Plaid Cymru in Neath are calling on Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council to monitor the success of a free bus scheme introduced by neighbouring Swansea this summer.
In Swansea, local people will be able to travel on local buses for free every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the month of August.
Plaid’s Neath chairperson, Cllr Wyndham Griffiths, Bryncoch North said: “The Swansea scheme is an interesting development. As councillors we have been notified that the Swansea scheme will only apply to buses running within the boundaries of Swansea and will not directly benefit the residents of Neath Port Talbot.
“We will nevertheless be urging Neath Port Talbot council to monitor Swansea’s experience carefully, with a view to potentially developing a similar scheme for the people of Neath in future.
“There appear to be clear benefits to such a scheme. It may reduce car use, which is environmentally beneficial, and can also help many people save money on their transport costs. It may also be a way of encouraging more local people to stay local and shop in the towns of the borough. Increasing footfall in our towns can have significant benefits for local shops and businesses.”
Pontardawe’s Cllr Anthony John Richards added: “A scheme of this type could bring benefits to smaller towns within the county, enabling more local people to travel to get to shops and services. Pontardawe could certainly benefit. It could also help better connect our valleys and encourage people to explore other parts of the county they might otherwise not normally visit. The Swansea scheme is also very much about encouraging tourism and the exploration of areas away from the city itself.
“We really need to see how the Swansea scheme works and investigate the opportunities for our own county.”
In response to calls to adopt the free bus scheme, a spokesperson for Neath Port Talbot Council said: “The council will monitor the success of the scheme”.
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