TRANSPORT Minister Ken Skates AM has announced up to £1 million of funding for four pilot projects that will test innovative forms of demand responsive bus travel across Wales.

Two of the four trials will take place in North Wales, with the other two in West Wales and in the Valleys taskforce area.

These trials will test different models of demand bus services and where appropriate, build on existing delivery models.

Transport for Wales will assist with the pilots.

The results of the trials will be analysed and will help inform the development of demand responsive travel over the next few years. Depending on their success, a decision will be taken on initiating a permanent arrangement.

The funding is part of the £24 million of local transport fund due to be announced shortly.

Mr Skates, who is also the Assembly Member for Clwyd South, said: "We’ve got exciting plans for transport over the next decade and beyond.

"The development of the new £5 billion rail franchise, a major overhaul of the bus network and significant new investment going into Active Travel.

"A major part of our plan is to encourage innovation on our transport network and to build it around the needs of the passengers and the communities that use it.

"This £1 million of funding will help us test four different models of demand responsive transport on the bus network with a view to taking what works into obtaining a much bigger prize – the development of a truly integrated public transport network that is there when people genuinely need it – for work, for play or to access important services.

"It’s an unacceptable fact that in places such as the Mersey Dee Region, one-in-five people cannot get to job interviews because of an absence of affordable public transport.

"One-in-five people locked out of work, because they don’t have the luxury of owning a car.

"Through the design and testing of the different models, we can test key aspects of demand responsive bus travel services including integration of patient and education transport as well as the use of new mobile technology."

The announcement will see the Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, local authorities and operators work together to do the initial design the pilot projects.

The schemes will provide important information and insight for rolling out integrated responsive services to the rest of Wales.

Further information on the pilot projects will be made once arrangements have been finalised with local authorities and operators.