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.
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.
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.
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.
Open top bus services return in June – including two new routes
Regional bus operator First Cymru are launching their open top services once again this June.
Two new open-top bus routes in Tenby and Aberavon are joining the company’s existing Mumbles and Porthcawl summer services.
Launching on Thursday 2 June, the 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.
Also from Thursday 2 June, the Porthcawl Cymru Coaster Service 99, in partnership with Visit Bridgend and Trecco Bay Holiday Park, will operate hourly during daytime from Trecco Bay Holiday Park to Rest Bay, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sunday and public holidays.
From Monday 6 June, the new Aberavon Coaster, will operate hourly during daytime from Port Talbot bus station all along the Esplanade, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. But it will not operate on any public holidays.
From Thursday 2 June the new Tenby Coaster will operate hourly during daytime from Tenby (South Parade) before heading to Saundersfoot Harbour via Tenby Esplanade and New Hedges. This service operates on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday.
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 starting this Spring Bank Holiday weekend.
“The open-top routes will give many people a new opportunity to have a great day out and experience the Swansea Bay and Porthcawl coastline from a different perspective, with beautiful views on the top deck. The services will also attract day visitors to the area and provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.”
(Lead image: First Cymru)
Timetable changes for some First Cymru bus services
Bus operator First Cymru has announced changes to their timetables for a number of services in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend in April.
Some of the changes reverse cuts made in October due to driver shortages.
All the changes to First Cymru Services from 24 April
Swansea to Newton service 2A will see some evening journey times change at 7.03pm and 7.43pm seeing increased running times towards Oystermouth.
Service 9A from Swansea city centre to the Bay Field Hospital will see a reduction in services and a new timetable due to a decrease in demand for vaccinations at the field hospital.
Swansea to Pontarddulais service 16 sees some changes to morning services. The 8.20am journey from Swansea to Gorseinon will start 10 minutes earlier at 08.10am. The 9:02am service from Gorseinon to Swansea will start at 9:05am and the 9:00am journey from Ponturddulais Bus Station to Swansea will now depart at 8:55am.
Morning journeys on the 21A between Swansea and Three Crosses will change, with increased running time on the 8.55am service from Swansea and the 9.40am return journey from Three Crosses.
Service 25 from Swansea to Blaen-y-Maes, which saw its frequency cut back to every 20 minutes in October, will see services return to running every 15 minutes between 8.55am and 4.25pm from Swansea and from 9.07am and 4.52pm from Blaen-y-Maes.
Service 36 from Swansea to Morriston, which also saw its frequency cut back to every 20 minutes in October, will also see a return to running every 15 minutes between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Swansea, and between 8.44am and 4.14pm from Morriston.
In Neath Port Talbot, service 59 from Neath to Bleangwinfi and service 83 from Port Talbot to Blaengwinfi and Glyncorrwg will see a return to pre-COVID levels of service and both run hourly.
In Bridgend, service 63 from Bridgend to Porthcawl will see the route extended to Talbot Green, providing a direct link between Talbot Green and Porthcawl operating hourly. Service 64 from Bridgend to Talbot Green will be withdrawn, with the route incorporated into service 63.
Service 65 between Bridgend and Talbot Green will see a return to pre-COVID levels of service and run hourly.
Bus operator First Cymru announces free Remembrance Sunday travel for armed forces personnel, cadets and veterans
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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