The Western Mail reports on view of the Institute for Public Policy Research that bus passengers in Wales have been let down by a lack of competition and a failure of deregulation.
They say that the cost of travelling on the nation’s buses has risen significantly faster than inflation over the last 30 years:
Experts working for the thinktank blamed the lifting of regulation from the industry in 1986 for the fact that fares had risen 34% above the rate of inflation.
Across the UK, outside of London, bus use has also fallen by 32.5 per cent, over the last 30 years.
The only part of the UK where bus services were not deregulated was London and in that time bus use has nearly doubled in the city.
In contrast, Cardiff bus announced plans earlier this year to increase fares and axe many of its services blaming funding cuts and low usage of some services
IPPR associate director Will Straw said: “London has the best buses in Britain and that’s no accident. TfL has been a great success while the deregulation of buses outside London has largely failed.
“Outside London, bus passenger journeys are down and fares are rising higher than inflation. Examples of successful bus markets outside London are all too rare so local transport bodies should be given greater powers to hold uncompetitive providers to account.”
The IPPR’s figures showed that one in eight people rely on the bus to get to work and that people made more than three times as many bus journeys as rail journeys – more than five billion each year.
The report said that the poorest made more than three times as many trips per year by bus than the richest, yet bus fares in England (outside London) had risen by 35% above inflation between 1995 and 2013, and by 34% in Wales and 20% in Scotland.
It added that 37% of weekly services outside London did not face any effective head-to head competition and just 1% of weekly services face effective head-to-head competition over all or most of their route.
The report recommended the creation of local transport bodies modelled on TfL .
He went on: “As well as regulating bus services, routes and fares, these new bodies should have a wider role of encouraging better integration between buses and other modes of transport including rail.
“This will help increase the number of passengers using public transport. Responsibility for transport related to schools and hospitals should be devolved to these regional transport bodies with any savings made from achieving efficiencies retained and reinvested in other local sustainable transport projects.”