CPT Cymru backs calls for Welsh Government to restore confidence in public transport

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Transform Cymru is asking the Welsh Government to ensure continuing Covid-19 guidance around risk-assessments does not single out public transport as a greater risk than other areas of society

CPT Cymru is backing a letter that has been sent to the Welsh Government calling on it to restore confidence in public transport to avoid a car-based recovery. The letter, written by Transform Cymru, highlights the benefits of travelling by public transport and the risks associated with more people choosing to travel in private vehicles, and sets out what the Welsh Government needs to do to restore people’s confidence.

With public transport playing a crucial role in the recovery from Covid-19, it is seen as vital to get more people travelling by bus to meet decarbonisation targets and climate change obligations. The letter calls on the Welsh Government to lead the way in sending a visible message that it is safe to use buses and trains when appropriate measures, like wearing a face covering, are followed. Ministers and others should be seen to use public transport themselves. It must also ensure that Covid-19 guidance around risk-assessments does not single out public transport as a greater risk than other areas of society, says the CPT. As an example, the letter cites that the current guidance for employers has a controls hierarchy that suggests avoiding public transport is an appropriate mitigation.

Consideration should also be given to the health and economic risks of a failure to get people back on-board buses and trains, it says, including poorer air quality and a constrained economic recovery as people remain reluctant to move around.

Implementing the next stages of Llwybr Newydd, the National Transport Plan for Wales, should be an early priority for the new administration to deliver a clear delivery plan that places social inclusion at its centre, it continues, paired with a thorough inclusion-focused evaluation and monitoring framework. This should work towards the recovery and growth of a sustainable transport network that is accessible to all and make the modal shift the Welsh Government wants to achieve a reality.

Finally, the Welsh Government should work with bus and train operators to encourage the proactive marketing of public transport services and help with measures such as special promotions, at the earliest possible opportunity, says the letter.

Responding to the letter, CPT Cymru Director Joshua Miles said: “Bus is a sustainable and inclusive travel option that many people rely on to make essential journeys, and we must reassure people that it is safe to get back on board. The bus industry stands ready to play its part in the recovery from Covid-19 but we must have measures in place to avoid a car based recovery. Bus, which shares many of the same characteristics as other areas of society, must not be singled out in Covid-19 risk assessments, which would undermine the work operators have done to give people the confidence to travel. Now is the time to look to the future and work with the Welsh Government on a proactive marketing campaign that will help to rebuild passenger confidence, to prevent our roads being dominated by cars and ensure that everyone has access to a reliable transport network.”

Implementing the next stages of Llwybr Newydd, the National Transport Plan for Wales, should be a priority says Transform Cymru. CARDIFF BUS