TrawsCymru, the long distance bus service in Wales, celebrates its next chapter – fittingly during national Catch the Bus Week - thanks to £2.1m in Welsh Government funding.
The grant allowed Powys County Council, who ran the tender that saw Stagecoach win the seven-year contract, to buy 12 new, low-floor buses, fitted to full TrawsCymru specification. Powered by the latest generation of Euro 6 engines, the buses are energy efficient and omit very little pollution.
When purchasing the new vehicles, passengers’ views were taken into consideration. As such the new vehicles will be equipped with additional luggage racks, USB charging on seat backs and complementary WiFi. They will start their journeys this month, on the key T4 and T14 services linking Newtown and Hereford/Hay-on-Wye with Brecon, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Minister, Lee Waters said: “It is great to celebrate a Welsh good news story during UK ‘Catch the Bus Week’ - a national celebration of bus travel. The TrawsCymru network is a good news story, demonstrating what can be achieved to grow passenger numbers whilst enhancing accessibility for rural communities.
Continuing to be the backbone of the integrated transport network across Wales, TrawsCymru is constantly evolving to offer ever better services. The last twelve months have been very successful for TrawsCymru. Thanks in part to our decision to offer weekend free travel, passenger numbers grew by 45% across the network in 2018-19 to a record 2.5 million passenger journeys. This compares to 823,000 passenger journeys in 2013/14 the year that we asked the Bevan Foundation to provide a blueprint to develop the network.
The T4 and T14 routes carried in excess of half a million passenger journeys in 2018-19 and the delivery of these two key services have safeguarded over 40 jobs at Stagecoach’s depots in south and mid Wales.”
Cllr Aled Davies, Powys County Council’s Deputy leader and Cabinet Member for Public Transport, said: “We’re really proud to have successfully managed the procurement and delivery contracts for the T4 service over the past 10 years and are extremely pleased with the growth in passengers. This has been possible thanks to the strong relationship we have with the Welsh Government, who have provided significant capital infrastructure investment along the route, including new waiting facilities and real-time information systems.
We look forward to continuing our very successful relationship with the Welsh Government to maximise passenger growth on the new T14 corridor and welcome their investment in the T12 and T6 corridors.”
Nigel Winter, Managing Director, Stagecoach in South Wales said: "We have joined with our partners at Welsh Government, Powys County Council and the TrawsCymru board to celebrate the introduction into service of 12 brand new Volvo B8 MCV bodied buses for TrawsCymru services T4 and T14.
Working with our partners we developed improvements to the services timetables with more journeys, and new connections from September 2018, with lower fares on some sections of commercial route.
The new buses launched by the Deputy Minister will see a step change in greener more environmentally friendly bus travel with Volvo B8 euro 6 low emission buses.
Our customers may look forward to greater comfort and access to free Wi-Fi, usb charging, with our dedicated team of drivers delivering the T4 and T14 services for all our customers on behalf of TrawsCymru"
The TrawsCymru T4 and T14 routes are important parts of the Welsh Government funded TrawsCymru bus network across Wales.
Last year over half a million passengers used this key route. This success is a testament to the strong delivery partnership that has been assembled involving Welsh Government, Powys County Council, Stagecoach buses in south Wales, Rhonda Cynon Taff Council, Traveline Cymru, Bus Uses Cymru and Cardiff City Council.
The contract for the TrawsCymru T4 and T14 routes are let and managed by Powys County Council on behalf of the Welsh Government. A wider delivery group meets regularly to oversee the wider delivery of the services with representatives made up from Welsh Government, Powys County Council, Cardiff City Council, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council, Merthyr Tydfil Council, Bus Users Cymru, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Traveline Cymru. With the recent extension of the T14 service into Hereford the partnership has been joined by officers from Herefordshire County Council.
Powys County Council re-tendered the TrawsCymru T4 Newtown to Cardiff route last summer, and awarded a new contract to Stagecoach to provide a better service on this key route for a further 7 years. The new contract provides for a range of service improvements which include a new combined hourly T4 and T14 service linking Brecon to Cardiff via Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypridd.