Bus summit held in Wrexham to halt 'demise' of industry

Bus sign

More passengers are needed to ensure the long term future of Wales' bus industry, a meeting in Wrexham heard.

The industry is worth about £80m a year to the economy, employs about 4,000 workers, with 105 million journeys taken in Wales each year.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said 2016 had been a "mixed year" with the "demise" of some service providers.

He told Wales' first bus summit some communities had been left "vulnerable" and longer-term solutions are needed.

Mr Skates added more young people should be encouraged to travel by bus, and services must work for both rural and urban areas.

Between 2011 and 2014, nearly 100 subsidised bus routes were scrapped by local councils in Wales.

Passengers and transport providers attended Monday's summit, which was one of five steps the Welsh Government recommended to strengthen the industry.

Bus coordinators have also been appointed in north and south Wales to develop good practice.

Mr Skates said: "It's a tough task but I'm positive we have the expertise and the will in Wales to deliver it.

"I'm keen, amongst other things, to explore with others whether new legislation can play a role in this.

"In the meantime, of course, we will continue to support local authorities and communities wherever possible, whether it be through taking on new services like the T1C between Aberystwyth and Cardiff or providing further financial support to areas affected by loss of service providers."

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