(Title Image: South Wales Argus)
The Welsh Government have launched a White Paper on proposed reforms to bus and taxi services in Wales (pdf).
“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.
“We are determined to deliver a more effective public transport network, comprising an improved network of local bus services, consistent quality for taxi and PHV services, together with rail services delivered as part of the new Wales and Borders Rail Franchise.”
– Economy & Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South)
Some of the key proposals include:
- The establishment of Joint Transport Authorities (with two or more councils) to plan local bus services, share expertise in transport planning and centralise taxi and PHV licensing.
- National-level procurement of bus stops and the development of a single ticketing system.
- Setting national minimum standards for taxi and PHV services.
- What’s described as an improved franchising option for local bus services and to give local authorities more power to determine the best model for delivery of bus services – including allowing councils to set up arms-length bus operators or run them in-house (subject to proper financial tests).
- The age at which women can become eligible for free bus passes will rise with the retirement age.
- Place a legal requirement on bus operators and local authorities to provide up-to-date information on bus services, fares, ticketing and timetables.
All of these proposals are subject to consultation and the Welsh Government will need to introduce a law to see the process through.
The public consultation is open until 27th March 2019 – all the details are available here.