Newport City Council (NCC) is covering the cost of free bus travel on scheduled services for journeys that begin and end within the city boundaries between 1 and 24 December, a move that has been welcomed by the city’s largest operator.
The scheme aims to encourage visitors to Newport to use local businesses in a sustainable way in the run-up to Christmas. In addition to NCC’s payment of fares on journeys made on fixed-route services, Transport for Wales is matching the offer on Fflecsi demand responsive minibuses within the city.
At the same time, NCC will not make any offer of free car parking in the run-up to Christmas. That has been welcomed by Newport Bus Managing Director Scott Pearson, who describes it as a “really good move” by the council. It contrasts with some other areas, with several local authorities having introduced free parking in December.
Mr Pearson adds that the free travel offer is something that the operator hopes to leverage for longer-term patronage return in 2022.
Additionally, discussions are ongoing with the South East Wales Transport Commission around the possibility of it funding an extension of the free bus travel in Newport into January.
NCC Leader Cllr Jane Mudd says that the December offer is also aimed at encouraging the use of “more sustainable transport.” She adds: “The focus on the climate and the future has never been greater. We can all do our bit by staying local as much as possible and using alternatives to our cars.
“This will also help those within our communities who struggle financially, especially at Christmas, as they try to put food on the table and buy presents for their loved ones.”
Journeys that start or end outside the NCC boundary remain subject to regular fares. The free travel scheme will exist alongside existing concessionary fare eligibility.