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Bus passengers in Wales benefit from stronger representation this year, as the Welsh Assembly government funding fo...
Bus passengers in Wales benefit from stronger representation this year, as the Welsh Assembly government funding for the National Federation of Bus Users in Wales increases to£63,000.

Economic development and transport minister Andrew Davies described the four-fold increase in funding as a reflection of the federation's success in promoting bus travel and supporting passengers' interests.

Since 2001, the assembly government has funded the post of a part-time officer of the federation, whose role has included representing passengers' interests on bodies such as the Welsh Transport Forum, taking forward the assembly's concessionary travel scheme, and developing a network of long-distance bus and coach services. In addition, the officer, Leo Markham, has pursued passengers' complaints direct with bus operators, held bus passenger surgeries throughout Wales to hear concerns at first hand, and evaluated local authority plans and strategies for bus services in their areas.

Andrew Davies said: 'Buses have a vital role to play in reducing traffic on our more congested roads, and encouraging people to adopt more sustainable methods of travel. The experience and expertise that Leo Markham has brought to assembly government initiatives, such as free bus travel for over-60s, has been invaluable. This increase in funding is a reflection of his hard work and success over the past three years in promoting the use of buses and representing passengers' interests.'

The extra funding will support the appointment of an additional, full-time deputy officer, as well as the provision of a manned, bilingual telephone service, and bilingual publicity about the federation's work in Wales.

The minister's announcement has been warmly welcomed by Leo Markham: 'Andrew Davies' announcement is tremendous news for bus passengers throughout Wales. This very substantial increase in funding means that we will be able to work even harder on behalf of passengers, and more closely with local authoriti es and bus operators. Along with the assembly government, they already share the federation's keenness to make bus travel an increasingly attractive and realistic alternative for more journeys, and boosting the work that we do can only help achieve our shared objectives.'

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