Welsh government cuts lead to bus depot closure and service reductions

Welsh Government cuts have led to the closure of Brynmawr depot and a number of service reductions, says Stagecoach in South Wales. .

It comes just months after Arriva Buses Wales and Cardiff Bus announced service reductions and the closure of Arriva’s Aberystwyth depot.

In 2013 the Welsh Government slashed bus service support by 25%, leaving those who rely on the bus at risk of losing vital services and seeing fares rise. In addition, due to budget reductions, there has been a significant reduction in bus service investment by local authorities.

Last month, the Transport Minister announced plans for a 24m cut to the concessionary travel reimbursement scheme, which operators warned will have a further devastating impact on passengers and employees.

Stagecoach is likely to mount a legal challenge unless ministers reverse the decision.

As a result of the cuts, Stagecoach is to close its Brynmawr depot from July. The company is consulting with trade unions over the impact on jobs.

In addition, Stagecoach has been “left with no choice” but to make a number of service reductions across its network from 20 July, including in Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Stagecoach is the biggest bus operator in Wales, running 400 vehicles with 900 staff at seven depots. Its services carry 27m passengers a year.

Stagecoach in South Wales MD John Gould says: “These measures are an absolute last resort and it is with deep regret that we have had to take these decisions. We have warned the Welsh Government for months that these misguided cuts would impact severely on people who rely on the bus and on staff. They have not listened and now sadly local people will feel the effects of their decisions.

“Ministers’ actions are now directly responsible for potential job losses and placing entire areas at risk of being cut off from buses. We will keep fighting for the rights of passengers in Wales but it is impossible to continue delivering the same level of services when we are seeing cut after cut in investment.

“The result is that some of our routes are not sustainable and we have to act to ensure we can continue to deliver services across the rest of our network over the long-term.

“In the current economic climate the Welsh Government should be supporting public transport, which many people use to access jobs, education, health and leisure facilities. Instead, they have pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of passengers and bus employees.”