Transport Minister looks to strengthening bus services
Transport Minister Ken Skates has agreed funding of £25m Bus Service Support Grant (BSSG) for 2019-20, citing reform as a driving force to improve transport networks across Wales.
The aim of the Welsh Government funding, which began in 1998-99, is to supplement local authorities’ expenditure from their own budgets in supporting the bus and community transport networks in their areas.
In recent years, however, a small but significant number of councils have reduced or removed entirely from their budgets any funding to support bus and community transport services. This means the Welsh Government’s BSSG allocations are effectively replacing funding from authorities’ own budgets.
Transport Minister Ken Skates recently said:
“As a government, we need to review our own expenditure to ensure that, given the challenging financial circumstances in which we all find ourselves, we achieve the most beneficial outcomes for the bus network, and bus passengers
“I urge the local authorities to ensure they use the bus services support grant, in addition to their own revenue support grant, wisely, for example to assist people in getting to and from non-emergency appointments.
“I'm also pleased to be able to say we'll be testing innovative forms of integrated responsive bus travel in the Valleys, and the trial will very much focus on non-emergency patient transport. We also have plans to carry out other innovative pilots in West and North Wales. I will be providing further details about these pilots in the near future.
“It is my view that demand-responsive transport, working in tandem with community transport services, could offer solutions across the length and breadth of Wales that, to date, have not been deployed. But it will require those radical reforms that are outlined in the White Paper.”
The White Paper, Improving public transport, sets out ambitious proposals to improve the legislative framework for how local bus services are planned and delivered, together with reform of the licensing regime for taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).
It puts forward a range of options to empower local authorities to determine the most appropriate model for providing bus services in their area, and for tackling the inconsistencies and challenges with the licensing of taxis and PHVs.
Ken Skates added:
“Using the new powers we have gained in the Wales Act 2017, we can reshape the public transport network in a way that supports our ambition to increase the number of people using public transport and encourage travellers to switch from private car use; reducing pollution and congestion.
“Local authorities that have applied successfully to the Welsh Government for civil enforcement powers for parking, bus lane or moving traffic contraventions are able to use any surplus after meeting their costs to support public transport initiatives in their areas.”
Latest News from
Finance Minister calls on UK Government to ‘stop dragging its feet’ on APD powers for Wales17/01/2020 16:10:00
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has called on the UK Government to devolve Air Passenger Duty (APD) to Wales following the announcement of a UK review into APD and regional air connectivity.
Surge in university entries from Wales following reform of student finance17/01/2020 09:05:00
Figures published yesterday show the number of students from Wales enrolled at universities in the UK increased by 2.6% last year.
£89m fund supporting new ways of delivering care across Wales16/01/2020 14:05:00
An £89m Welsh Government fund is providing care closer to home for people of all ages, helping reduce pressure on hospitals and social care services across Wales, the Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said during a visit to a school in Cardiff today.
Deeside-based KK Foods to expand15/01/2020 14:05:00
A leading frozen food manufacturer based in Deeside is set to expand and diversify with support from the Welsh Government, creating an additional 40 new jobs.
Public sector in Wales encouraged to offer paid leave for victims of domestic abuse15/01/2020 09:05:00
All public sector organisations in Wales are being encouraged by the Welsh Government to offer paid leave for victims of domestic abuse.
Wales’ interests must be fully considered post-Brexit – Lesley Griffiths14/01/2020 14:05:00
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs has urged the UK Government to ensure Wales’ interests are fully considered in post-Brexit negotiations during a constructive first meeting since the UK General Election.
A new International Strategy for Wales14/01/2020 11:05:00
International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan will today launch Wales’ first International Strategy, promoting the country as an outward-looking nation ready to work and trade with the rest of the world.
£175 million budget boost for housing in Wales14/01/2020 10:05:00
Investment in new housing in Wales will reach £400 million in 2020-21, thanks to a £175 million budget boost from the Welsh Government, Housing Minister Julie James announced yesterday.
Go-Ahead for new Dyfi Bridge14/01/2020 09:05:00
The proposed new Dyfi Bridge on the A487 north of Machynlleth, has been given the go-ahead by Welsh Government Transport Minister Ken Skates.