Bus company First Cymru has announced some major changes to their network, reducing the frequency of services and outsourcing some routes to other operators due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.
A spokesperson told the BBC that despite double the number of drivers it usually recruited, a backlog in applications by the DVLA and the effects of the pandemic meant that it was taking months for licences to come through.
The shortage was due to drivers having to self-isolate, an increase in staff absence and drivers leaving the company to take up HGV jobs elsewhere as the nation-wide HGV driver shortage continues.
A spokesperson for First Cymru said: “We have been actively recruiting staff and doubled our training activity to increase the volume of recruits.”
“We have a strong pipeline but we have experienced considerable delays with licence applications at DVLA and this has had a considerable impact on us.
“PCV [passenger-carrying vehicle] driver shortages are both industry-wide and UK-wide, and as a result we are unable to loan drivers from our colleagues across the UK.”
All the changes to First Cymru Services
From Monday 13 September
Carmarthen services 205, 206 and 215 will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Services will instead be run by local Carmarthen operator, Morris Travel.
From Sunday 19 September
Swansea service 15 to Waunarlwydd and service 30 to Trallwn will no longer be operated by First Cymru. These will be instead run by Neath-based local operator, South Wales Transport.
The X10 express service from Swansea to Cardiff will be suspended. First say that patronage on this service was low and passengers should make journeys on other services or by train.
Service 28 to Penplas and Penlan used to run one service an hour to Penplas, and two per hour to Penlan roundabout. This will be reduced to two buses per hour, although both services will run as far as Penplas. A larger bus will also be allocated to the route to ensure capacity is able to meet demand.
Service 6 to Port Tenant will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly.
Service 4 from Morriston Hospital to the City Centre and Singleton will be reduced to run every 15 minutes from its previous 12 minute frequency.
University service 8 and 10 will not see their usual 24 hour running during University term-time, with services finishing around midnight instead on service 8 and 10pm on service 10.
Swansea to Llanelli services 110 and 111 will see their timetables reduced to every 20 minutes, similar to the current Saturday service.
In Port Talbot, service 81 and 82 will be reduced to operate hourly instead of their current half-hourly frequency.
Service 87 between Neath and Margam will now operate every 30 minutes instead of its current 20 minute frequency.
Bridgend to Porthcawl service 63 will be reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes.
Bridgend services 64 and 65 will now be every 2 hours instead of their usual hourly frequency.
From Sunday 26 September
Swansea to Uplands service 19 and Swansea to Three Crosses service 22 will no longer be operated by First Cymru, with Neath-based local operator South Wales Transport running these routes instead.