Over three quarters of public transport journeys in Wales are bus journeys but the cash bus services receive from the Welsh Government is at risk – with no clear continuation of the Bus Emergency Scheme funding which comes to an end in May 2023.
Yesterday, the Welsh Government announced all major road building projects in Wales would be scrapped over environmental concerns including the planned third Menai bridge.
The lack of clarity has caused concern for many bus operators across Wales who have raised concerns with regional and constituency Plaid Cymru representatives, saying that they will have to cease operations unless funding is announced.
With an ageing rail infrastructure and the ban on new road building, Plaid Cymru transport spokesperson in the Senedd Delyth Jewell said that a net zero future and economic development was contingent on “widely available” bus and train services to link communities to one another.
On Wednesday 15 February, responding to a question by Ms Jewell, Labour’s Deputy Minister for Transport, Lee Waters, did not deny that there would be a cut to funding, saying “…there does need to be a reconfiguring of the networks. Ideally we’d prefer to do that in an orderly way.”
Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Energy, Climate Change and Transport, Delyth Jewell MS said:
“Now is the most important time for the Welsh Government to provide certainty about funding for public transport. If we want to encourage people to use cars less, we have to make sure that there’s a viable bus and train network to get people to where they need to be.
“Many people in valleys and rural communities rely on buses to get around – we cannot leave them without this vital infrastructure.
“As it stands, the Labour Welsh Government’s cut to public transport will leave people stranded.
“If we want to commit to a net-zero future – which we must do, for the sake of our planet and our own wellbeing, then we must ensure that bus and train services are widely available to link communities to one another. Plaid Cymru will not stand by and watch this collapse in local bus infrastructure – it’s incumbent on the government to find a sustainable future for the industry. Without this commitment to bus services, I fear that many communities and individuals will become isolated.”