A ‘LIFELINE’ bus service which was axed before fed-up passengers fought to secure a replacement will begin next week - and campaigners have vowed to continue their battle to reinstate more cut-off routes having met with Stagecoach bosses yesterday.

The new South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority-commissioned service - the 33 - will replace the former Stagecoach-operated 43 and 44 which served the Broadway area.

The Chronicle can confirm it will run between the town centre and Woodland Drive, along Racecommon Road and Broadway, from Monday April 8 between 10am and 2pm.

Campaigners met with Stagecoach’s network planners yesterday to present a dossier of passenger testaments relating to how the axing had impacted their lives and another public meeting - which will be held at St Edward’s Church on Wednesday at 2pm - has also been scheduled.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Following the withdrawal of commercial services by Stagecoach, SYMCA moved to reinstate services as best it could within limited budget.

“From next Monday, we are funding a tendered 33 service, operated by South Pennine Community Transport.

“I recognise the strength of feeling in the community on the loss of this service and agreed to support campaigners in their efforts.”

Well-attended public meetings were organised following Stagecoach’s announcement to cull the service, followed by demonstrations at Barnsley Interchange and outside the operator’s town centre offices on Eldon Arcade.

A petition - which accrued 1,000 signatures in just four days - was also handed to the SYMCA.

Campaigner Ronnie Steele added: “We formally presented our petition to the board of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

“It was passed unanimously and will be sent to Stagecoach forthwith.

“This convoluted method of presenting our petition is because Stagecoach refused to accept it in the first place.

“We urge the South Yorkshire Mayoral Authority to pressurise Stagecoach to ensure the services are reinstated.

“The senior citizens of the Broadway area of Barnsley have been completely abandoned by the private bus company, Stagecoach.

“The Broadway estates were built in the 1960s to provide social housing, largely for the elderly and infirm.

“Up until recently four buses per hour served the area, now there are none.

“It’s great that Mr Coppard’s supported us and a replacement service has been commissioned, but it should be Stagecoach who foot the bill.

“If Stagecoach cannot guarantee a regular, reliable service for the people of our town, then they should be stripped of the franchise.”

Jump-based Fran Postlethwaite, from Better Buses For South Yorkshire, praised Mr Coppard’s stance.

“We’re proud to work alongside a mayor who is looking to push the pace on investigating franchising and standing up to the government for the funding our region needs.

“Profits at first quadrupled last year, partly after the mayor stepped in to fund more services and prevent cuts.

“Under public control, we could use those as green shoots to reinvest the profits from public investment back into the service and get a cycle going where better services bring more passengers, more money and yet more improvements.

“The large numbers of people turning up to protests and rallies, signing petitions, and supporting the campaign have ensured we are moving forward in Barnsley.

“If a service is unprofitable, it gets axed, leaving communities isolated as in the Broadway area, unless public funding steps in to fill the breach.”