Welsh government to provide £48 million support package for bus industry
This latest funding will provide a short-term solution to support Wales’ bus industry’s post-pandemic recovery, whilst the Welsh government develops a longer-term solution to tackle the gradual decline in passenger numbers.
Credit: Welsh government
The Welsh government has announced that the country’s bus industry is set to receive a support package worth £48 million to help it recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and deal with emerging financial challenges.
The Bus Emergency package will provide ‘gap funding’ until the end of this financial year for operators to maintain the necessary bus services and routes in their area, in return for greater public control over Welsh bus services.
With the longer-term future of the bus industry in mind, a review of the existing Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG) scheme will also be taken to consider how it can be used to move the industry away from a reliance on emergency funding schemes and bridge the gap to franchising.
Announcing the latest emergency funding package, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said: “The bus industry is emerging from some of its toughest times, and we need to continue to provide support to help the industry recover and secure a healthy future.”
Throughout the pandemic, passenger numbers fell by around 90 per cent and have still only returned to between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. This has left operators struggling with reduced revenue and contending with the latest challenges of rising fuel and operating costs.
“The funding I’ve announced today will provide a short-term solution to help the industry to begin to recover from the challenges it has and continues to face whilst we develop a longer-term solution to tackle the gradual decline in passengers over the years. In March (2022) I set out our plans to bring forward legislation to change the way bus services are delivered across Wales. Throughout this process we will be working closely with local government, the bus industry and passengers, to design a system that is easy to use, easy to access and well connected, providing people a real sustainable transport alternative to the private car,” said Lee Waters.
If you liked this, you may also be interested in: