NHS staff to get free bus travel in Wales

NHS staff will receive free travel on buses throughout Wales in return for hardship funding from the Welsh Government over the next three months.

With free travel already available on Transport for Wales trains, Transport for Wales will now receive additional funding support and a Hardship Fund has been established to help bus companies following passenger numbers falling by up to 90 per cent as passengers adhere to the stay-at-home coronavirus advice.

The combined support is worth up to £69 million. The bus hardship fund will be paid monthly up-front for up to three months and will temporarily replace existing grant funding provided through the bus services support grant, mandatory concessionary fares and MyTravelPass in the normal course of business.

Ken Skates said: “Demand for public transport has reduced significantly as people are following the new rules to stay at home to save lives and protect our NHS. Our rail franchise provider, bus companies and community transport operators – many of which are small businesses and charities – are facing significant financial challenges. This support will give public transport operators the initial funding they need to continue to deliver services, pay employees and sub-contractors, while we work with them to develop a comprehensive package of measures to secure an efficient, sustainable, and robust bus network.”

In return for financial support from the Welsh Government, bus companies will need to commit to continue to provide a timetabled service and all NHS staff will receive free travel. Transport for Wales is already offering free travel for NHS staff on its services.