Agenda item

Welsh Government Consultation, One Network, One Timetable, One Ticket: Planning buses as a public service for Wales - NCC Response


The Leader presented the report informing Cabinet that this was a response to a Welsh Government Consultation related to the bus industry, titled One Network, One Timetable, One Ticket – Planning Bus Services in Wales


The Welsh Government in their strategic planning approach, including Llwybr Newydd, the transport strategy for Wales, was continuing their effort to support and encourage us all to travel more sustainably, through promoting active travel, and the use of public transport.  Cabinet supported those aims, and noted the benefits they would bring to our climate emergency work.


The bus industry was primarily a commercial industry, but was subsidised by Welsh Government and local authorities. The public funding for the industry did not mean that there was a significant level of control on service provision, although in Newport, Cabinet worked well with our operators. To align with Welsh Government aspirations, the consultation related to proposed changes to the industry, from a commercial operation to a franchised system.


Cabinet was happy to contribute to the consultation, however, with the information to date, was concerned that there were a number of significant risks. There was potential for the public sector to have increased financial risk, a potential for a reduction in service provision and local accountability and potential consequences for home to school transport operations and with our municipal transport operator.  There were also risks to the future of the business. The white paper had limited detail that related to how these risks would be practically mitigated.


Within the consultation, there was a regulatory impact assessment, and there were concerns with the values within that assessment. Work with our colleagues in Cardiff Capital Region was in progress, and involvement with a piece of work being undertaken by KPMG to interrogate the assessment, and it was intended to incorporate that into our response to Welsh Government.


These concerns did not mean that Cabinet did not support the aspirations in the consultation. Cabinet completely supported the improvement of services and improvements to the passenger experience within the bus industry. It was felt however that presently, more detail and information was needed to ensure we could all be comfortable with any change, and that any changes to services would be beneficial for all stakeholders and communities.


The Leader advised Cabinet that since the report was drafted, the Welsh Government published their legislative timetable for the forthcoming year. Introduction of the Bus Bill was deferred into the following year, which would increase the uncertainty for all stakeholders.


Comments of Cabinet Members:


§  Councillor Lacey considered that the proposed model was a financial risk. There was not a one size fit model and local knowledge was vital. Wales was a varied country, with a different population size across its areas. In addition, there was no provision in this paper for home to school transport.  The municipal bus company within Newport was effective, with this in mind, it was hoped that Newport Transport would be appropriately considered within the consultation.  That said, whilst a franchise could be useful Newport

City Council would want to keep open dialogue with WG to ensure the outcome was a positive one.



Cabinet noted the issues identified and progressed to date in preparing Newport Council’s response and delegate Authority to the Leader and Cabinet Member to amend and approve the final consultation submission once supporting information was available.

Supporting documents: