Ceredigion bus services saved by the Welsh government

Aberystwyth bus station - Tomos Nolan

Aberystwyth bus station – Tomos Nolan

FOLLOWING the shock announcement by Arriva that they would cancel many Ceredigion bus routes, the Welsh government has announced funding to replace some of these routes from the 22nd December. The routes which will now be funded by the Welsh government are the Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen, and Aberystwyth – Aberaeron – Cardigan services.

Funding of up to £81,000 has been agreed for the 2013-14 year, and the same again for 2014-15. Arriva’s cuts would have left 46 jobs under threat. The bus routes facing cancellation were 20, 40, 40C, 50, 585 and X94.

Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Assets, Transport and Carbon Management, said that:

“The 40 and 50 services have previously been commercial routes not funded by the Council and it was very difficult to see how we could have found the kind of money necessary to subsidise them when the Council has just learnt that it must save £9.5 million in the next financial year. Behind the scenes the Council has therefore been working very hard in the last few weeks to make the case for Welsh Government funding for these services that are absolutely vital for local people and to the Ceredigion economy. We are very grateful to the Transport Minister, Edwina Hart for making this funding available and for announcing that in future the routes will be regarded as nationally strategic.”

Ioan Rhys Evans, President of the Students’ Union, has previously warned of the bedlam which the bus cuts would cause, and stated that “it would have a massively detrimental effect on student life in Aberystwyth.” He said many students without cars would face a five hour train journey to reach areas such as Swansea.

Evans also added “if you don’t have a car then the bus was the easier solution. We obviously feel for the staff who are losing their jobs and it’s a massive loss to the community. It’s going to be bedlam getting down to South Wales.”