The public has backed plans to invest millions of pounds into improving Sheffield’s beloved Supertram and save it from potential closure.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive said the current trams are 'coming to the end of their working life' after more than 20 years’ service.
The transport body is preparing to bid for £230 million from the Government – but warned if they fail to convince ministers to release the money the tram network could come to an end.
They launched a public consultation asking passengers for their thoughts on the future of Supertram and 2888 people replied.
In total, 73.3 per cent of respondents said they would ‘strongly support’ an option to ‘renew and modernise’ the network, which could include new vehicles, track and information systems. This modernisation programme would start in 2024 and secure the service for the next 30 years.
43.7 per cent were strongly in favour of another option to “maintain the network as it is.”
A third option, to explore ‘alternative transport options’ including replacing trams with a larger bus network, was the most unpopular. Just 6.9 per cent strongly supported this option.
Stephen Edwards, SYPTE’s executive director, said: “Our current concession agreement for tram services ends in March 2024, and significant funding would be needed to allow Supertram to operate beyond this time.
“Your feedback is important to help us plan for the future of the network.”
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis added: “It is clear from the number of responses received, that our Supertram system is a source of pride and of great value to those that use it.
“Renewing Supertram is fundamental to the growth of our region.
“I want to ensure that we build a transport system that works for everyone, connecting people to the places they want to go, both within the region and also nationally and internationally.”
The results of the survey will help tram bosses to select a preferred option when they submit a business case for funding to the
Department for Transport, expected to be in 2020.