Funding cuts affect bus users across Wales

Funding cuts affect bus users across Wales

Cuts in funding for bus services will lead to job losses and make it harder for people all over Wales to go about their daily lives.

Bus Users Cymru Senior Officer, Margaret Everson, is ‘extremely concerned’ about warnings made by bus operators about funding cuts in the wake of the cut in Welsh Government funding for concessionary bus travel for older and disabled people. This comes on top of substantial reduction in Regional Transport Services Grant – what used to be the repayment of fuel duty paid by bus companies — in the last 12 months.

Cardiff Bus, one of the biggest bus companies in Wales, has announced it will be making cuts to most of its services from 20 April with an estimated loss of around 80 jobs. Across Wales it is estimated that 10% of all buses on the road could be taken out of service and many rural lifelines could be lost altogether.

This all adds up to a worrying time for bus users. “Cuts in services will make connections with other services more difficult”, says Margaret Everson, “affecting accessibility to towns and cities without direct services. The impact will particularly fall on rural areas and will reduce access to employment for people who do not have their own transport or who are looking for work." Reduced bus services will also hit the viability of the high street whose mid-day customers are largely bus passengers. Around 109 million bus journeys were made in Wales last year compared with just 28 million rail journeys.

Bus Users Cymru is concerned that local authorities are cutting support for local bus services with minimal consultation and without undertaking an impact assessment. “Cuts in bus services result in community isolation and transport poverty issues - and the impact will continue into future generations” says Margaret. “What good is a green agenda and encouraging use of public transport when the bus will be less attractive?” 

Meanwhile Stagecoach, the biggest bus operator in Wales, has threatened a legal challenge over the plans by the Welsh Government to make 'damaging changes to the country's concessionary travel scheme'.

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