The Welsh Labour Government have secured arrangements that could save school bus services across Llanelli. Legal changes brought in the by the UK Government meant that buses operating paid routes to schools would have to comply with equality legislation from January 2020. But instead of investing in new buses suitable for disabled passengers over the last ten years, many bus companies decided to withdraw essential school bus services instead.
Following pressure from the Welsh Labour Government, the Department for Transport in London has granted an extension of up to two years – giving bus companies more time to comply, and ensuring pupils aren’t let without transport after Christmas. It’s now up to the Department for Transport, bus companies and Carmarthenshire County Council to make sure that services continue for pupils in the New Year.
Lee Waters AM said
“This situation has been really stressful for parents, pupils and teachers and my mailbox has been stuffed full with concerned people wanting this fixed.”
“The Welsh Labour Government has done it’s bit and put pressure on the Tory Government in Westminster to secure this extension. We now need the council and the bus companies to work together to ensure the services parents and pupils rely on keep running.”
“The bus companies have had ten years to comply with this legislation and haven’t done so, this demonstrates why the Welsh Labour Government is looking to re-regulate buses. That way we can provide a better service for all passengers, and avoid situations like this in the future.”
Shadow Executive for Education and Children’s Services, Cllr Gary Jones said:
“Many thanks to Lee and the Welsh Government. For my part, I will be asking Carmarthenshire County Council to work with the bus companies and come up with a solution. I’ll also be asking them to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again when the extension runs out.”
Labour Parliamentary candidate Nia Griffith said: “It was a dreadful shock for pupils and parents to lose these vital bus services, made worse by the very short notice. I am very glad that Lee as Welsh Government transport minister has been able to get this extension so pupils can continue to catch their buses. Now it is vital that everyone works together to ensure that this is sorted in good time before the new deadline “