The distance travelled by local bus services has dropped by 20% in 10 years with people in rural areas feeling the consequences of sudden route closures, according to latest figures compiled by the BBC.
Wales’ 19.5% decline is 13.4% more than in England, 4.4% more than in Scotland, and 13.5% more than in Northern Ireland. It means that the 130 million bus journeys in 2008/09 has now fallen to 100 million journeys.
Responding to the figures, Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Transport, said:
“People across Mid Wales rely on public transport for a variety of reasons, from doing their weekly shop to visiting relatives in hospital, but the drop in bus provision shouldn’t come as a surprise after the significant cuts made by the Welsh Government to operator grants.
“It is a particular disappointment to see the distances travelled by buses in Wales fall so sharply at a time when people across our country are becoming more environmentally conscious.
“I want to see an increase in support for local bus services and have announced that we would introduce a ‘green card’ which would give free bus travel to all 16-24 year olds in Wales.
“Sadly, under the current Welsh Government, services are disappearing and those in rural Mid Wales often have to wait hours for a bus, if one even turns up at all.”