THE number of buses and coaches using Barnsley’s roads is at a record low, new figures have revealed.

Department for Transport figures show 616 buses and coaches were licensed in Barnsley at the end of 2023.

This was down from 620 the year before, and represented a significant fall of 26 per cent since 2014, slumping to the lowest figure of any year over the last ten years.

It comes as fewer buses were licensed across the UK at the end of last year than in any year since 2014.

Some 141,300 buses and coaches were registered across the UK at the end of last year, a 16 per cent decline from nine years prior.

Rod Dennis, spokesperson for the RAC, said: “The fall is disappointing at a time when so much public money is being spent on trying to make bus travel more attractive.

“It’s little wonder then that so many people are as dependent on their cars as they are.”

The figures are similar across South Yorkshire as the number also hit a ‘record low’.

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The same figures show 2,188 buses and coaches were licensed in South Yorkshire at the end of 2023.

It was down from 2,241 the year before, and represented a fall of 27 per cent since 2014, slumping to the lowest figure of any year over the last decade.

Silviya Barrett, director of policy and campaigns at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Schemes such as the £2 bus fare cap have helped to boost bus passenger numbers, but they are no substitute for long-term funding, and these figures show we still have a way to go to halt the vicious cycle of bus cuts.

“The government must do more to support all local authorities so they can work with bus operators to run quality services and expand provision for the millions of people who rely on buses every day.”

The Bus Users campaign group said losing bus services leaves people ‘without vital access to education, healthcare, employment, friends and family’.

Chief executive Claire Walter said: “Funding for bus services is an investment that boosts local economies, reduces congestion and pollution, and improves health and wellbeing.

“We need ongoing, ring-fenced funding to protect these lifeline services for the future.”

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard has vowed to improve the bus network in Barnsley.

He said: “I’m committing to start rolling out a new South Yorkshire integrated public transport network by the end of this four-year term.

“That’s how we’ll make sure that everyone who lives here can access work or training, see a doctor, see friends and family and - crucially - access opportunity.

“That means connecting talent with opportunity, and giving everyone across Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield both freedom and choice about how they travel and move - putting people at the centre of our plans, not just for our transport network but in everything we do.”