A joint statement from Welsh Government, TfW, WLGA, Association of Transport Co- ordinating Officers (ATCO), Confederation of Passenger Transport and Coach and Bus Association Cymru.
The Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) kept vital bus services running throughout the pandemic. The scheme had been due to end in March 2023, but following extensive discussions, we announced in February that it would be extended for an initial transitional period of three months to the end of June 2023.
Following further conversations, we can confirm we will extend BES for a further three-week period to the end of this academic year. The scheme will now run to 24th July 2023. This will mean that school transport will continue as normal. It will also provide further stability for the industry while we work on the transition away from emergency style funding to plan bus networks which better suit the new travel patterns we have seen since the end of the pandemic.
The Welsh Government will continue to work with Local Authorities and bus operators to maximise the funding available for the remainder of the financial year.
In addition, Regional Planning Teams supported by TfW, have been agreed to be established to understand the impact of the ending of BES and to resolve the network issues that are likely to arise from the change in funding regime. This will help optimise the network and maintain as much reach and access as possible.
TfW have already met with regional local authority leads to agree terms of reference and we expect these teams to begin meeting from next week.
We will continue to meet regularly and work closely together and with other partners to build a strong and sustainable bus network for Wales.