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Neath Port Talbot Council expresses concern over widespread bus service changes

Bus services in Neath Port Talbot will be reduced at the end of October with one being completely withdrawn on weekdays as the council and bus operators get to grips with a fall in Welsh Government funding and lower passenger numbers.

There are warnings that April 2024 could see many further reductions here and across Wales as subsidies dry up.

Welsh Government’s Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) which supported the bus industry through the Covid pandemic has now been replaced by the Bus Transition Fund (BTF) with its budget capped at £46m for the 2023/2024 financial year.

The funding, with £4m of it dedicated to the Traws Cymru Network, is allocated directly to bus operators across Wales’s 22 local authorities.

First Cymru says as a result, its reduced budget has forced it to announce cuts and changes in local bus services coming into force on October 29th, 2023.

Examples include:

  • Service 56 Neath to Pontardawe (via Rhos) being withdrawn during the week and only operating on Sundays.
  • Service 81 Port Talbot to Brynbryddan being cut from hourly to two hourly.
  • A number of First Cymru routes will also have Sunday services cut altogether and there will be changes to college buses and some service cuts will also make it difficult for passengers to get to work,
  • Service 82 Port Talbot to Golden Avenue – reduced from hourly to two hourly and will operate from 8.30am to 16.49pm instead of 7.30am – 19.19pm
  • Service 87 will operate every 30 minutes instead of 20 minutes Monday to Friday and Sunday journeys will be withdrawn.

Follow this link http://www.firstbus.co.uk/cymru  for a full list of the First Cymru service changes in this area.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Transport and Connectivity, Cllr Wyndham Griffiths, said: “We will continue lobbying the Welsh Government to increase funding for our bus services and provide transport for those who use buses regularly and those who without access to private cars.

“One of the most immediate concerns is the impact on employment opportunities. With reduced bus services many residents are facing substantial hurdles in accessing their places of work and this situation threatens not only the financial stability of people and their families but the economic prosperity of the region as a whole.

“We accept these are difficult financial times but we urge the Welsh Government to reconsider its allocation so public transportation here and across Wales can be accessible, reliable and viable.”