|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
New bus network for Wales begins its journey
The first step to creating a new all Wales long distance bus network was announced yesterday by the Welsh Assembly Government.
The existing TrawsCambria bus network is to be extended with new services and an investment of £2.2m in 12 new vehicles. The service will soon be known as TrawsCymru as it joins together more parts of the country. The announcement also includes the extension of the hugely popular Bwcabus scheme.
The changes include:
12 new low-floor vehicles that will operate on the X40 service linking Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Carmarthen and the 704 between Newtown and Brecon. The buses will be fitted with more comfortable coach style seating and increased luggage space.
The X40 service will see the introduction of an hourly service from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth between 6 am and 8 pm Mondays to Saturdays. There would also be journeys in the evenings and on Sundays.
An enhanced 704 service between Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells, Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil. This includes a two hourly service between Newtown to Merthyr between 6 am and 8 pm Mondays to Saturdays. The X40 and 704 services will eventually be renumbered under a new system beginning with T.
Improved connections at Brecon to other bus service links to Abergavenny, Swansea and Llandovery.
A new two hourly service between Newtown and Cardiff.
Improved facilities for passengers connecting with rail services at Carmarthen and Aberystwyth stations.
An extra £350,000 for the on-demand Bwcabus service to be extended to cover extra areas of the Teifi valley, in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
The changes are due to be up and running by March 2012.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said,
“Improving public transport is at the heart of this government and that is why today I am announcing major improvements to coach services on the TrawsCambria network. Over the last 12 months we have been working closely with councils and bus operators to carry out a comprehensive review of the existing service. TrawsCambria services have been operated for over 30 years and latest figures show it is making over a half million passenger journeys a year.
“We recognise that it provides key public transport links between major centres, many operating along corridors which lost their passenger rail services in the late 1960’s thanks to the notorious Beeching Axe. I want to see this service expanded and improved. So today I am delighted to announce an improved service, which will be known as TrawsCymru. From December this year we will invest in twelve new low-floor buses, which will operate on the X40 service linking Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Carmarthen; and the 704 between Newtown and Brecon. These are both services that have experienced especially strong growth in recent times.
“This will be a truly green service, using low emission engines in line with the latest European environmental management standards. It will have an attractive and easily understood pricing and ticketing structure. It will be fully accessible to all in the community, including the provision of wheelchair accessible coaches.
“We are also announcing the extension of the Bwcabus service into new areas of the Teifi Valley in both Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion. It is revolutionising public transport in rural west Wales – helping people to access key services, travel to work and take up training and other educational opportunities – very welcome in these tough economic times. It’s already carried over 10,000 passengers, three months ahead of schedule – helping increase use of public transport in the area by more than 40 per cent.”
These new plans do not affect the route or specific timetabling currently in place. Any changes in routes and timetabling will be a matter for future public consultation.
The plan is to deliver the improvements to TrawsCymru through the Quality Bus Partnership. There will be consultation with the local community, operators and local authorities on details of timetable and routes. This is due to take place in the summer. The current arrangements for some services from Aberystwyth to Cardiff will continue.