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Calls to support transport providers in Bridgend

The Federation of Small Businesses in Wales have called on Bridgend County Borough Council to confirm an increase in fuel rates paid to bus and coach providers who carry children to school.

After fuel rates rising rapidly and steeply, many local authorities have recently agreed to pay higher fuel rates to their providers to help them survive and provide essential transport services. Bridgend County Borough Council has not announced any plans to do so, despite calls from local providers and business representative groups.

Uncertainty about fuel rates is having a significant and damaging impact on providers who remain unsure whether it’s financially viable for them to provide services to the local authority for key routes for the coming academic year.

Rob Basini, Development Manager for FSB in South Wales, said, “This issue could have a devastating impact on businesses, their employees, schools, students and their families. The most worrying consequence is for the children being taken to school by these providers- if bus and coach operators cannot cover costs, plan financially and survive, pupils may be left with fewer practical, and affordable, options of getting to school. We urge Bridgend CBC to engage with providers on this urgently.”

Ian Williams, (title) of Cresta Coaches in Bridgend, said, “We have seen a 35 to 38% increase in fuel cost alone since we submitted our tender contract rates to Bridgend County Borough Council in June 2021. No one could anticipate the level of increase in diesel costs that have been experienced over the past 6 months. It is simply no longer viable to continue the services levels we offer without the Authority providing similar level of emergency support that other local Authorities have given to their home to school transport providers.”