Wales bus funding call from operators

Bus operators in Wales have called for the government to ensure that the country receives a fair share of the £5bn funding bonanza for the sector that was announced last month.

At the time the windfall was unveiled, DfT confirmed that some would be allocated to the purchase of zero-emission buses for use in Wales.

Now, senior figures at two Welsh operators have encouraged DfT to follow through on that promise, and more.

Scott Pearson, MD of Newport Bus, says that a fair allocation of money to Wales would allow places like Newport “to expand and scale up our current ambitious plans to electrify our fleet, thus giving our customers a comprehensive zero-emission option for local travel.”

Mr Pearson adds that some of the funding should go to infrastructure in Wales to improve the customer experience. “It is important that bus routes that have been adversely affected by austerity are now looked upon as the absolute key to resolving congestion.”

Nigel Winter, MD of Stagecoach South Wales, echoes Mr Pearson’s hopes that Wales will see its share of bus funding from the £5bn. He agrees that some should go to infrastructure improvements.

“We hope that Wales is not excluded from this vital funding. Every pound invested in buses delivers many more in wider benefits.”

Both operators already have battery-electric buses either in service or on order. Newport Bus has one Yutong E12 in service and 15 more are due. Stagecoach is expecting 16 Optare Solo EVs and Metrocity EVs for services in Caerphilly.