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Official Backers of ACORN's TAKE BACK OUR BUSES Campaign...

Sheffield Trades Council

Sheffield Youth Strike for Climate

Sheffield Stop and Scrap Universal Credit

Burngreave Clean Air Campaign

Friends of the Earth Sheffield

Sheffield Needs A Pay Rise

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders

Unite Sheffield Not-For-Profit Branch

Louise Haigh MP

Olivia Blake MP

Sheffield Greens






Dan Jarvis - meet the community

Companies like FirstBus and Stagecoach might be responsible for our shoddy system, but its Mayor Dan Jarvis who has the power to fix the mess.

In 2019 Jarvis commissioned a review into the state of buses in the region. That report is due for imminent release. After dodging our email requests, we paid a visit to his office to invite him to to a public meeting to tell the people of South Yorkshire how he plans act on the report. 

He has agreed to meet in May - details will be released as soon as we get them!!!

Ghost Bus Stops!

 In Autumn 2019, FirstBus (WorstBus?), Stagecoach and other smaller operators announced major cuts to services across South Yorkshire. Many services were either reduced or, like the 31 in Walkley, cut entirely, leaving communities with bus stops, but no buses.

Local ACORN members are demanding these routes reinstated. On Halloween members turned Walkley & Upperthorpe bus stops into Ghost Bus Stops to highlight the effects of these cuts on communities.

With public control, we can protect routes like the 31.  

FirstBus Poster Campaign

In 2019 the Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis launched a review of the region's bus services.

The aim of the review was to find out from bus users and potential bus users about their experiences. The results of the consultation will be published in 2020, and will influence the Mayor's decision to take action to improve public transport. 

FirstBus refused to tell their passengers about the consultation, so ACORN members took matters into our own hands. Over the course of a weekend, we hit the buses and put up our own posters to inform passengers of the review. 

Within a day of the action, FirstBus bowed to our pressure and agreed to carry posters for the remainder of the consultation period. 

The action showed that we cannot rely on private companies to improve services - they benefit from how it currently works, and are resistant to change at every turn. 

Street Petitioning 

Our members have been hitting the streets with a petition. We know that a petition alone is not going to be enough to convince Mayor Jarvis, but we know it is an essential part of the campaign. If enough people sign, we will aim to hold a public meeting in 2020 in order to ramp up the pressure for public control.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, email sheffield@acorncommunities.org.uk to find out more. 



1. One, simple ticket

Right now, different companies charge different prices for different routes - it’s a minefield. Taking back control of our buses will allow us to bring in one simple ticket. In London, A pay as you go adult fare is £1.50, and you can use the same ticket if you have two journeys within an hour.

2. Timetables that work

By taking buses back into public control, we could properly plan the network, rather than allowing private companies to pick and choose routes that benefit them. We could force companies to run more services at evenings and weekends, and plan the network so bus, tram and train services link up with each other.

3. Cheaper fares

By taking back public control of our buses, we could cap fares so that travel is affordable. Right now, bus companies are making huge profits, and much of the money made ends up in the pockets of shareholders.

4. Protect essential routes

Profits from popular routes could be used to subsidise essential but often less busy routes, meaning that transport is provided where it is most needed, rather than where it makes the most money. 

5. Raised standards across the board, for workers, passengers and the environment

Regulating the network would allow us to set sector wide standards for pay, conditions and pensions, avoiding a ‘race-to-the-bottom’. It would mean workers across the region would all get a fair deal. And it is not just workers who would benefit from more regulation - region-wide standards of accessibility for disabled users could be introduced, and emissions standards could be set in order to stamp out the most polluting vehicles.


Q: Who Is ACORN?

We are a member-led campaigning organisation, supporting and empowering low-income communities across the country to fight for a better life. We have just launched a campaign to take South Yorkshire’s buses back into public control. Join now!

Q: What are you calling for?

(TLDR: Dan Jarvis, metro mayor has the power to bring buses under public control, we want him to use them and bring back our buses)

Dan Jarvis, the new Metro Mayor for the Sheffield City Region has the power to tame this Wild West market, and take our buses back under public control. That will enable us to cap prices, set timetables and extend coverage where it’s needed, rather than where it is profitable for the fat cat bus companies.

We’re calling for Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region Mayor, to use his powers as the elected city-region mayor to bring our region’s buses back under public control.

