Covid-19: Welsh Conservatives call for increased support for bus companies
Information obtained by the Welsh Conservatives suggests that bus companies and the routes they operate are under threat as a specific grant for bus services in Wales to help them through the Covid19 pandemic has not been passed on by Welsh Government.
Figures as reported by media indicate that nearly one in seven routes across council areas in Wales have been axed.
The UK Government has given £167 million to bus companies in England, on top of other support, through the Covid19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) to help bus companies maintain routes to ensure that essential workers can still get to work.
The Welsh Conservatives are calling on the Welsh Government to make sure that it matches support for bus companies in Wales, and are also calling for coach tourism to be recognised as part of the leisure sector to enable coach companies to access business rate relief.
Commenting on the revelation, Shadow Minister for Business, Economy and Infrastructure, Russell George AM, said:
“Throughout this pandemic that Welsh Government has relied on people having their own transport to get to a testing centre or to a supermarket. For many people, especially in our rural communities, bus services are the only mode of transport open to them if they don’t have a car, and with supermarkets delivery slots under immense pressure, buses are the only lifeline for people.
“It is essential that when we make it through this pandemic that people know that bus services they rely on will still be there. The Welsh Government needs to act now and give direct support to bus services.
“It’s also essential that support is given to coach companies as they struggle at this time with a loss of income from school runs, trips, and coach holidays.”