The Welsh Government has extended the Bus Emergency Scheme in Wales to the end of the current financial year with an allocation of a further £84.6m of funding. The additional money will allow bus provision to be sustained at current levels and help to develop “enhanced levels of service” ahead of a wider adoption of partnership working.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters confirmed the extension on 24 September. It follows an announcement on 11 August of the allocation of a further £10m to the Bus Emergency Scheme to permit the enhancement of service levels until the end of September.
As part of the latest award, the Welsh Government has created a “new agreement” to manage the funding it is providing. That will “maximise value for money and positive outcomes,” says Mr Waters.
“Given the uncertainties around future passenger demand, ticket revenues and possible lockdown measures, the Welsh Government will continue to work closely with local authorities and bus operators to anticipate future funding requirements and structures for the delivery of public support for bus services.”
He adds that the additional money will allow work to continue towards integrated public transport in Wales. In July, Mr Waters said that the Bus Emergency Scheme would lead to “lasting partnership” between operators and public bodies that would “enable a reshaping of Wales’ bus network.”
Following the emergency period, that will involve the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales designing what Mr Waters earlier referred to in a statement as “a new funding scheme” for the Welsh bus industry in collaboration with local authorities and operators.