- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Transport minister Ken Skates is considering ‘the pros and cons’ of bus services regulation, the Welsh government has confirmed.
At the Senedd yesterday (6 Feb), Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson called on the government to end the ‘boom and bust’ of commercial bus services.
The Labour member said cases like that of Express Motors, which ran services throughout Gwynedd and Anglesey before its licence was revoked last year by the Traffic Commissioner, showed the need for tighter regulation.
Joyce Watson AM said:
“I understand that Gwynedd Council has found other operators to deliver subsidised bus services, but the bulk of the former Express Motors services that were commercial have not been replaced – as far as I’m aware, the hourly Barmouth to Porthmadog service has already disappeared.
“This is the third commercial operator to go out of business in this area in the last five years. Every single time that happens, people’s jobs and the services locally are badly affected, leaving people stranded and without work. And I think this actually raises a need for a much longer-term vision on how we deliver bus services and whether we need to look at regulation if we’re going to get those powers back here to stop this stop- start bus service that people are completely dependent on in those areas.”
Penygroes-based Express Motors, first established in 1909, plans to set up again under new management. However, a Traffic Commissioner hearing to decide the case, due to be held on 17 January, was adjourned until later this month.
Meanwhile, bus passengers in the Wrexham area were left stranded by the sudden closure in December of Acrefair-based firm, D Jones & Son.
Answering on behalf of the government, Leader of the House Julie James AM said:
“In terms of the serious bus issues that the Member raises, I know the Cabinet Secretary is looking, as we speak, into the regulation of bus services and the pros and cons of that, and what we can bring forward when the powers arrive here in Wales, and I know that he is planning to update the Senedd at an early stage as to some of the plans that we are able to bring forward in terms of the regulation of bus services and to ensure the joined-up travel system that I know she would like to see for mid and West Wales.”