Bus companies in Wales are set to receive a £48 million emergency funding package, the Welsh Government has announced.

The money has been allocated to support the industry in its pandemic recovery and to "deal with emerging financial challenges", the government said.

The package will provide funding for companies to maintain their services until the end of the year, in return for "greater public control" over those services - though it is not yet clear what form that control will take, or when it will come into effect.

“The bus industry is emerging from some of its toughest times, and we need to continue to provide support to help the industry recover and secure a healthy future," said Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, whose role covers transport responsibilities. 

“During the pandemic, passenger numbers fell by around 90 percent and have still only returned to between 50 percent and 70 percent of pre-Covid levels, leaving operators struggling with reduced revenue and contending with the latest challenges of rising fuel and operating costs.   

“The funding I’ve announced today will provide a short-term solution to help the industry to begin to recover from the challenges it has and continues to face whilst we develop a longer-term solution to tackle the gradual decline in passengers over the years."

“In March I set out our plans to bring forward legislation to change the way bus services are delivered across Wales. Throughout this process we will be working closely with local government, the bus industry and passengers, to design a system that is ‘easy to use, easy to access and well connected’ providing people a ‘real sustainable transport alternative’ to the private car.

“We will provide an update on how these plans are progressing later this year.”

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.