The Welsh Government has said that suggestions that scope will open in summer 2023 to re-regulate bus services in Wales through franchising schemes are “not strictly true.”
However, a spokesperson has confirmed that work is underway on the development of a “new operating model” for buses in Wales. That process will include consideration of a regulated system involving what the Welsh Government says would be a “fully contracted” approach.
Primary legislation is required for that change and a White Paper is expected to be published early this summer. The Welsh Government is currently working with stakeholders to identify practical issues that will require consideration in relation to that, the spokesperson adds.
On 23 June 2021, Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters sold the Senedd that ministers were “determined” to introduce legislation that will permit the roll-out of franchising. However, he acknowledged that dialogue between operators and officials that has developed over the course of the pandemic has strengthened the relationship between those parties.
The Welsh Government’s bus strategy, expected to be called Bws Cymru, is still awaited despite Mr Waters having said that it would be published before the end of 2021.