South Yorkshire leaders have approved proposals to create a new, publicly owned, company to run the local tram system.

The decision, made last week at the Mayoral Combined Authority Board, aims to create an ‘arm’s length’ publicly owned company to run the region’s tram system, when Stagecoach’s current contract for network operation ends in March 2024.

This means that the running of Supertram services, infrastructure and finances will be controlled by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA).

South Yorkshire Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: “Supertram has been part of our region’s fabric for nearly thirty years. It’s iconic to South Yorkshire and plays a critical role in helping us reach our net zero goal. But, with that legacy, parts of the system are nearing the end of their design life, and – in the aftermath of the pandemic – passengers are using services differently.

“Our ambitions, for how our communities get to jobs or education, and how they visit family and friends – must work for the whole of our region for a generation to come.”

The iconic tram line, which opened in 1994, cost £240 million and serves major residential and employment sites in Sheffield. A project from Tram Train, in 2018, even extended the network to Rotherham.

The SYMCA also secured a £100 million grant from the government, to modernise parts of the system and improve the tracks as well as the infrastructure.

Mayor Coppard adds: “This will help us to develop a long-term approach that integrates Supertram into our wider plans for public transport across South Yorkshire.”