WIDESPREAD changes to Barnsley’s bus services have been questioned by the borough’s MPs - but transport bosses have defended the moves, blaming spiralling running costs, reduced funding and dwindling numbers of passengers.

From September 1, a large number of Barnsley’s services will undergo timetable changes - with some, like the 1 from Barnsley to Staincross and 11 to Athersley North, being reduced in frequency, and others being withdrawn completely.

MP for Barnsley East Stephanie Peacock said the changes could leave people isolated and unable to ‘go about their lives’.

“Buses are a lifeline for people in communities like Barnsley,” said Stephanie.

“And changes to services can have a profound impact on the lives of residents.

“Reductions and redirections can leave people isolated, unable to attend appointments, get to the shops, or faced with the choice of using expensive alternatives to go about their lives.

“As I’ve stated in Parliament, bus services should be operated with the needs of passengers in mind, not profit, and the impact of these amendments will provide further evidence to the Sheffield City Region review currently underway as to whether private bus companies are best placed to manage services.”

Barnsley Central MP and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis, who earlier this year launched a review of bus services across South Yorkshire, said he was keen to hear people’s opinions on the changes and how services could be improved.

Dan said: “These changes are part of a wider programme of updating bus routes and timetables in South Yorkshire. It is essential that routes and timings are reviewed on a regular basis.

“Although I am not responsible for determining specific routes or timetables, I am concerned about the impact of these proposed changes on communities in Barnsley.