet member Councillor Leigh Bramall and disgraced former Cabinet Member Councillor Bryan Lodge. These two government puppets have been quite happy to implement disgraceful Tory spending cuts since 2011.

Remember that the austerity cuts we are all facing stem from the antics of reckless senior bankers. Instead of awarding themselves yet more bonuses, they are the ones who should be paying for the cost of living crisis we are facing, not us.

I urge people to fight tooth and nail against these cuts, as we should against all government cuts.
The FreeBee service is very popular in Sheffield and was the first such service in the country. It is described on the Travel South Yorkshire website as “a huge success” and in 2009 after only two years of operating “carried its millionth passenger…, smashing predicted figures and receiving glowing feedback.

It is such a worthwhile service. Everything from its high frequency and link to the new Moor Market plus obvious social, economic and environmental benefits make the axing of it seem like pure vandalism. Please don’t let this happen!

What can I do to try and stop these cuts?

Spread the word!
The first I knew about these cuts was from the local paper. A lot of people will not know about the cuts so tell everyone!

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