Public transport is an integral part of life across Wales, especially in rural constituencies where villages are spread miles apart. As we all know, the importance of regular and reliable public transport for rural communities cannot be overstated.

 Sadly, our bus operators have been subject to cuts in funding by the Welsh Government resulting in delays and cuts to services, a fact that I’m sure many readers will have personally felt.

 According to recent statistics, almost 13% of residents in Monmouthshire do not have access to a car or van and therefore rely heavily on public transport to get around.

 These people are disproportionately affected by routes being cut and busses being delayed.

However, it isn’t all bad news for passengers here in Monmouthshire.

 I am very proud of the fact that Conservative Councillors and local residents in Monmouthshire fought hard and successfully saved the 65 bus service from being cut.

 This vital bus service provides much needed public transport for residents travelling between Chepstow and Monmouth and the fact that the Labour-run Council were looking to cut it is frankly embarrassing.

 Public transport routes such as these play an incredibly important role for many residents in Monmouthshire especially those who may not have access to a car or other forms of private transport.

 This proposed cut to the first and last service of the 65 bus service would have seen students unable to study, pensioners cut off from their daily activities and workers unable to attend their jobs.

 I know we have all heard the rhetoric coming from the Welsh Government regarding the need to use public transport, but the fact is the Welsh Government seems not to have taken rural rural public transport seriously.

 Since Labour’s 20mph default speed limit was introduced, bus routes across the country were axed as was their punctuality, with several operators laying the blame directly at the feet of this policy.

 While there has been some movement on the issue, the fact remains that busses continue to be held back by poor planning and infrastructure as well as cuts to funding.

 I recognise the Welsh Government’s desire to encourage the use away from private transport, but in order to do this we desperately need a viable alternative.

 It is no good simply making driving more difficult, we need more focus on public transport services, and I hope that the Welsh Government begins to address the concerns of people across Wales and ensure we have solid and reliable public transport infrastructure fit for the 21st century.