Public control of buses (also called regulated or franchised) means that our bus services would be accountable to the communities that they serve and bus companies would be forced to prioritise providing the best possible service for them, rather than shareholder profits.

When we have public control:

  • Routes and timetables can be coordinated to provide a better and more efficient service.
  • Routes can be protected to make sure that everyone has access to reliable public transport, even in the evenings and on Sundays
  • We can set ticket prices to make them simpler to use  and more affordable
Q: How do buses operate in South Yorkshire now?

(TLDR: Bus companies can do whatever they want, there are no rules or standards but they still get public money, fares have risen, standards have fallen and routes have been cut - its a disgrace, many people have been forced to find another way to get around )

Right now, bus companies have free reign over what services they provide, when and how much they charge for them. Despite this they still receive public funding for running their business. A full 40% of bus companies income comes from public money.

This model is called the “partnership” model. Partnerships leave bus companies to choose routes and fares to maximise profit for their shareholders.. This has led to a network that is fragmented, with multiple companies running the same profitable routes and less profitable essential routes cut. The prices have shot up and the complicated pricing structure puts people of using them. This inefficient system is a waste of public money.

As a result of this poor service, bus use has declined 18% in South Yorkshire since 2009. People are forced to use cars to get around which is bad for everyone, and it's bad for our planet. Public control forces bus companies to deliver what we need from our buses.

Q: Why are you not calling for public ownership?

(TLDR: That’s the long-term plan, but it’s illegal right now. Public control (franchising)  is what we can achieve right now and it will make things much better than they are currently)

Our campaign aims to reverse the privatisation of our buses.In the long term, we want public ownership. Currently, its illegal to start a new publicly owned bus company so we’re campaigning for public control which is the best option available to us right now.

We see public control as a step on the way to public ownership and a crucial thing we can do to improve buses right now. Public control will end the Wild West free-market that’s left us with a substandard bus service and give us back a service that is accountable to the public.

Q: How much would it cost?

(TLDR: long term this will save us money because we won’t be leaking money to shareholders, buses are already publicly funded we should have control over that money, there will be some transition costs but its worth it - bus companies don;t want us to do this because they want to protect their profits)

Long term, this will save us money. Public control is better value for the money we put in because less of it is going to shareholders and because it makes the service more efficient. Regulating buses saved Jersey £800,000! Its estimated to save £340 million if we regulated across the UK.

There will be some transition costs that will need to be properly funded by the local authority, exactly how much will come out of the review, but the bus companies are trying to make this seem like more than it is.

We  deserve an efficient, reliable, comprehensive service and this is how we get it. Its our money that pays for the rubbish service we have now, 40% of bus companies revenue is from taxes and everyone's fares makes up the rest. Public transport is an important priority and services are not meeting public need. 

We already pay for it, so we should be able to have some say and have a service. Public control uses our money for buses over shareholder dividends and that’ why bus companies oppose it.


Q: Where would you get the money from?

(TLDR: this will save us money! Investing in public transport is has wider benefits)

Public control would use public money to go further for our buses. Its estimated to save £340 million if we regulated across the UK. More investment is needed in our bus services to make them world class and we think this is money well spent. The benefits of having a good bus service go way beyond just the passengers who use the bus, and if we get a better service then more of us will be passengers. This is a win for everyone except bus company shareholders.

Public control means we would be able to reinvest the profits back into the service rather than paying out to shareholders. This is happening in Reading and Edinburgh where bus services are under public stewardship.

Tax payers money already makes up 40% of bus company revenues and our fares pay for the rest. It's our money anyway so transport authorities should have control over how the services are run.

Public control leads to efficiency savings and financial gains for the public purse. If bus services were brought into public control  everywhere in the UK this would raise enough money to restore all of the buses that have been cut since 2010 due to austerity. Public control will save us money and give us better services.

Q: What would it mean for bus workers?

(TLDR; We love bus workers and stand in solidarity with them, we want better pay and conditions for them, public control means that the city region can enforce standards) 

We absolutely support bus workers, public control of bus services can help them win better pay and conidtions. Since deregulation, bus workers’ pay and conditions have declined relative to average wages in all other occupations. We stand in solidarity with bus workers and want to see an improvement in their pay and conditions. Public control can bring an end to  the dangerous “race to the bottom” that means bus companies get away with paying their staff as little as possible. In other European countries where there is franchising this is used to enforce sector-wide wages and conditions. We want that for our bus workers.