CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for powers over local bus services to be devolved to Wales.
The AM said that since de-regulation of bus services in 1985, rural communities in his constituency had been left at a major disadvantage as bus companies were free to focus on more profitable routes.
The AM said powers over bus services should be exercised by the Welsh Government to help ‘truly integrate’ local services through a new and simplified regulatory framework.
The AM recently helped author an Assembly report on Integrated Public Transport calling for the UK Government to devolve powers over bus services to the Welsh Government.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES AM said:
“Deregulation of bus services in the 1980s was a disaster for those rural communities in my constituency where it was never going to be profitable to operate a commercial, profit-making service. Consequently they have seen a deterioration of service, with negative consequences for the local rural economy.
“If we had the powers devolved to Wales whereby we could re-regulate bus services we could move to a franchise system where companies would have to provide services to socially important areas. They would only get access to the most profitable routes if they also provided services and buses to communities in more rural areas.
“Such a model works well in areas like London and would be a good innovation in areas like North Wales too. It would help us truly integrate services and timetables as well as develop integrated ticketing systems between buses and trains.
“It could also lead to the successful introduction of a Welsh Oyster card that could help someone living in my constituency travel seamlessly between Corwen and Cardiff.
“If we don’t get these powers then communities, including some in my constituency, can only look forward to even further reductions in services and routes.
“We need the powers to develop a stronger regulatory system for bus services that currently does not serve communities and passengers in large parts of rural Wales very well.”
The AM helped author a report on Integrated Public Transport as part of the Enterprise and Business Committee in the National Assembly.