Village's bus route back thanks to teamwork
John Healey worked with the parish council, residents, bus company bosses and the South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard to get plans in place for a new route to link Wentworth directly with Rotherham and Barnsley via Hoyland.
Mr Coppard confirmed a new number 7 route was to be launched by the end of July - well ahead of wider bus network changes due in October.
Wentworth & Dearne MP Mr Healey said: “This shows what can be done when people pull together.
“We had a strong case to make but I had to open the doors to the people making the decisions, and Mayor Coppard’s backing was vital.”
This campaign followed cuts last October which saw Wentworth left with just three buses a day and two in the evening from Monday to Saturday, after the previous 136 bus provided by First was withdrawn.
The new number 7 bus will run every hour in both directions between Monday to Saturday from early morning to early evening. This new service also restores a direct link in the village for residents between Barnsley and Rotherham town centres.
Mr Healey paid tribute to Wentworth Parish Council and said: “They work hard for the village and they know some people don’t drive and totally depend on buses.
“They backed my campaign 100 per cent.”
He also went on to thank Mr Coppard, saying: “He could see the village was cut off for those without cars and he pledged to help restore this vital bus link.
“He also went a step further by agreeing to my proposal for starting this new service in advance of the general network changes in October.”
Cllr Brendan McNamara, chair of Wentworth Parish Council, said: “As a parish council, we wrote to the Mayoral Authority earlier this year to highlight the problem we currently have with the lack of daytime service in Wentworth and the difficulty residents who rely on the buses were having in getting out and about, including local businesses and their employees.
“It was great to have the support of and to work alongside our MP in raising this problem and we’re so pleased to get the restoration of a proper bus route running through the day in the village.”
Mr Coppard said: “Here in South Yorkshire, we have lost 15 per cent of our bus services in the last year.
“On a daily basis, I hear about the impact those cuts are having on our communities – on people’s ability to get to jobs, medical appointments, college, or simply to see friends and family.
“We’re doing what we can.
“When operators decide to cut a route, all we can do is pay them public money to keep those routes going. I’m pleased we have been able to reinstate some vital routes, but let me be clear, our network is still at risk.
“We urgently need a partner in Government who will match our ambition for public transport in South Yorkshire, not manage its decline.”