MP airs criticism over transport funding

Barry And District News: Cardiff Bus operates in Barry Cardiff Bus operates in Barry

VALE MP Alun Cairns has slated subsidy increases for the North-South Wales air link, when grants for local bus services are being cut.

Mr Cairns has campaigned to protect and improve bus services across the Vale, after transport grants were cut by the Welsh Government and Vale Council.

He said several public meetings had illustrated concern among residents and he was now alarmed that the air link between Cardiff Airport and Anglesey had increased significantly, making it one of the most subsidised routes across the UK.

Subsidies for flights between Cardiff airport and Anglesey rose by 37.2 percent between 2010-11 and 2012-13, at a cost of £184 per passenger, per journey.

Grants to local authorities including the Vale were cut by 29.2 percent leading to the loss of many local bus services.

Alun said: “I have been inundated by complaints from constituents concerned by the widespread cuts to funding for bus services across the Vale. Some Communities in Barry, Rhoose and elsewhere across the rural Vale have become isolated.

“Bus services provide a lifeline for people, particularly in rural and deprived areas, and the loss of a number of routes here in the Vale has made it difficult for many people to get to work or to make vital medical appointments.

“Barry and Vale residents will view this news as a kick in the teeth. The North-South air link is used by a very small number of passengers and costs the taxpayer £184 per passenger. Surely the Welsh Government should be targeting their resources on services that are used by large sections of the population.

“Having already spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the much criticised and rarely used T9 airport shuttle bus, it is clear that the Welsh Government has got its priorities completely wrong.

“I will continue to campaign for proper funding for buses in the Vale and I would strongly urge the transport minister to reconsider ploughing any further public money into an air link that simply isn’t viable without huge subsidies.”

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