Campaigners call for better rural transport in Wales

image captionThe Bwcabus scheme operates in north Carmarthenshire and south Ceredigion

A countryside campaign group is calling for improvements to rural public transport and parity with urban areas.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said people must not be discriminated against because they live in isolated locations.

It highlighted Bwcabus in the Teifi Valley, which picks people up from their front doors, as a cost-effective rural service.

The assembly government said this year it had given £11m towards bus services.

It added that it would be providing an extra £350,000 over four years to support the Bwcabus scheme.

Public transport in most rural areas is less frequent compared to town and city services and people rely heavily on their cars to make journeys, such as travelling to work.

'Reasonable access'

But CPRW director Peter Ogden said people in sparsely populated rural areas should have "reasonable access to a range of cost-effective alternatives to the private motor cars to meet their travel needs".

He said: "We believe there is no justification for rural public transport to be inefficient, infrequent or unpopular, when cost effective and innovative alternatives can be provided.

"The CPRW therefore encourages the Welsh Assembly Government, public service providers and local authorities to all work together to roll out new approaches to the provision of public transport in the rural areas of Wales.

"On-demand local and community transport services, tailored to the needs of passengers, delivering them to local towns, villages or hubs along a main bus service route provide the key to this step change in rural transport provision."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said that earlier this year Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones announced £11.3m to help local authorities to boost the number and range of bus and community transport services across Wales.

He added: "We are encouraging local authorities and bus and community transport operators throughout Wales to experience Bwcabus for themselves to see if that might help improve services in their own areas.

"We have also recently agreed to support the creation of a project to establish integrated local transport networks, including community transport, in each of the deep rural localities study areas, as prescribed by the Wales Rural Observatory report."

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