Posted: Fri 28th Jan 2022

Re-regulation of bus services will ensure public transport better serves our communities

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jan 28th, 2022

Three North Wales Members of the Senedd are calling for the bus industry to be re-regulated to ensure public transport better serves our communities.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The 1985 Transport Act had a huge impact on the way services could run, making profitability the sole reason a bus route should exist. Local Authorities can subsidise routes, but this puts additional strain on already diminished budgets following 10 years of austerity.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Act also sets out complex competition mechanisms, meaning no provider could run a route out of public interest, and instead leads to increased competition on a small number of profitable routes with rural and less used routes ignored.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Now, Jack Sargeant, Ken Skates and Carolyn Thomas MS are calling for re-regulation of the industry that will mean bus routes are driven by community need and the requirements of our local economies, rather than making money for private companies.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Jack Sargeant, Member of the Senedd for Alyn and Deeside said: “Most people would want a planned bus network built around getting people where they need to be and encouraging us to use busses.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Sadly, this concept of public good was so offensive to the then Tory Government that they passed this law to prohibit such attempts. The legacy of Thatcher’s de-regulation of the bus industry is less services, poorer pay and conditions for drivers and less money to invest in new busses.”  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Carolyn Thomas has first-hand experience of the difficulties local authorities face as a former cabinet member for Flintshire County Council. The MS for North Wales added: “Rural bus routes are rarely money makers, but they are a lifeline for many. Whilst highly populated areas tend to have better bus services because that is where they are most lucrative, it is rural communities that do not have access to amenities locally and need the transport. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I have sat in rooms filled with people, some in tears, as routes have had to be cancelled due to the current system. Bus routes should be run for people, not for profit, with an element of social value in all contracts.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ken Skates, MS for Clwyd South and former Minister for Transport said: “Bus de-regulation has left many communities in my constituency at a disadvantage. The deterioration in bus provision has damaged local economies and caused isolation for those living in rural villages.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Wales now has the powers to put this situation right and develop a stronger regulatory system for bus services.”  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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