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Bus cuts: MP hears of late, overcrowded and dangerous journeys

28 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Quadrant bus station, Swansea. Image Nation Cymru

Around one hundred people attended a meeting with an MP on Tuesday evening to express their concerns and frustrations over cuts to essential bus services in the Townhill and Mayhill area of Swansea.

Independent MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies met residents at the Phoenix Centre to hear  their experiences of bus travel since the cuts to local services were introduced by First Cymru in October last year.

The buses serving Townhill and Mayhill were significantly reduced, with the Townhill circular (numbers 12 and 13) being cut by a third and the Mayhill circular (number 11) being removed altogether with the route incorporated into the Townhill circular.

This not only reduced the frequency of the service but also extended the length of the journey from 15 minutes to over half an hour.

Additionally, the operating hours of these services, as well as the number 16 which serves the Gors Avenue area of the hill, have been reduced, starting later in the morning and finishing earlier in the evening.

In the case of the 16, the evening service is taken over by Adventure Travel, which charges separately and does not accept First Cymru day tickets.

Now, First Cymru is proposing an increase in the day ticket from £4.20 to £6 and has introduced a ‘tap on/tap off’ system (TOTO) of payment which charges customers depending on the length of their journey.

Mr Davies told attendees that he wanted to garner opinions and a mandate to present a case for reinstating the services to First Cymru and Swansea Council.

He added that he had invited representatives from First Cymru and a representative from the Council to attend, but they had not responded.


Mr Davies said grants are available to improve services and the Welsh Government were looking to provide subsidies. He said there is a Wales wide grant of £40m available and that Swansea’s share of that would be around £3m.

He added that in neighbouring Neath Port Talbot, the council had spent £3m reinstating 43 bus routes which had been cut, while in Swansea, 9 services had been axed and a further 13 had been drastically reduced.

He noted that in First Group who own First Cymru have seen profits up from £66million in 2022 to £101 million in 2023 with passenger numbers up 20 per cent.

Attendees of the meeting told of many issues affecting them, including long waits at bus stops and at the Quadrant bus station, poor communication from bus station staff and signage, unreliable apps and last minute changes to which bays the buses will leave from, leaving those with mobility problems unable to get to them on time.

They also said that complaining to the company and trying to get answers was difficult and frequently fruitless with no answers forthcoming.

Number 12 overcrowded, image by Michael Davies


There were numerous reports of overcrowding and too many people having to stand on old buses which struggled to get up Mount Pleasant Hill and frequently broke down.

They said that often, the buses that did come would be full leaving the Quadrant so if they tried to alight on the Kingsway, the next stop, they could be standing next to the driver as the bus was so full.

People also complained of their jobs being affected – one young woman lost her job because she was repeatedly late to work as the buses were consistently late, one woman saying she now has to walk through an industrial estate in the morning, often in the dark, because the first bus of the day had been removed meaning she couldn’t make her connection to get her to work by 8am.

One hospital volunteer saying he could no longer afford to get to the hospital to do his shifts.

Another said that many who lived on the hill were contributing to the economy through minimum wage jobs, often in the service sector or shift work and yet were being left without the services they need to get to work.

Follow up

Mr Davies followed up the meeting on social media, inviting residents to submit further details of their difficulties with the service to him.

He said: “‘I’m really grateful to all the people who gave their time to come to my public meeting on Townhill/Mayhill bus services at the Phoenix Centre last night and for all the powerful points made.

“I’ll be reporting back a fuller account and arranging the meetings to press for improvements. Meanwhile keep sending me your comments to [email protected] and to the Council.

“Thanks again. Together we can get our bus service back on track to bring more frequent and affordable so it’s a public service not an over-priced second rate system.”

First Cymru were contacted for comment but have not responded.

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