The Welsh Government has released new proposals for the nation’s bus services, including raising the age at which passengers can obtain a free bus pass. Currently, over-60s are eligible for free travel on buses under the publicly-funded concessionary pass scheme.
However, the Government suggests increasing the entry point to the state pension age, which as of next year will be 66.
It’s hoped that this measure would help generate the further revenue the Government says is required – on top of the current £220m provided by the Welsh taxpayer – to improve standards.
“We are not achieving the service we want to see, and communities do not have the public transport connectivity that they need,” the Welsh Government said in its White Paper.
Other proposals set out in the document, entitled ‘Improving Public Transport,’ include:
• Setting up joint transport authorities to raise standards;
• Ensuring councils work with bus operators to meet targets;
• Allowing councils to run buses directly; and
• Providing better, more up-to-date passenger information.
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, said: “There is currently a lack of coordination between bus operators, and bus services are not well-coordinated with rail services.
“There are inconsistent standards across vehicle fleets. Some communities have little or no public transport provision, and passenger information is often inconsistent and poorly presented across different providers.
“The proposals set out in the White Paper seek to put in place the legislative tools to enable local authorities to work together, and with bus operators, to respond flexibly to local community needs; tailoring the approach to different circumstances and challenges.”
Responses to the document are welcomed.
To read it in full and respond, visit beta.gov.wales/improving-public-transport.