Posted: Sat 17th Jun 2023

Welsh Government’s £46m support for bus services across Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jun 17th, 2023

A new transitional scheme, announced on Friday by the Welsh Government, has secured the future of the majority of bus services in Wales.

The £46m Bus Transition Fund, revealed by Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters, will provide immediate financial support to bus operators, preventing mass cancellations of services across the country.

This fund will replace the Bus Emergency Scheme, which concludes at the end of July.

The funding will also maintain the strategic TrawsCymru services, keeping vital connections intact for Welsh communities.

Speaking at the announcement, Deputy Minister Waters said, “Today I have published a statement with industry partners and local authorities setting out further information on our financial support to the bus industry for this financial year.” Waters continued, “As a direct result of this funding we will be able to avoid mass cancellation of services across Wales.”

The Welsh Government has been actively collaborating with Regional Network Planning Teams and operators to formulate a sustainable bus service network once the emergency funding expires.

While this financial aid will protect most existing services, the Minister acknowledged that some routes may need adjustment to accommodate post-pandemic travel patterns.

Efforts are underway to communicate any network changes as promptly as possible.

The Welsh Government, alongside industry partners, is devoted to developing a sustainable funding model to smoothly transition to a franchising system in the future.

The Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), Cllr Andrew Morgan OBE, expressed gratitude for the joint effort, stating, “There has been some really intensive joint work undertaken by councils with operators, Welsh Government and Transport for Wales to protect as many bus services as possible whilst passenger numbers recover.”

Welcoming the funding, Aaron Hill, Director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said, “The Bus Transition Fund is good news for bus passengers throughout Wales, providing them with greater certainty over their travel to work, school, and to see friends and family.”

Scott Pearson, Director of the Coach and Bus Association Cymru, commended the government’s partnership approach in safeguarding crucial bus services. He stated that the association’s members “welcome the partnership style of working with Government adopted to ensure our customers continue to receive the bus services they rely upon each and every day.”

As the transition unfolds, the challenge will lie in balancing commercial and supported services, while promoting bus usage to ensure the longevity of as many routes as possible.

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