…as new ways to deliver Welsh public transport sought
As bus companies make major service withdrawals across Wales, the Welsh Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, has announced funding to trial new, more efficient ways of delivering public transport.
The new methods are aimed at improving access to jobs and services, particularly in rural areas. The Vale of Glamorgan and Ceredigion councils will each receive £100,000 in 2014-15 to test better, more efficient ways to coordinate conventional bus, community transport and local authority services, including the use of council vehicles to help people access health and social care. A further element of the pilots will evaluate the costs and benefits of discounted travel for young people to access jobs and training. The trials will run for a year and be evaluated by the Bus Policy Advisory Group, who will then advise the Minister on what schemes could be rolled out nationally.
The Minister also announced that the budget for the new Bus Services Support Grant will be £25m for 2014-15, the same amount as in 2013-14 for the Regional Transport Services Grant, which it replaces. The grant scheme is to enable local authorities to support socially necessary bus and community transport services.
Edwina Hart said, ‘I want to ensure everyone in Wales is able to access jobs and services via reliable public transport. We must start looking at new and innovative ways of delivering these services, particularly in rural areas, by means of a sustainable and efficient network. I am pleased that the Vale of Glamorgan and Ceredigion Councils are working with us to progress this vital piece of work.’
‘There are already examples of good practice in Wales that could be rolled-out more widely, like the Bwcabus scheme in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. But we could also make better use of existing facilities and services in local authorities. I look forward to receiving the Bus Policy Advisory Group’s advice on which of these ideas could be used across Wales.’
Part 1 of this story is covered here: