March 16 2020
CLA Cymru Director John Pockett reacts to the publication of the Welsh Government’s Bus Services Bill. The terms of the Bill could give councils the power to set up franchises, similar to how buses are run in London, and means that companies would have to bid for the right to run bus services on certain routes.
“Bus travel is central to transport in Wales with over 100 million journeys being made by bus each year to get to work, the shops, education or to connect with family and friends. Operators welcome the opportunity to work with Government and transport authorities to deliver better services for passengers.
“The best way to improve services would be meaningful action to tackle congestion to speed up journey times, which is the number one reason people choose not to take the bus. This will require significant investment from the Welsh Government in bus priority measures in our towns and cities to support the ongoing investment being made by bus operators to improve services. Unfortunately this Bill is silent on whether this investment will be forthcoming and is a missed opportunity.
“Simply focusing on the regulatory regime for buses will not deliver the quicker journeys that will benefit passengers; nor will it encourage people to switch car journeys for bus journeys which would help us all to meet climate emergency and air quality goals which, we know, are key concerns for the Welsh Government.”