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First Cymru

Further cuts to First Cymru bus services due to ongoing driver shortage

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Bus operator First Cymru has announced another raft of cuts to their services in Swansea and Llanelli due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.

The move follows earlier cuts to services in Swansea, Carmarthen and Neath Port Talbot in September.

At the time a spokesperson for the bus company said 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.

Bus drivers are also reportedly leaving in droves for higher paying HGV jobs as the nationwide lorry driver shortage continues.

The latest round of changes sees cuts to services in Townhill, Mumbles, Blaen-y-Maes, Bonymaen and Morriston. Routes in Llanelli town centre are also affected. Some routes are also being transferred to other operators.

Swansea Bus Station

All the changes to First Cymru Services from 24 October

In Llanelli, the L1 and L2 services to Swiss Valley will reduce in frequency to every 2 hours

The Llanelli to Pontarddulais L3 service will now operate every 90 minutes.

Swansea to Newton service 2 will now be hourly, rather than its current 30 minute frequency. Existing hourly services 2B and 2C will allow a 20 minute frequency between Swansea and Oystermouth to be retained, although the times will change.

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Townhill circular services 12 and 13 will reduce to operate every 20 minutes, with one service 13 and two service 12’s an hour. With service 11 there will be a 10 minute frequency between Penygraig Shops and Swansea City Centre.

Swansea to Pennard service 14 will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Adventure Travel, who currently operate evening and weekend services on this route will now also run weekday services on the current timetable.

Service 20 between Swansea and Derlwyn will reduce frequency to every 30 minutes. Service 20A and 21A will maintain a 20 minute service between Swansea and Killay, but the times will change.

The Swansea to Morriston Hospital service 24 which routes through Brynhyfryd and Caemawr will no longer be operated by First Cymru. Buses will instead be operated by Adventure Travel.

Service 25 from Swansea to Blaen-y-maes will reduce in frequency from every 15 minutes to every 20 minutes from Mondays to Saturdays.

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Timetables will change for Swansea to Tycoch services 29 and 39 as a result of interworking services.

Bonymaen and Trallwn will see changes with service 33 being reduced from every 30 minutes to hourly. Services 31 and 32 will maintain a 20 minute service between Swansea and Bonymaen / Trallwn, but the times will change.

Swansea to Morriston service 36 will reduce from every 15 to every 20 minutes from Monday to Friday.

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Armed Forces

Bus operator First Cymru announces free Remembrance Sunday travel for armed forces personnel, cadets and veterans

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Bus operator First Cymru is offering free travel across its entire network in Wales including Park & Ride and Metro bus services on Remembrance Sunday, 14th November, to serving Armed Forces personnel, cadets and veterans so they can attend commemorative events.

To claim free travel, all current and former military personnel need to wear their uniform or medals, or show their military ID card.

Jane Reakes-Davies, Managing Director of First Cymru Buses Ltd., said: “Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are important occasions for many people who want to remember family, friends and others who have been lost in wars, both servicemen and women and civilians.

“Commemorative events were cancelled due to Covid-19 last year but this year, we will once again we will be showing our respect on Remembrance Sunday by letting veterans in uniform or with ID, along with serving personnel, travel free on our buses.

“With this offer we want to make it as easy as possible for current and former serving personnel to attend special events taking place across South and West Wales on Remembrance Sunday, 14th November.

“Many of our employees, from drivers to engineers and office staff, have served in the military or have friends and family members who are former or active members of the Armed Forces, so this time of year is particularly poignant across our sites. Our drivers may also pull over to honour the two-minute silence at 11am on Remembrance Day on 11th November.”

First Cymru holds its own commemorative service on Remembrance Day at several of its depots in Wales, remembering those who put themselves in harm’s way during their daily work, including those who have died of Covid-19.

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First Cymru

Going to Mumbles or Porthcawl beach? Catch a First Cymru open-top bus this summer!

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Bus operator First Cymru has released a sneak preview on its social media channels of one of its new open-top double deckers in a beach-themed “Cymru Coaster” network branding.

Starting Saturday 29th May, open-top vehicles will operate two brand-new hop-on, hop-off services: Between Swansea bus station and Mumbles, and along the Porthcawl sea front in Bridgend between Trecco Bay and Rest Bay.  

Bus operator First Cymru hailed the start of the leisure services an exciting new chapter for its South Wales business and a boost for the local tourism.

Jane Reakes-Davies, Managing Director for First Cymru said: “It is an exciting time for everyone at First as we launch these new leisure services. The pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone, but preparing these exciting Cymru Coasters leisure services has given us something extra positive to look forward to.

“Now that restrictions are being eased and many people opting to holiday in the UK this Summer, these open-top routes will give many people an new opportunity to venture out and experience the Swansea Bay and Porthcawl coastline from a different perspective, and with beautiful views and plenty of ventilation on the top deck. The services will also attract day visitors to the area and provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.”

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Cymru Coaster Service 1 to Mumbles will run hourly during daytime 7 days a week, taking customers from Swansea Bus Station to Bracelet Bay via the Marina, The Slip, Blackpill (Lido) and Oystermouth Square.

The Porthcawl Cymru Coaster Service 99, in partnership with Visit Bridgend, will operate hourly during daytime from Trecco Bay Holiday Park to Rest Bay, 7 days a week during school holidays and Thursdays to Mondays during term time.

Both Cymru Coaster open-top services will operate from April until end of September. Cymru Coaster day tickets are available on the bus and give unlimited use on the services for 24 hours, costing £5 for adults, £3.30 for mytravelpass holders and children (5-15 years old). A group ticket, which allows a group of 5 people to travel together, costs £15. More information about fares, routes and timetable can be found on First Cymru’s website.

Jane added: “Building our leisure portfolio is something we see as part of a larger plan moving forward for the business. We hope our customers like using these two services so we can introduce more open-top services in other parts of our network. We would also like to remind everyone that wearing a facemask during bus journeys remains a legal requirement, children under the age of 11 and people with certain conditions are exempt from wearing a facemask.”

(Lead image: First Cymru)

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