- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM has welcomed news that Ceredigion Council will receive extra money to improve bus and community transport links.
The Welsh Government has given the west Wales authority and the Vale of Glamorgan Council £100,000 to trial new ways of co-ordinating transport services, particularly in rural areas.
The year-long trial will also look at using council vehicles to help people access health and social care services.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Mrs Watson said:
“This is excellent news. Access to transport is vital to quality of life in mid and west Wales. Without it, people can be left isolated, unable to access facilities and services or visit friends and family.
“When Arriva closed the Aberystwyth depot and scrapped six of its bus services last autumn, I met representatives from campaign group Rural Areas Need Transport (RANT). At the time, they were understandably anxious about the future of Ceredigion’s bus network. Thankfully, the Welsh Government stepped in to secure until June the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen and Synod Inn services. However, what we need now is a sustainable long-term solution – hopefully this money will help find it.
The aim of the trial is to see how bus operators and councils can work together to cut costs, plan routes and co-ordinate timetables to meet users’ needs.
The scheme will include new public transport routes to communities around Tregaron. Ceredigion Council will also use its own vehicles to boost coverage.
Transport Minister Edwina Hart said: “I want to ensure everyone in Wales is able to access jobs and services via reliable public transport.
“We must start looking at new and innovative ways of delivering these services, particularly in rural areas, by means of a sustainable and efficient network.”
Ms Hart has announced that councils will have £25m in 2014-15 toward socially-necessary bus and community transport services, the same amount as in 2013-14.
For more information about Joyce Watson’s work contact her office on 02920 898972 / www.joycewatson.co.uk