The new toolkit proposed in the Bus Services (Wales) Bill offers councils in Wales new powers to run their own bus services.
The proposed Bill will also introduce powers for councils to work in partnership agreements with operators which would allow them, for example, to carry out enforcement of bus lanes.
Introduction of these powers would allow local authorities to run their own bus service or to plug gaps in existing services.
Ken Skates, minister for economy, transport and North Wales, said the deregulation of bus services in the 1980s has been an ‘abject failure’.
‘Passenger numbers are falling and it’s clear that the free market model simply does not work,’ he said. ‘Bus services can’t be sold like washing powder or apples – they are a vital public service that need to be planned in a coordinated and rational way for passengers.
‘This legislation will help us take action to end that free market model. It puts passengers first by giving local authorities the opportunity to better plan and deliver bus services through new franchising powers and by lifting the ban on councils establishing their own bus companies.’