£40m bid to tempt young out of their cars

SOUTH Yorkshire transport bosses are hoping to lure young people away from dependence on "car culture."

They are bidding for cash from the Government's £40m Sustainable Transport Fund, which aims tor reduce congestion and carbon emissions.

A detailed plan will be produced later, but officials at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport reckon people are more open to new ideas when they are going through a life change such as leaving school, starting a college course or changing their job.

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The £40 million scheme will concentrate on ten geographical areas around South Yorkshire—including Maltby, the Dearne Valley, Blackburn Valley, Conisbrough and Mexborough.

People living in those areas will be targeted by a number of strategies which aim to increase bus, train and tram use.

Do you think the programme is a good idea. What would tempt you to leave the car at home? Use the "write a comment" button to post your views.

In a report examined by members of the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority this week, officers outlined how a “legacy” of increased public transport use can be created.

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The report says: “We need to target those who still do not have fixed travel habits. Our bid is designed to facilitate travel to work in the ten target areas where connectivity is poor.

“We will increase the attractiveness and awareness of more sustainable modes and target people as they make key life choices, such as moving house, changing job or obtaining employment.”

The areas which have been identified for the investment span the so-called Sheffield City Region, which Westminster wants to see work together to create economic growth.

They include the three main South Yorkshire town centres which officers say have high levels of deprivation, unemployment and poor health.

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The report adds: “Unemployment and low skills are slowing down the Sheffield City Region’s growth, through reducing entrepreneurialism and perpetuating a skills mismatch in the economy.

“There is also evidence that a lack of connectivity for those without a car is a major barrier facing those unemployed in many parts of the city region.

“The high proportion of commuting trips made by car is causing congestion, which leads to reduced productivity, carbon emissions and air pollution.

“A shift to more sustainable commuting patterns will improve the city region’s competitiveness and create new opportunities for businesses, employers and employees.”

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The scheme will not only concentrate on encouraging people to use public transport, but will also spend money on traffic management which will give buses priority over those using their own cars to commute.

People will also be urged to take up options, such as walking and cycling with grants for the introduction of bike parking at factories and offices.

A car-sharing database is also proposed, which would allow people to find potential car-share partners, while firms which operate low carbon vehicles would also receive recognition.

According to coalition Government ministers the LSTF will “promote sustainable transport interventions that support economic growth whilst reducing carbon emissions.”

The Department for Transport said it had received 73 bids from across England in the first round.

Successful bids will be revealed at the end of June.