Issue - meetings
Response to Welsh Government’s Transportation White Paper
(a) That the WG Consultation be noted; and
(b) That the Committee’s comments regarding concessionary bus passes are incorporated into the Council’s response.
The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report on the Welsh Government (WG) Transport White Paper ‘Improving Public Transport’. He reported that the WG had issued a consultation White Paper in December 2018, on plans to improve public transport in Wales. The purpose of the consultation was to seek views on the WG legislative proposals for reforming the planning and delivery of local bus services in Wales, together with the licensing of taxis and other private hire vehicles. The closing date for responses to the consultation was 27 March 2019.
The Chief Officer advised that there were 10 proposals within the White Paper which were summarised within the report. He explained that proposals 1 to 6 related to public transport and invited the Integrated Transport Unit Manager, and the Regulatory Services Manager to report on each of the proposals and the general proposed responses. Proposals 7 to 10 referred directly to taxi licensing and the Council’s response had been discussed by the Licensing Committee. The proposed response to the questions relating to these proposals were detailed in appendix 1 to the report.
Councillor Carolyn Thomas expressed concerns regarding the lack of clarity in relation to proposal 1 in the report and the membership of the Joint Transport Authority and funding arrangements. She explained she had raised these issues with the WG and had been told that a more detailed paper could follow shortly. She also pointed out that the White Paper did not mention how Transport for Wales would fit in. She added that the Authority currently delivered WG funding on behalf of other North Wales authorities, e.g. bus passes and the bus support grant. Councillor Thomas also referred to the new livery that Flintshire would be putting on buses and the Chief Officer agreed to circulate information regarding this to the Committee.
Councillor Joe Johnson said he was opposed to the proposal to increase the eligibility age for the mandatory concessionary fares scheme to bring in line with a woman’s pensionable age. He expressed the view that bus passes should remain available from the age of 60 and commented on the need to reduce the carbon footprint. He felt that the proposed changes could have a negative impact.
Councillor Carolyn Thomas emphasised that people under the age of 65 who already received a free bus pass would continue to be eligible to receive a free pass.
Councillor David Evans referred to the Authority’s suggested responses to the WG white paper for transport which was appended to the report. Commenting on questions 18 and 19 which both had the answer ‘Yes’ he said that this did not answer the questions. Councillor Evans supported the view that the concessionary bus pass age should remain at 60. He felt that in many cases the concessionary fares could maintain the operation of bus services and suggested that changes could make routes unviable in the future. He also referred to the carbon footprint and said that by using a bus service people did ... view the full minutes text for item 51