Transport User Voice – What’s happening in Wales?
28 March 2017
Changes are afoot for rail and bus passengers in Wales. But will they benefit from them?
Wales and Borders rail services
The current Wales and Borders rail franchise runs until October 2018, when a new service takes its place. Transport for Wales is currently consulting on the new services deliver the right services. It is vital that they benefit from a wide cross-section of views. So click here and have your say.
The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee of the National Assembly are also holding an inquiry to ensure the right passenger priorities will be at the heart of the Wales and Borders rail services. We told them about passengers’ priorities and aspirations for the new rail services in Wales in the oral evidence.
We helped the committee with an outreach event in Shrewsbury, so they could listen to representatives from user groups, community rail partnerships and Bus Users Cymru. The inquiry’s recommendations will be outlined to the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales in the Committee’s report later this year.
Working with Transport for Wales, we are gathering more evidence from passengers about their experiences of using Arriva Trains Wales and aspirations for the new rail services. We will be running focus groups over the coming weeks and expect to publish the research later in spring. The Department for Transport is enabling us to explore the specific needs of passengers on the English side of the border.
Quality bus services – the urban/rural divide
Following the announcement of a five point plan to improve bus services in Wales, the Welsh Government started dialogue with the industry with a Bus Summit in January.
Discussions are growing in a number of forums. Transport Focus attended a debate organised by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in Llandudno, where bus users, service providers and the Welsh Government discussed buses in Wales. Passengers raised concerns about the lack of information and the quality of facilities, with a stark contrast in the level of service that can be provided between urban and rural areas and were encouraged by partnership working and new mobile apps.
But what are passengers’ priorities for the future of bus services? How do these differ across Wales and how should service provision be made accountable to the people who need and use local bus services? The Welsh Government have launched a consultation to understand how services should be shaped, particularly in the light of new legislative powers under the Wales Act. Click here to take part.