Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Government has continued to fund bus services, firstly through maintaining a skeleton network to support essential journeys, and more recently additional funding to ramp up services to support the re-opening of schools and the wider economy. This is in addition to wider transport measures including support for rail services and additional active travel measures.
Further to the announcement last month of an additional £10m of funding to support the provision of a fuller service from September, I am pleased to announce that the Welsh Government is making available an additional £84.6m of funding to maintain and develop these enhanced levels of service for the rest of the financial year, while reduced demand and capacities significantly affect ticket revenues. This will bring our total support for bus services this year to £140m.
A new agreement has been created to manage this funding to maximise value for money and positive outcomes in return for the public sector’s increased funding. We are grateful to local authorities and bus operators for their support and flexibility during these challenging times. Today’s announcement will deliver some longer-term stability for the industry and allow us to continue to work in partnership to move towards the integrated public transport that we all wish to see.
Given the uncertainties around future passenger demand, ticket revenues, and possible lockdown measures, the Welsh Government will continue to work closely with local authorities and bus operators to anticipate future funding requirements and structures for the delivery of public support for bus services. I will keep Members updated as our interventions to support bus passengers and bus operators continue to develop.