The Welsh Government has been urged to introduce free or heavily discounted train journeys, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

The call came from Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds, who pointed at the apparent success of a similar scheme in Germany, and a policy announced by the Spanish government last month, which will see medium distance and commuter train journeys made free between September - December this year.

All public transport prices in Spain - including metro, buses, and tram services - will also be cut by 30 percent during this time.

"With the cost-of-living crisis surging, we need to be looking at innovative solutions to help keep costs down," Jane Dodds MS said on Thursday.

"For many people, getting to work is one of their biggest expenses, whether they are driving with high fuel prices, or using expensive train passes already.

“This scheme coming into effect in Spain is an example of one way in which workers can have some sort of cushion against rapidly rising prices.

“We know that lower income families are more reliant on public transport in Wales, we also know that lower income families are bearing the brunt of this cost-of-living crisis.

“The policy would also be extremely green and would hopefully go a long way into encouraging people to move to public transport permanently, the evidence from the scheme in Germany is really encouraging on this.

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“I hope that the Welsh Labour Government will look at some of the evidence coming out of our European neighbours and consider introducing a similar scheme here in Wales.”

This summer, people in Germany have been able to use public transport as much as desired for €9 per month (approx £7.58). The policy is set to expire this month, but the German government is facing pressure to extend it as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

An analysis by traffic data specialist TomTom suggested that the scheme had reduced congestion in 23 of the 26 German cities it studied. 

The cost-of-living crisis is set to rage on this winter, with the Bank of England announcing a hike to interest rates and a long recession ahead on Thursday.

The Bank also forecast that the price cap on energy bills will rise from £1,971 to £3,450 per year for the average household this October.

Experts from Cornwall Insight, an energy consultancy, have also predicted further hikes, to £3,616 in January and £3,729 in April. Other energy experts believe it could go higher still.

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