Bigger role for small and municipal bus operators in Welsh franchising plans

Cardiff Bus Yutong E12 428 (CE71 YXN) operating the 49 between the city centre and Llanrumney. The Welsh Government has proposed removing prohibitions on the ability of municipals to borrow funds or sell share capital to make it easier for the likes of Cardiff Bus to invest in zero emission buses.

The Welsh Government is hoping that its plan for the whole of Wales to switch to franchising will create bigger opportunities for home-grown bus companies and municipal operators.

One of the proposals is that a municipal bus company could step in, as the ‘Operator of Last Resort’, to maintain services in a different area of Wales. The OLR provision would come into play if no bids are received for a franchise or if a franchisee ceases to operate before the end of a contract term.

The government has decided that its forthcoming legislation will not include provisions for operators and authorities to form Enhanced Partnerships. It says the option has achieved little in England, and would prevent Wales moving quickly towards a single bus network with coordinated timetables and fares.

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