Buses and tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings
trawscymru bus

travel on Trawscymru services are free at weekends

According to a BBC study, the bus network had shrunk dramatically over the last ten years has caused some commentators to remark that the effect has been similar to that caused by the Beeching cuts on the railways. As councils have had to trim budgets, subsidies to buses have often been a target. Wales seems to be hardest hit with a decline of 20% in the number of miles covered compared to ten years ago overall but parts of England and Scotland have also been badly hit such as Northumberland, Lincolnshire and Dumfries and Galloway. The north west of England could be the worst hit where 23% of bus miles has been cut.

It should be remembered that in some urban areas there is a lot of duplication and some cuts in unsubsidised services could be due to competition.

Day-trips are important tourism opportunities and the withdrawal of services will lessen the opportunity for both us and overseas visitors to explore parts of the UK. Buses allow day trips to places not served by trains as well as removing the opportunities for car travel. It is the policy of Visit Britain and many other tourist organisations to try and spread tourism around and certainly out of major tourist bottlenecks. By removing bus services there are fewer opportunities for that policy to come about.

In Wales, the decision by the Welsh government to make long distance buses (“T” – Trawscymru – services) free at weekends has already shown an increase in the number of users. When sufficient time has passed it will be interesting to see what the effect has been on local tourism by this increase in travelling numbers.

The number of people using bus services is marginally up overall suggesting that the demand is there and that bus services shouldn’t require the amount of cuts they have had. The reason given for the Beeching cuts was that there was less inclination to travel by train. Look how wrong that was. Cutting bus services may be the same error.

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