Frontline nurse faces spending hundreds of pounds on commute after bus services cut

A frontline nurse from Pontardawe faces paying hundreds of pounds on her commute after bus services were cut to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The nurse, who works at Cefn Coed Hospital, Cockett, said the loss of some early-morning and late-evening services means she faces spending £125 a week on taxis.

The Welsh Government announced last month that NHS staff in Wales willreceive free public transport for the next three months as one of itsmeasures to help tackle the outbreak.

But reduced services mean taxis are the worker's only mode of transport if she is on an early or late shift.

NHS staff are receiving free travel on buses throughout Wales as part new funding from the Welsh Government. Credit: PA Images

The nurse said she feels her bus operator has failed to consider key workers as many hospital staff begin work at 7am.

She said: “I fully understand why First Cymru has cut some of their services under the circumstances.

“But what I am angry and upset about is that they have seen fit to cancel the very services which enable me to get to my place of work.

“First Cymru state on their website that they have revised their timetable with essential workers in mind but this is clearly not the case as nurses and many other hospital employees begin work at 7am.

“I cannot think of anyone that would use the 6am service for fun – it is because they have to."

People across Wales have praised NHS workers during the coronavirus, including a nationwide applause.

“As a nurse I have been greatly heartened lately by the appreciation shown by the public," the nurse added.

“However First Cymru however have delivered nothing except what feelslike a smack in the mouth. The problem also seems to be happening inother areas.

“What is even more galling is that they have declared that NHS workerscan now utilise free travel but if buses are not accommodatingessential shift patterns this is nothing but an empty gesture."

First Cymru usually provides 160 bus services around the roads of Wales.

Pontardawe councillor Linet Purcell said: “I have contacted themanaging director of First Cymru, pleading with him to look at theirrevised timetables and to consider the effect that this is having onthe brave workers who are continuing to do their best to serve thecommunity in this very difficult time."

First Cymru said NHS staff were "front of mind" when deciding which bus services to drop.

It said customers needing public transport after 8pm, when most of its services finish, "should raise it with their employer."

I’d like to pay tribute to the committed NHS staff as well as other key workers, including our own bus drivers, for their commitment, providing essential services in exceptionally challenging circumstances.

Jane Reakes-Davies, Interim Managing Director, First Cymru

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