Trade association says measures are ‘positive development’
Welsh Government proposals to support the bus industry have been welcomed by CPT Cymru, the professional trade association for the coach and bus industry in Wales.
In a written statement, Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, announced five measures to help the industry and to secure a sustainable bus network across Wales for the future.
The proposals, “to help SMEs in particular”, are:
- Providing financial and business assistance, including professional support in reviewing existing bus networks to design improved, efficient networks. LAs will be asked to make “every effort” to protect bus subsidy
- Identifying potentially vulnerable bus services, and putting in place local strategies to respond to the withdrawal of vital services
- Meeting LA leaders and bus MDs in Cardiff and Newport, as well as the CPT, to gain intelligence and promote partnership
- Providing funding for a new bus co-ordinator role within one of the North and South Wales local authorities, to help develop the statutory bus Quality Partnership model
- A Bus Services Summit to be held early in 2017.
Mr Skates says: “My ambition is to support the delivery of a quality, equitable and sustainable bus network that provides communities and individuals with services they need and achieves value for money for the public funding we provide.”
Justin Davies, Chair of CPT Cymru said: “We welcome this statement from the Cabinet Secretary and his recognition of the problems that bus operators often face. The dialogue that he is establishing between the industry and local authorities, in particular, is a very positive development and we look forward to playing a full part in that dialogue.
“We are particularly pleased about Mr Skates’ enthusiastic support for a Bus Summit, which originally came out of discussions between CPT, Welsh Government officials and transport officers from Local Authorities across Wales.”
James MacColl, Head of Campaigns at Campaign for Better Transport, says: “Finally a minister is recognising the importance of buses, the value they provide to local communities, and the threat they are under due to losses in funding.
“We only hope that the UK Government and MPs in Westminster can take this as inspiration to amend the Bus Services Bill so that it extends powers to improve services across the whole country.”