Bus passengers travelling across Newport during March will receive free travel thanks to a new pilot scheme being funded by the Welsh Government.
The scheme, which is being trialled to encourage people to make more sustainable and greener travel choices, will be available all day, every day throughout March, on bus services across Newport’s local authority.
The scheme has been facilitated by the Burns Delivery Board, set up to deliver the 58 recommendations of the Burns Commission which focused on providing people living and working in south east Wales with alternatives to private car use.
The Burns Chair Annual Report published today sets out the progress that has been made in the last year on the long term improvement of the rail mainline and focuses on the more immediate measures that are being taken to improve transport alternatives in the area. These include:
- Wales’ first trials of secure cycle storage in Cardiff and Newport;
- an innovative trial to improve cycle path maintenance in Cardiff, helping to reduce the risk of skidding and punctures for cyclists; and
- active travel route enhancements to Severn Tunnel Junction rail station.
The Board has also recently opened two public consultations on their proposals to upgrade cycling and bus links between Cardiff and Newport and improve bus access to Severn Tunnel Junction railway station in Monmouthshire.
Speaking on a visit to Newport Bus Depot, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said:
“After a year of working closely with local authorities and Transport for Wales we’re now starting to see our plans for an integrated public transport network for south east Wales become a reality.
“There’s still a long way to go, but I am assured that within the next 18 months we’ll start to see some significant improvements in bus travel, cycling and walking, with a greater shift towards sustainable transport, especially for those people travelling between Newport and Cardiff.
“I am confident that the free bus scheme I have announced today will not only provide a boost to the bus industry and local economy, but also encourage more people to make the switch to more sustainable travel.
Professor Simon Gibson CBE Chair of the Burns Delivery Board:
“This report identifies some of the key achievements and ongoing challenges for the Burns Delivery Board in its first year of operation. We continue to navigate our way through difficult circumstances dealing with the wide-reaching and continuously evolving impacts of Covid-19, against the backdrop of a Climate Emergency.
“Our work will be increasingly important in supporting the people of South East Wales to make the shift away from private car and onto more sustainable transport modes and we are determined to maintain our pace of development and delivery throughout 2022 and beyond.
Councillor Jane Mudd, Leader of Newport City Council, added:
“I very much welcome the decision of the Burns Delivery Board and Welsh Government to make the offer and fund the month-long scheme.
“In December, the council funded a similar offer which received positive feedback from both residents and businesses with a marked increase in the number of bus passengers compared to the same month in 2020.
“The council has an excellent working relationship with the Burns Delivery Board and I would like to thank the board, and Welsh Government, for this important support for the city and its residents.
“As the public health situation looks set to improve and with the start of spring around the corner, this will be a great opportunity for people to find alternative and greener ways of travelling while staying local to support local businesses. It will also make a real difference to individuals and families who are facing up to cost of living rises as we emerge from winter.