Last reviewed 22 June 2022

The Welsh parliament’s Climate Change, Environment, and Infrastructure Committee has recently undertaken an inquiry into bus and rail transport in Wales looking at priorities for post-Covid recovery and the action required to achieve Welsh Government targets for shift to these modes.

Full details of the consultation, and of the submissions to the Committee by interested groups, can be found — here.

Transport Focus provided evidence to the Committee based on its own extensive research into the issues raised. It listed as its priorities for post-Covid recovery: punctual and reliable services with faster journey times and onboard cleanliness; cheaper, simpler fares, ticket discounts and loyalty schemes; and campaigns to persuade people to try out more sustainable transport.

Fundamentally, it concluded, key barriers to travel need to be addressed: cost, convenience and complexity.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Cymru also submitted detailed evidence highlighting that recovery from Covid-19 in the bus sector in Wales is still fragile. At present, it noted, patronage varies between operators and regions of Wales but, in genera,l it is around 30–35% below its pre-Covid level.

CPT Cymru stresses the urgent need to clarify funding arrangements beyond the current BES 2 scheme which ends in July 2022. The Welsh Government has suggested a BES 3 will be created to support bus networks but the detail on this is yet to be shared with operators. Without such support, the group said, it is likely operators would have to cut frequencies or networks to cover the costs of operation.

The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) emphasised the need to nudge people away from car ownership and car use arguing that one effective policy tool to achieve this is the introduction of charges for driving in busy city centres, such as congestion or clean air charges.

These charges can reduce city-centre car use between 12% and 33%, although behaviour change programmes that inform people about the need for such measures are also necessary.