Pilots in Ceredigion and Vale of Glamorgan to find new ways to deliver public transport
Transport Minister Edwina Hart has announced funding to trial new, more efficient methods of delivering public transport to improve access to jobs and services, particularly in rural areas.
The Vale of Glamorgan council and Ceredigion council will each receive £100,000 in 2014-15 to test better, more efficient ways to co-ordinate conventional bus, community transport and local authority services, including the use of council vehicles to help people access health and social care. A further element of the pilots will evaluate the costs and benefits of discounted travel for young people to access jobs and training.
The trials will run for a year and be evaluated by the Bus Policy Advisory Group, who will then advise the Minister on what schemes could be rolled-out nationally.
Mrs Hart said:
“I want to ensure everyone in Wales is able to access jobs and services via reliable public transport. We must start looking at new and innovative ways of delivering these services, particularly in rural areas, by means of a sustainable and efficient network. I am pleased that the Vale of Glamorgan and Ceredigion Councils are working with us to progress this vital piece of work.”
“There are already examples of good practice in Wales that could be rolled-out more widely, like the Bwcabus scheme in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. But we could also make better use of existing facilities and services in local authorities. I look forward to receiving the Bus Policy Advisory Group’s advice on which of these ideas could be used across Wales.”
The Vale of Glamorgan Council will investigate a number of schemes, including:
- How to encourage new fare-paying passengers to use rural public transport
- Establishing a scheduling and booking system for public transport, with ICT support, reflecting the Bwcabus or Green Links services.
- Identifying on-road infrastructure improvements, such as bus stops.
- Establishing a collaborative team to procure and manage services to reduce costs.
- Evaluate the potential for discounted bus travel for young people and those not in employment, education or training.
Ceredigion Council will also trial a number of new services, including improved public transport in remote communities around Tregaron. This will include the use of the council’s in-house fleet of vehicles to support local bus services and to provide transport to health and social care. The council will work with Hywel Dda Local Health Board to integrate patient appointment times with bus services. They will also explore the scope for discounted travel for young people, aged 16 to 21.
Both councils will work together to share their findings and collaborate on ideas, also identifying best practice from other local authorities.
The Bus Policy Advisory Group will review the services based on an agreed set of criteria and advise the Minister on the success of the various initiatives.
The Minister also announced that the budget for the new Bus Services Support Grant will be £25m for 2014-15, the same amount as in 2013-14 for the Regional Transport Services Grant, which it replaces. The grant scheme is to enable local authorities to support socially-necessary bus and community transport services.
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