Rural bus routes under threat

Plaid Cymru politicians have urged the Welsh Government to commit to safeguarding the Bus Emergency Scheme which subsidises many bus routes across rural Ceredigion. 

The call follows correspondence received from numerous service operators whom have expressed concerns over Welsh Government proposals to cease funding for the Bus Emergency Scheme which, if implemented, could leave thousands of people without a lifeline to essential services.   

The BES (Bus Emergency Scheme) was introduced by the Welsh Government when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020.  The public were advised not to travel and hence the bus operators’ income revenue ceased. Since its introduction, the BES initiative has evolved to BES 3 and ceases on 31st March 2023.

Fare paying patronage levels across Wales have only returned to 65% of pre-covid levels and concessionary travel returned to 55% of pre-covid levels. The BES funding has therefore been of crucial assistance to many local authorities and bus companies in sustaining key routes in rural communities. 

Speaking after the matter was raised by Plaid Cymru in the Senedd, Elin Jones MS said:  “The bus sector in Ceredigion, like many other parts of Wales, is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and the already stretched budgets of the County Council cannot extend to providing the additional financial support that bus operators in Ceredigion need to maintain services.

The Bus Emergency Scheme funding scheme needs to remain for the next few years, as without it the future of rural bus services and indeed some of our bus companies will be very bleak. With the limited rail and public transport services we have here in Ceredigion, ensuring we have the right bus services is imperative for our residents, communities and workforce. Without our rural bus services, many of our constituents won’t be able to access basic services and many will be unable to travel to work.”  

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  • Branwen Davies
    published this page in News 2023-02-09 15:00:47 +0000

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