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Monday, December 04, 2023

Wrong priorities for Welsh public transport

The BBC report on comments by transport expert, Professor Stuart Cole, that the Welsh government has got its priorities wrong over public transport.

Professor Cole believes that Ministers should have improved bus and train services before reducing speeds from 30mph to 20mph on many Welsh roads. He said public transport facilities should have been "put in before any other anti-motorist legislation".

Despite this, it is estimated that almost 10% of bus routes have been axed this summer in Wales over funding issues.:

The Welsh government said current arrangements were complex across Wales.

But Prof Cole said the Welsh government had "gone about it the wrong way round" although "what they've done is not in itself a bad idea".

He said he wanted to see Wales emulate the Netherlands, where there's been massive investment in trains and buses to entice motorists out of their cars.

The country has a "rover" travel card - in place since 2007 - which allows people to use buses, trams and trains on the same ticket.

Prof Cole said Wales' over 60s bus pass could provide the basis for creating such a travel card for wider use here.

"It could be a stored value ticket, so you charge it up every so often... so no different to the London Transport scheme," he told BBC Politics Wales.

"You can do it also on your phone but just make that bit of it easy.

"And then make sure the timetables integrate so that you can, in fact, come by bus to the railway station."

Llanelli, in Carmarthenshire, which happens to be Transport Minister Lee Waters' constituency, is a good example of how buses and trains are not integrated.

The bus station is a mile away from the train station, and there are no buses linking the two.

In fact there are no buses at all from the railway station.

These are issues that need to be raised with ministers in the Senedd on a regular basis. Taking a constructive opposition line to the 20mph default limit as outlined by Professor Cole, would have been far preferable approach for the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, instead of just rolling over and accepting the policy, appareently without question.

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