£300k boost following GHA demise
£300,000 to help local authorities restore key local bus services lost following last year’s demise of GHA Coaches has been announced by Welsh Assembly Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates. The grant, made available to Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham Councils with immediate effect, will allow lost services to be re-introduced and help build resilience in the services already provided.
Ken Skates said, ‘I’m delighted to announce this funding for the local authorities most affected by the liquidation of GHA Coaches. I expect to see it used to improve services and choice for the passenger, reintroducing key routes lost and providing network stability. I’ve been clear, however, that we must look at the long term future of bus travel and how local authorities, bus operators, passenger groups, Welsh Government and others can better work together to ensure services are maintained and improved. The Bus Services Summit I will lead in Wrexham on 23 January, the North Wales bus coordinator post we have created and the added support I have announced through Business Wales and Finance Wales will all help in this regard.’ The Bus Services Summit will bring together local authorities, bus operators, Bus Users Cymru, the Community Transport Association, groups representing disabled people and other partners to consider how bus services that are financially viable and sustainable in the longer term can be best delivered.
‘As for this funding, I’ve made it clear to councils that it has been provided on the basis that the they develop and submit a robust strategy for future bus services in North Wales by March. It’s in everyone’s interests to ensure that a situation like that seen with GHA Coaches does not happen again and I’m determined that our bus services are made more sustainable. We all have the same goal, to ensure that passengers across the region and beyond get the quality, sustainable service they rightly expect. This funding will help with that.’