Campaigners urge bus users to have their say on plans to create a national bus network in Wales
Bus users are being urged to have their say on the Welsh Government’s plans to create a national bus network.
The government consultation on a plan to create one network, one timetable and one ticket across the whole of Wales closes on 24 June and transport campaigners have called on people to show support for reforms “that will make things better.”
Transport Action Network Cymru says currently too many bus services in Wales are unreliable and low frequency, with unsuitable timetables. Yet, buses are essential for many people who do not have access to a car and important for those who want to use their car less.
Paula Renzel, Welsh roads and climate campaigner for TAN Cymru said: “Since bus deregulation in the eighties, bus services have mostly failed to serve passengers’ needs.
“People from across Wales have reported how unreliable bus services in their area are. In some places, such as Merthyr, services have been cut, while those that remain often end at 5pm and are regularly disrupted.
“In other places, such as between Bangor and Bethesda, the bus often doesn’t turn up, or fails to stop when flagged.
“This is unacceptable and must change for economic, social and environmental reasons. The Welsh Government needs to make sure that it places people at the heart of its proposals.
“That’s why it’s important for people to respond to the consultation and show support for reforms that will make things better.”
Last month Lee Waters, the Deputy Climate Change Minister, said that the Welsh Government was looking at giving local authorities the power to nationalise bus routes.
Describing the current transport system as “dysfunctional” he also said that under the current arrangements in Wales “commercial bus companies can basically do what the hell they like”.
Speaking to ITV Wales’ current affairs programme, Sharp End, Mr Waters said the government is looking at ways to make it easier for local councils to set up public companies to run transport services.
“But we’re not entering this with an ideological view, we will do what’s best for the passenger,” he added.
“We want to plan the system in a far better way, take out the randomness of the private market, which is the legacy of the 80’s privatisation.
“At the moment commercial bus companies can basically do what the hell they like and we have no way of saying this route needs a bus service.
“We want to move onto a planned system, where we’re calling it franchising, where we take an area and we say right here’s the amount of subsidy; here is where we want the route; here’s the frequency; here’s the cost, now let’s make a bus service work for people rather than work for shareholders.”
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