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Rural Bwcabus service axed as Welsh Government pulls funding

21 Sep 2023 3 minute read
The fflecsi Bwcabus service. Photo TfW

The fflecsi Bwcabus service, which serves rural residents in north Carmarthenshire, south Ceredigion and parts of Pembrokeshire, will stop running next month after its funding was cut.

The news comes after the Welsh Government confirmed that it would not be able to contribute to the scheme following the ending of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) Grant that had been supporting the service until the end of June this year.

Since RDP funding came to an end the Welsh Government had been fully funding the service.

Discussions over the future of the scheme have been taking place over the last 18 months between officers from Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils and officials from the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales.

The Welsh Government secured new buses for these services as recently as July 2023.

The fflecsi Bwcabus (previously Bwcabus) has been operating for 14 years providing public transport in some of the most rural areas of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Councillor Keith Henson Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management said “This service operates in the Ward I represent so I know how this will affect people.

“While we welcome the ambition and aspiration the Welsh Government has set out in its Transport Plan, Llwybr Newydd, in rural areas, as we are unfortunately seeing a loss or reduction of service because the investment simply isn’t there at the required levels to maintain services such as this.

“We will continue in our lobbying of the Welsh Government to ensure that rural areas get a fair slice of the cake, and that the challenges associated with accessing public transport in rural areas are recognised and that Welsh Government guarantee that sufficient resources and funding is provided to ensure that they are met”.

Disappointed

Councillor Edward Thomas, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services added: “I’m extremely sad and disappointed at the loss of a great service that should be receiving continued support.

“The service offered a level of travel opportunity by bus that could not be met by other means. The rural nature of the areas served with a low population density means that there isn’t the critical mass of people wanting to travel at the same time to the same places which means traditional bus services just don’t work. Unfortunately, it now seems that this innovative approach which aligns with the vision within Llwybr Newydd isn’t sustainable either.

“I would like to thank all the staff and operators involved with providing the service for over 14 years. I can only sympathise with them and the passengers who will be affected by this and can promise them that, working with the key stakeholders most notably the Welsh Government, we will continue in our endeavours to find workable affordable solutions to those affected”.

Councillor Rhys Sinnett Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services said “We are saddened to see the loss of this service, and are concerned about the impact this will have on the rural north east of Pembrokeshire. We will support our neighbouring colleagues in pressing the Welsh Government to support bus service provision in this area, and also look at what workable solutions there may be for this provision”.

The fflecsi Bwcabus has been an innovative and national award-winning service which offered a level of travel opportunities both to local centres and as a means of accessing other bus services, most notably the TrawsCymru, at key hubs.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Will there be an exodus of school leavers in search of a sustainable future leaving the elders to rural isolation. A way of life attacked from all sides, so much for Drakeford and Waters’ vision of Cymru…

While the Russians future targeting of North Wales goes up in importance and all those both home and abroad who stand to profit rub their hands. Even if not one fire brick is laid a whole new generation of planners and consultants will reap the only benefits for a decade and more…

JimJam
JimJam
5 months ago

Ridiculous. This government is determined to bring this country to its knees – trying to force the motorist out of the car on to public transport, and cutting a large number of services/routes/timetables of said public transport.

Janice Holden
Janice Holden
5 months ago
Reply to  JimJam

Walking and cycling are the preferred means of transport for the people (aka peasants) according to the government. Public transport is third in the list. This bus service had now gone and I’ve noticed that the T5 service, once an hourly service, is now moving towards a two hourly one. The summer Sunday service on this route is finishing and an evening service never got off the ground! We can now plainly see that its serving entirely as a workers service bus. Young people haven’t ever been able to get back home by bus from any kind of a full… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
5 months ago

Meanwhile, back at the asylum, we’re being aggressively forced out of our private cars – for why? So we can be good little children and swallow our nice Green medicine, which will make us want to travel on the wonderful invisible buses of Wild Wales. Trippy, man!

Janice Holden
Janice Holden
5 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

So when the 15 minute cities are available to herd us into we’ll not kick up too much of a fuss!

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
5 months ago

Its National Bus Month! Travel by bus! Lee Waters the Transport Minister is a blithering idiot of the first order. .Bwc abus is a gimick and no substitute for a proper bus service. It was a total failure in the City of Newport as well.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

It may be a poor service but the only service available for some people in that part of the country so often ignored by the smart set down the Bay. Old ladies and low income folk without cars will have to get on their bikes or survive in isolation. Should condition them nicely for the eventual movement of rural populations into those 15 minute urban concentration camps so favoured among those who know what’s best for us.  And all that space cleared of people will be freed up for another load of chancers and spivs to come rolling in with their… Read more »

Charles
Charles
4 months ago

South Wales bets a new train service plus all the valley metro stuff. Meanwhile rural Wales loses a bus route.!

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago

Seems like the Bay regime is declaring war by a thousand cuts on rural communities. Plaid, the Party of Wales, remains silent. Wake up and withdraw support. Stop the rot before it gets so bad Tories will get their wish and shut the thing down.

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