“For more than 70 years we have made it easy to travel by car and harder to travel by public transport – that has to change.”
Those were the words of Deputy Climate Change Minister, Lee Waters as he unveiled plans to bring forward legislation to change the way bus services are delivered across Wales.
The Deputy Minister said designing a system that is ‘easy to use, easy to access and well connected’ would be his top priority to offer people a ‘real sustainable transport alternative’ to the private car.
The Bus White Paper, published today, is a key step towards a new model for running buses in Wales and a chance for us look at what Wales needs from its public transport services.
The Welsh Government will now work closely with local government, the bus industry and passengers on a proposed franchising model that aims to eventually deliver one network, one timetable and one ticket.
As part of this work, a 12 week public consultation opens today for people across Wales to have their say on how the new system is designed.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said:
“For too many years we have created a culture of car dependency which has allowed individual freedoms and flexibilities that we all value, but it has also locked in deep inequalities and environmental harms.
“As we look to recover from the pandemic and take action to tackle the climate emergency buses will play a critical role in keeping our communities connected and offering people a sustainable transport alternative to the private car.
“We’ve seen a gradual decline in the bus industry in Wales over the years and, as a result, we’ve been left with an industry that is broken and in need of much investment.
“But, I am confident that the plans we have announced today will help pave the way to a healthy recovery.
“We’re going to be putting people before profit and providing passengers with a well-planned, easy to understand and connected bus network that makes the right thing to do the easy thing to do.”
Ahead of this legislative reform, ‘Bus Cymru’ sets out a detailed route map for how we want to improve all aspects of bus service provision for passengers. This includes infrastructure, road allocation, accessibility, integration with other public transport modes, and, more widely, how we can bring about positive change by working with our partners in local government and the bus industry.
As part of an ongoing commitment to school transport, today the Welsh Government also published the findings of the Learner Travel Measure Review which was carried out last year.
A number of areas that needed further consideration were identified and the next steps to be taken are outlined in the report with a consultation to follow later this year.