Transport for Wales to be placed under public control by Welsh Government

Class 175 at Llandudno Juncation. Credit: Welsh Government

Transport for Wales (TrC) and Keolis and Amey have taken steps towards altering the partnership begun in 2018, ensuring the continuation of the Wales and Borders rail network transformation.

TrC, Keolis and Amey announced that they have reached an agreement leading to the implementation of a new funding and operational model.

This agreement is welcomed by the Welsh Government and TrC, who have a sustainable vision for achieving their ambitious objectives, despite the drastic effects of Covid-19, and with Keolis and Amey, who will continue to contribute their internationally renowned expertise to ensure the transformation for travellers in Wales.

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Under the agreement, the new publicly owned subsidiary Transport for Wales will run the day-to-day services. KeolisAmey will also partner with TrC to significantly improve customer experience through integrated ticketing and on-demand transport systems.

James Price, Chief Executive of Transport Wales, said: “I am pleased with this agreement, which will enable Transport for Wales to continue to transform the Wales and Borders rail network over an extremely difficult time for the industry, which has seen a downward trend.

“KeolisAmey has made a significant contribution to transport in Wales over the past two years and I have welcomed their joint approach to securing this agreement, which has allowed us to deliver a positive way forward for the Wales and Borders contract.

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“We will continue to benefit from the expertise of Keolis and Amey’s international industry and give TrC and the Welsh Government more control over the delivery of our key transport objectives, as we seek to maintain the good progress of the rail network and ensure it plays a vital role in helping Wales to be well placed in a post-pandemic environment.”

Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive of KeolisAmey Cymru, Wales Transport Development Operator and Partner, said: “Travelers and the communities we serve will always have been at the heart of our partnership with TrC – finding the right solutions to improve services across Wales and the border.

“In the light of Covid-19, we recognize the need for the Welsh Government to establish a sustainable way forward in order to achieve its ambitious rail objectives; we are pleased that we have agreed and implemented sound principles as we work on the details of this new agreement.”

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers are less concerned about what goes on behind the scenes provided it doesn’t result in disruption for them. A stable, reliable railway will be a key part in getting Wales moving again and helping rebuild the economy.

“Welsh Government and Transport for Wales must now work together to build an attractive proposition that will encourage people back to rail, when the time is right, and offer what passengers are keen to see – good performance and more flexible tickets that fit the way we live and travel now. Passengers will also want to see the promised investment delivered.”

Much has been achieved in the two years since KeolisAmey began operating as Wales and Borders franchise operators. They have successfully introduced more modern and reliable trains across the network, and completed the roll-out of new trains from 2021/22.

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An important consequence of these great successes has been the creation of sustainable jobs, skills and apprenticeships to support the people and economy of Wales.

Keolis and Amey are determined to deliver improvements, and play an important role in the vision to transform and add value throughout.

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Shannon Butcher

Let off some steam...