Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport
In December last year, I published a White Paper ‘Improving public transport’ which set out our proposals to legislate for reforming the planning and delivery of local bus services and licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles.
At the heart of the proposals was our commitment to provide the legislative tools to enable local authorities to work together, and with bus operators, to respond flexibly to local community needs; tailoring the approach to different circumstances and challenges. We believe these proposals will help us deliver our ambition of an integrated public transport system that is safe, reliable, punctual, environmentally sustainable and accessible, and meets the needs of the travelling public.
564 written responses were received during the course of the consultation period and today, I am pleased to publish a summary report of those responses. I am also publishing the responses alongside the report which can be found at https://gov.wales/improving-public-transport.
Overall, there was a general support amongst stakeholders for the proposals set out in the White Paper. In particular, there was good support for the proposals that provide local authorities with more flexibility when considering the provision of bus services in their area, with many respondents providing comments on how these proposals should be implemented. In terms of taxis and private hire vehicles, whilst there was general support for the proposals relating to national standards, enforcement and information sharing, there was a strong feeling from local authorities and the industry that the proposals in the White Paper do not go far enough to address the issues the industry faces. There was also mixed feedback in relation to the Joint Transport Authority proposals. Whilst there was some support for a regional approach in relation to bus service provision, this approach was not supported in relation to the exercising of taxi and private hire vehicle licensing functions..
I am very grateful to everyone who spent time preparing their consultation responses and who attended the consultation events. I will continue to consider the comments and feedback carefully as we develop our proposals in this area.
I will make a further statement on this work in due course.