Carmarthenshire: 'We need the right to travel' - concerns as west Wales bus services due to end

The Bwcabus service runs across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Credit: Media Wales

There are concerns that thousands of bus users in west Wales will face disruption as a rural bus service stops at the end of the month.

Local councillors have hit out at the plans to end the Bwcabus service, which serves Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Labour group leader, Cllr Rob James, described public transport in Carmarthenshire as "a disgrace", and demanded action.

The Bwcabus service has expanded services since launching in Ceredigion in 2009.

However, it has now been announced that the service will come to an end at the end of October after financial support from the Welsh Government was cut.

The Welsh Government says it cannot continue its financial support for the service because the UK Government has not replaced rural transport funding formerly provided by the European Union.

The Carmarthenshire councillor said: "If we are going to introduce policies like the 20mph which is, let's be honest, trying to force people out of their cars, there needs to be an alternative."

Welsh Government says it cannot continue its financial support for the service.

He added he appreciated that the Welsh Government has said it was facing real-term cuts of £900m in 2023-24.

He also called on all parties to "get together and shout loudly", adding: "We need the right to travel."

Fellow Labour member, Cllr Tina Higgins, said it was hypocritical for councillors to pin all of the blame on Cardiff Bay, and that the council should consider increasing its Bwcabus contribution.

"Can we offer more funding, or are we going to be negative about it?" she said.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "Despite promises that Wales would not be a penny worse off after Brexit, the UK Government has failed to replace funding for rural transport schemes previously supported by EU.

"Unfortunately, we are therefore unable to continue supporting the Bwcabus service.

"We appreciate this will be disappointing news for those who use the service, however, we are working with Transport for Wales, local authorities and the Community Transport Association Cymru to explore alternative options."

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