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In passing

03 March 2017

Why is the Welsh Government surprised that people use buses primarily for local journeys? Explaining the reasons for the impending abolition of its youth bus travel scheme, it said in December that analysis “seems to suggest that passholders are not using their passes to travel outside their immediate areas”. Last week infrastructure minister Ken Skates temporarily reprieved the scheme but repeated the implicit criticism and mused: “This may be because their schools, colleges, places of work or training, or their friends and social activities do not require them to travel further.” Smart work, Sherlock! LTT wonders whether the Government’s much vaunted Active Travel (Wales) Act will be judged a flop if it doesn’t result in people making utility journeys of ten miles-plus on foot or bicycle!

Some people are ahead of their time and others are behind. Board members on the Highlands and Islands regional transport partnership (HITRANS) were told last month: “The HITRANS partnership meeting in November 2017 approved the undertaking of a study into the wider value of the transport network and services in the Highlands and Islands.” Meanwhile, the National Infrastructure Commission has launched a call for evidence for its new future technology study, with a date of February 2016 emblazoned on the cover.

People are often being urged to walk and cycle more for two reasons – one to reduce vehicle emissions and two because of the obvious health benefits. Well, we say obvious… but as it happens Google has just scuppered the latter reason by providing ‘virtual’ walks on some of Wales’ most scenic trails on its street view and maps sites. National Resources Wales nevertheless is trying to portray this development as part of a commitment to actually get more people walking in Wales, the theory being that “this ‘virtual warden’ experience will encourage more people to get out and enjoy the outdoors”, as it told the BBC. Watch this space to find out whether this actually happens – or not.

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