April 14 2021
It’s been a busy month for CPT Cymru with the launch of two key documents ahead of the 2021 Senedd elections. CPT Cymru Director Joshua Miles provides an update on what the documents mean for the bus and coach industry in Wales.
The 2021 Senedd elections come at a critical time for the bus and coach sector here in Wales. After 12 months of the bus network being disrupted by Covid-19 and coach tourism coming to a standstill, we are now looking to the future. I’m delighted that this week CPT Cymru have published ‘A better bus network for Wales’ following the launch of ‘Backing Wales’ Coaches’. These documents outline what we need from the next Welsh Parliament so that we can rebuild a thriving bus and coach industry.
We have an opportunity to build a reinvigorated bus network for Wales and support the return of coach tourism, and in doing so tackle some of the major challenges we face; congestion, air quality, decarbonisation, social and economic inequality as well as rebuilding the economy from the impacts of the pandemic. Key to tackling these is getting people back on board buses and coaches, and ultimately growing passenger numbers. Although necessary from a public health perspective, advice to avoid public transport has brought into question passenger confidence. We need Welsh Government to work with us to restore passenger confidence, with messaging that encourages people back to bus travel and that travel by coach is Covid-19 safe.
The road to net-zero is at the forefront of the political agenda and buses and coaches will play a central role to reaching ambitious targets. The next Welsh Parliament must recognise that modal shift must be a key element of the decarbonisation strategy, as zero emission vehicles alone will not achieve net-zero. This means putting bus travel at the heart of transport planning with measures that keep buses out of traffic, so that people can rely on the bus for quick, reliable journeys. We are calling on the next Welsh Government to develop coach as a key component of Wales’ tourism strategy and to work with the industry on a strategy that will reduce the number of long-distance car journeys.
The next Welsh Government should have a clear vision for the bus sector. We need to see a National Bus Strategy for Wales that sets out how we’re going to grow passenger numbers by reducing congestion, investing in bus priority measures and improving the quality of our bus services. As the vaccination rate gathers pace and lockdown restrictions are relaxed, it will be critical that messaging changes to one of promoting bus and coach travel. If the next Welsh Parliament collaborates with the bus and coach industry, we can begin the economic recovery from Covid-19 and be well on the way to achieving net-zero ambitions.
Find out more about ‘A better bus network for Wales’ and ‘Backing Wales’ Coaches’ by clicking the links below.