Aberystwyth coach owner's free weekend bus travel concerns

A bus on the TrawsCymru route Image copyright Welsh Government
Image caption The TrawsCymru network carried 1.6 million passengers in 2016-17

A coach hire boss has raised concerns over a Welsh Government-funded free weekend bus pilot scheme.

Mel Evans, who runs Mid Wales Travel in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, said there was not enough detail about how firms like his would be compensated.

Announcing the plan, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said other bus operators would be reimbursed if their passenger numbers fell as a result.

But Mr Evans said there could be issues calculating the right amount.

"It's going to be interesting to find out how much, or how, they're going to work it out - if you work it out from a month ago and in a month's time when the [school] holidays start, there's going to be a big difference in the amount of people," he added.

Image caption Mel Evans said three of the free TrawsCymru services come through Aberystwyth

The scheme, allowing free weekend travel to passengers across Wales, covers buses using the TrawsCymru network.

It began on Saturday and will run every weekend until May 2018, with up to £1m set aside to cover the costs.

The Welsh Government said it would act as a "catalyst for bus travel in Wales" and boost passenger numbers.

But Mr Evans said: "If passengers can get their service for free through one of these T routes, they're not going to put their hands in their pockets."

Image copyright Welsh Government

The pilot applies to all buses on the TrawsCymru network:

  • TrawsCymru T1 Aberystwyth - Lampeter - Carmarthen (operates seven days per week)
  • TrawsCymru T1C Aberystwyth - Lampeter - Carmarthen - Swansea - Cardiff (daily except Sundays)
  • TrawsCymru T2 Bangor - Porthmadog - Dolgellau - Aberystwyth (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T3 Wrexham - Llangollen - Dolgellau - Barmouth (operates daily
  • TrawsCymru T4 Newtown - Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil - Pontypridd - Cardiff (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T5 Aberystwyth - New Quay - Cardigan - Fishguard - Haverfordwest (operates daily - Sundays during summer only)
  • TrawsCymru T6 Brecon - Ystradgynlais - Neath - Swansea (operates daily)
  • Cardiff Airport Express T9 services (operates throughout the day - seven days a week)

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