Sheffield's Supertram network to be brought back under public control when Stagecoach contract runs out

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is set to bring the county’s trams back into public control.

It would mean the running of Supertram services, infrastructure and finances would be controlled by SYMCA when Stagecoach’s current contract ends on March 21, 2024.

Regional leaders are expected to vote through the plans in a board meeting on Tuesday, October 18.

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Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Supertram has been part of our region’s fabric for nearly thirty years. It’s iconic to South Yorkshire and plays a critical role in helping us reach our net zero goal. But with that legacy, parts of the system are nearing the end of their design life, and – in the aftermath of the pandemic – passengers are using services differently.

Sheffield Supertram heading up Church Street.Sheffield Supertram heading up Church Street.
Sheffield Supertram heading up Church Street.

“Our ambitions – for how our communities get to jobs or education, and how they visit family and friends – must work for the whole of our region for a generation to come.

“That is why we are reviewing the funding and future of our region’s tram network. I am excited to propose public sector operation as the next stop on Supertram’s journey. This will help us to develop a long-term approach that integrates Supertram into our wider plans for public transport across South Yorkshire.”

If the plan is given the green light next week, all affected Supertram employees will be able to transfer to the new operating company on their existing terms and conditions.

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The plans are part of wider ambitions to upgrade Supertram as part of a fully integrated public transport network.

SYMCA recently secured a £100 million government grant to modernise parts of the system, including track and infrastructure improvements and better facilites for passengers.

It will present an outline business case to the Department for Transport for further funding in 2023.

What about buses?

The South Yorkshire authority is assessing a proposed bus franchising scheme for the county, which would mean accountability for services would transfer from private operators to SYMCA.

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In the meantime, an ‘enhanced bus partnership’ agreement between the authority and local bus operators will remain in place for an initial period of between three and five years while the assessment is undertaken.