Commuters said they would feel ‘wary’ of using public transport despite Mayor Dan Jarvis obtaining millions in funding for buses and trams.
People across Sheffield expressed concern over the safety of returning to public transport even after lockdown is over. This came as the Department for Transport reported an average 89% drop in UK bus journeys during April, as compared to bus journeys conducted in January.
Margaret Rutherford, from Millhouses, said: “I was a regular bus user, but since being identified as vulnerable due to my age and health problems, would feel very wary of using buses even when lockdown is over.
“They never felt very clean, and social distancing is impossible on them.”
In a poll conducted by JUS News, 77% of respondents reported they would feel unsafe returning to public transport even with Mayor Jarvis’ extra funding.
Many residents said they would only feel safe if precautions were taken, such as compulsory masks and gloves, and said they would continue to use cars in the meantime.
Joanne Gunn Peberdy, from Millhouses, said: “Unless strict penalties are put into place and put into action when precautions are ignored I think yet again the vulnerable and everyone will be at risk.”
Last week, Mayor Dan Jarvis secured a further £1 million in funding for Supertram in Sheffield City Region, further to the £10 million he acquired earlier this month for Sheffield buses.
The extra funding is to help keep services running for key workers and safeguard buses for social distancing.
Mayor Jarvis said: “I’m still encouraging everyone to continue following the national guidance for as long as is necessary.
“When restrictions are relaxed, I’m ensuring plans will be in place to enable us to adhere to social distancing and continue running public transport for all our communities.”
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive have been working with Mayor Jarvis to decide how public transport will run as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Currently, they are operating a reduced service across the city.
Tim Bilby, Managing Director of Stagecoach Supertram, said: “Supertram will also have a key part to play in the region’s recovery when we do come through this difficult period.
“It will be vital that the system has the resources it needs to seek to restore the service towards pre-pandemic levels when there will likely still be conditions which will change how people live and travel.”