AN axed bus service which is set to be reinstated after county bosses stepped in due to a campaign led by pensioners may not be able to be repeated at other impacted locations due to the cost - leading more calls to be made for a government bailout to put passengers’ needs first.

A new service - the 33 - will replace the former Stagecoach-operated 43 and 44 which served the Broadway area.

Funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), it will run between the town centre and Woodland Drive, along Racecommon Road and Broadway, Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm from the spring.

It led to fresh calls being made for previously-culled services to return elsewhere - but the cost in doing so would run into the ‘millions’.

A report, compiled by the SYMCA, warned more routes face being culled - unless the government step in and provide a better financial package.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard told the Chronicle: “Our communities both need and deserve better buses.

“Where we have the money we can step in and support services, but we’re stuck in a system that simply doesn’t allow us to create the sort of bus network that I would want.

“I know our communities want that, too.

“So while I’m pleased we’ve been able to help out here, if we’re really going to make a difference long-term we need a fair funding deal from government.

“We need the private sector operators to match our commitment to listening to bus users, and making change happen.

“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 but when operators decide to cut a route, all we can do is pay them public money to keep those routes going.

“We urgently need a partner in government who will match our ambition for public transport, not manage its decline.”

Since 1986, bus services in England - but not London - have been deregulated, meaning they are mainly run by private bus companies that have control over their routes, timetables, ticket options, fares and frequency.

Government funding - which is given to county authorities - is the equivalent of £30 per passenger in the West Midlands, £33 per passenger in Greater Manchester and £34 per passenger in neighbouring West Yorkshire.

However, South Yorkshire passengers receive just £4.50 per head which campaigners say has forced operators such as Stagecoach and First into prioritising profit over performance.

Matthew Topham, from the Better Buses for South Yorkshire group, added: “Private operators control our services and can effectively hold the public to ransom: pay up or lose lifeline routes.

“Every month we hand millions over while gaining no meaningful say over the services we rely on.

“The UK is the only place in Europe that runs this absurd system of handing complete control over to a patchwork of private companies that can’t then integrate the services in the public interest.

“The only thing less shocking than a bus not turning up is the hunger folks have for a bus network that puts people ahead of profit.

“Only public control gives our communities - not overseas shareholders - the final say over services.”

Coun Chris Wray, who has backed Barnsley pensioners in their quest to secure a replacement service to Broadway, said that while it was a ‘small win’, a longer term solution is needed.

“What we’ve seen is only a small win and a small stay of execution.

“The bus that will serve the Woodland Drive area is limited and I have said it needs to run longer at the least.

“For now there is something in place for the residents in the area, and the bus is an offering, but we need a permanent solution.

“The public push started by Ronnie Steele is amazing, and it has certainly made the messages sent in to Stagecoach and the SYMCA more visible.

“What we need now is a permanent solution - we can’t keep letting private companies cut routes with no thought to the consequences.”