A call on the Welsh Government to help to restore the public’s confidence in bus and wider public transport use have been backed by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).
A letter sent to First Minister Mark Drakeford by Chair of sustainable and inclusive connectivity lobbying group Transform Cymru Christine Boston advocates several key measures from politicians if a car-based recovery in Wales is to be avoided. They include:
- A pro-public transport message that highlights the safety of bus travel
- Ensuring that COVID-19 risk assessments do not single out buses
- Making the National Transport Plan for Wales and early priority for the new Welsh Government
- A proactive marketing campaign for the industry.
Transform Cymru is a coalition that includes representatives of transport operators, transport charities and equalities and environmental organisations.
Ms Boston says that public transport in Wales “has a crucial role to play in supporting other modes, such as active travel and community transport.” However, she points to Transport Focus research that has shown how one in five people currently are not using public transport because they don’t feel safe or have actively avoided public transport.
“Without concerted action from the Welsh Government and the signatories of this letter, there is a real risk that the recovery from COVID-19 will be heavily car dependent, with all the social, environmental, cultural and economic costs that come with excessive reliance on private vehicles without a viable sustainable transport alternative,” Ms Boston adds.
In supporting the Transform Cymru stance, CPT Cymru Director Josh Miles has underlined how measures must be put in place to prevent a car-based recovery in Wales. “Bus, which shares many of the same characteristics of other areas of society, must not be singled out in COVID-19 risk assessments, which would undermine the work that operators have done to give people the confidence to travel,” he says.
“Now is the time to look to the future and work with the Welsh Government on a proactive marketing campaign that will help to rebuild passenger confidence, to prevent our roads from being dominated by cars and ensure that everyone has access to a reliable transport network.”