Transport Secretary Ken Skates has launched a White Paper setting out proposals aimed at improving public transport across the whole of Wales.
Talking directly to passengers and key industry stakeholders – local authorities, bus and taxi companies and passenger groups – the consultation will seek views on proposed changes to the legislation which governs how bus services are planned and delivered, together with reform of the taxi and private hire vehicle licensing regime.
Transport Secretary Ken Skates said:
“Bus services across Wales provide important access to education, training, work, healthcare and simply enjoying a day out. They are a vital link between our communities and an important tool in supporting a vibrant economy.
“Wales’ bus network accounts for about 100 million passenger journeys each year compared with approximately 30 million annual rail journeys. Creation of a fully integrated transport system requires bus provision in Wales to meet the needs of passengers and to be integrated with rail and other transport services.
“Taxis and private hire vehicles also provide a vital public service, connecting people to places when alternative public transport services are not available or viable. The contribution that the sector makes to the night-time and tourism economy in many of our communities cannot be under-estimated and the industry is a vital component in our ambitions for public transport in Wales.
“We have listened to feedback from passengers, local authorities, bus operators, taxi drivers and interest groups about the current provision of public transport and taxi and private hire vehicle services. Everyone agrees change is needed.
“The proposals are aimed at providing better planning and solutions for delivery, putting passengers, local communities and people who currently do not consider public transport as the option to meet their transport needs, at the heart of the decision making.”
The proposed legislative changes are aimed at putting the necessary tools and standards in place to help us realise our ambition.
Ken Skates added:
“I see the integration of our transport network as a key priority – we need to provide an integrated public transport system in Wales that is safe, reliable, punctual, environmentally-sustainable and accessible to all.”
“On a practical level, we want to bring a uniformity to our public transport and private hire vehicles that will protect passengers, and ensure efficient, clean services.
“Our aim is to increase the number of people using public transport and encourage travellers to switch from private car use, reducing pollution and congestion. We want to see more people using public transport to get them where they need and want to be efficiently and on time.”