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Saturday, September 03, 2016

No fear of flying

A freedom of information request on the Welsh Government's website reveals that the cost to the taxpayer of the Cardiff to Anglesey air service has risen from £838,000 in 2014-15 to £1,094,216 in 2015-16.

That is how much we are subsidising a polluting internal air service designed to save politicians and civil servants a few hours on the train. And it isn't as if the service is that well used. Less than 10,000 people flew on this route in 2015-16.

The cost to the taxpayer for each passenger is even more revealing, rising from £86.07 in 2014-15 to £109.53 last year. That is more than the cost of a return ticket on the service.

The Tories, who submitted the FOI request, argue that we need to market the service better so as to increase passenger numbers. The problem with that of course is that the infrastructure at the Angelsey end is not up to it and let's face it, passengers are hardly being delivered to the most convenient air field.

If we are really going to do something about this air service then the obvious solution is the one that has been proposed by the Welsh Liberal Democrats since the day Labour and Plaid Cymru established it, that is we abolish it altogether and use the money to improve north-south rail links.

At least then more people will benefit from the expenditure.
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