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17 Apr 2015
Bus operator Stagecoach today (April 17) confirmed the impact on its bus services of drastic cuts in investment by the Welsh Government.
The company has been forced to cut the size of its bus fleet in Wales by 10% and a number of bus services will be discontinued or reduced in frequency from mid-July.
Wales’ biggest bus operator said the biggest impact will be felt in Monmouthshire, with services between Newport, Underwood and Chepstow being withdrawn. Changes will also affect Blaenau Gwent, where the 30 from Brynmawr to Cwmbran is also to be withdrawn.
Stagecoach has been in discussions with representatives from local authorities in the affected areas to give them as much notice as possible of the planned changes to allow them to consider alternatives.
The company is also consulting with trade union representatives over the planned closure of its Brynmawr depot from July. The depot currently employs 77 staff and operates around 30 vehicles.
Confirmation of the service reductions follows years of cuts in government investment in bus services. Ministers’ decisions to cut bus service support by 25% last year, along with reduced bus investment from local authorities, has left Stagecoach with no option but to reduce services and close the depot.
In addition, Welsh Transport Minister Edwina Hart last month announced plans to make a £24million cut to the country’s concessionary travel scheme. Bus operators have warned the move will have a further devastating impact on bus passengers and bus workers. Stagecoach has made clear that it is likely to mount a legal challenge unless ministers change their plans.
John Gould, Managing Director of Stagecoach in South Wales, said: “Make no mistake – ultimate responsibility for the loss of bus services and jobs lies firmly at the door of the Welsh Government following years of cuts to bus investment.
“We deeply regret the impact this will have on our customers and local communities. Instead of protecting and supporting bus travel, ministers’ misguided decisions have dealt a body blow to the country’s public transport network and wider economy. People across Wales have repeatedly warned the government about the consequences of their actions, but sadly they have refused to listen.”
Mr Gould added: “We are continuing to consult trade union representatives on the planned closure of Brynmawr. We hope to retain an outstation at the depot, with fewer staff, and will try to redeploy as many people as possible elsewhere within our South Wales business.”
Stagecoach’s announcement last week came just months after both Arriva Buses Wales and Cardiff Bus announced service reductions as well as the closure of Arriva’s Aberystwyth depot.
The planned cancellations and reductions to Stagecoach services in Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taf, which are due to take effect from 20 July 2014, are detailed below:
Torfaen & Severnside
Torfaen & Severnside