THE NEXT STEPS to delivering bus reform for Wales have been set out by the Welsh Government's Deputy Minister for Climate Change.

The 'Roadmap to Bus Reform' builds on the proposals of the bus white paper to radically shake-up the way the public transport system works in Wales.

The current system where bus operators decide where to run services based on where they can maximise profit will be replaced by a system of ‘franchised’ contracts.

Speaking on Tuesday (March 5), deputy minister for climate change, Lee Waters MS, said: "We’re moving from a privatised system that puts profit before people towards one that will plan buses and trains together around the needs of passengers."

Mr Waters said that Transport for Wales, local councils and the Welsh Government will work together to design bus networks that link key services and tie up with other buses and with train timetables all using one ticket.

Companies will then be able to bid to run the whole package of routes for an area, not just the ones that are the most profitable.

“This is the most far-reaching set of reforms taking place anywhere in the UK,” the Deputy Minister added.

“At the moment using your car is easy but using public transport can feel like a hassle.

"Our aim is to create one joined up network, one integrated timetable which you can access using one ticket. That way we will make it easier to understand how to use public transport, and it will make journeys seamless’’.

The Roadmap to Bus Reform sets out year by year targets of how the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales plan to approach the delivery of franchising bus services in Wales.

This includes how they intend to work closely with partners and stakeholders, such as local authorities and bus operators to design and deliver services that are ‘easy to use, easy to access and well connected’ for communities across Wales.

This new approach is proposed to be rolled out on a geographical basis and will take several years to achieve.

The Deputy Minister continued: “This marks a major milestone on our bus reform journey. For too long Welsh bus services have been neglected with passenger numbers steadily falling and some bus routes being cut.

“It’s not going to be an easy fix and it’s going to take time, but bus reform is central to creating an integrated public transport network and tackling transport poverty across Wales.

“Connecting up bus, rail, walking and cycling routes we’ll make it easier for people to make more sustainable choices which is essential if we are to hit our ambitious sustainability goals in Wales.

“The steps that we have outlined today puts people before profit and makes the right thing to do, the easy thing to do.”