Buses are the “Cinderella Service” for the public in Wales, claim Conservatives in the Senydd.
Shadow Minister for Business, Economy, and Infrastructure Russell George MS, said, “The Covid crisis has brought into sharp relief the pressures the bus sector is under, and the wider effect on bus transport – and the environment – brought about by the pandemic.
“Now, with buses able to take less than a third of capacity because of social distancing, the strain they are under is worse than ever, especially as people return to work. Bus drivers have to leave passengers waiting at a stop, and there are not the follow-on buses to collect the remaining passengers.”
He went on, “I remember signs on the back of buses from years ago that asked: ‘Would you rather wait behind one bus or 30 cars?’
“Another danger of the Covid crisis – if adequate support is not provided – is that it could undo the efforts made by people up and down Wales to leave their cars at home and embrace public transport. If the buses are not there, then passengers may well return to their cars, and the effect on the environment and health will be a very regressive step.”
The Welsh Government must now able to provide the clarity which the industry needs on the continued multi-year funding support for bus services to operate while trading is still affected, because the lack of detail on the long term funding attached to the Bus Emergency Scheme is a concern, he concluded.