I have recently been contacted by a number of local residents concerned about disruptions to local train and bus services. Many residents rely on public transport to commute to work, visit family and friends and access public services. It is a vital part of life in our communities. It is essential that we have a high quality, affordable and reliable passenger bus and rail network.

Improving local rail services has been a priority for me since I was first elected. Last month I met with constituents over disruption to local rail services. I know that many of you will have experienced delays and cancellations to services in the weeks following the handover of the Wales Rail Franchise. I understand and share the frustration that these delays have caused. There has been a shortage of rolling stock as a result of a large maintenance backlog following the handover of the franchise together with planned changes to rail services. This has led to a significant reduction in services and replacement bus services. I have been in contact with the Minister for Transport and Transport for Wales to raise the concerns of constituents. I have been assured that service levels are now back to normal and they do not anticipate any restrictions to services in the coming year. I will of course maintain my interest to see that those assurances are kept. I will update residents again on future plans to deliver improved station facilities, trains and more regular services.

As many of you are aware Cardiff Bus has recently announced changes to bus services across Cardiff and the Vale. A number of bus routes are at risk as part of these changes. The removal of bus links for work, social links and public services, including hospital routes, would have a significant impact on my constituents.

Cardiff Bus are not acting to deliberately hurt our communities. Far from being an uncaring organisation Cardiff Bus are stuck with a legal framework that stops them from operating on the same basis as commercial competitors. Competitors can cherry pick and target single profitable routes that undermine the wider social propose that most of us want from local bus services. Cardiff Council’s Labour leadership has committed to supporting at risk bus services for 2 years. Unless the Conservative leadership of the Vale Council agrees to Labour councillors' amendments to the budget and protects local bus services in the Vale then bus routes will go. The Vale Council leadership could and should act. If they don’t then my constituents will suffer.

In future, the regulation of buses is the answer. London was the only part of the UK that was allowed to keep a regulated bus service. It is no mistake that it has the best and most coherent service. We now have the legislative powers to regulate bus services here in Wales. The Welsh Government is currently consulting on proposals to reform bus and taxi services in Wales. More information on the consultation can be found at: https://beta.gov.wales/improving-public-transport. The consultation closes on 27th March – please do get in touch and take part.