First Cymru has announced the following service changes for the working week from Monday 23 March to ensure it sustains services for those needing to travel across the region.
From Monday 23 March, for one week only:
- Swansea services will switch to a Saturday timetable during weekdays. This does not apply to Services 15 and 30 which will continue to operate their normal Mondays to Fridays timetable
- Swansea (University) Services 10 and 9 will be suspended until further notice
- All other depots (Port Talbot, Bridgend, Maesteg, Ammanford, Llanelli, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest) will operate a school holiday service
The changes are temporary, for one week only, as the operator prepares a roll-out of service changes across its network which will come into effect on Sunday 29 March.
The announcement comes as the Government has advised against non-essential travel and contact as it introduces new measures to deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases.
The bus operator is committed to continuing services wherever possible so that those who need to make essential journeys, like health service and emergency workers, can continue to do so.
Recent days have seen bus passenger numbers continue to reduce as people choose to stay at home or walk and cycle to their destinations.
This is reflected across the transport sector worldwide, including commercial aviation, rail and tourism, all of which have had to review and reduce their operations in view of the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak.
First has informed the Local Traffic Commissioner and local stakeholders about these changes.
Jane Reakes Davies, Acting Managing Director of First Cymru, said: “The Government has made it clear that it now wants people, wherever possible, to work from home and avoid any non-essential travel and contact.
“The number of people travelling has reduced significantly and is continuing to diminish, making this an extremely dynamic situation which is changing day-to-day, hour-by-hour.
“To help our customers and give them clarity, we are today announcing these service changes but stress these are for next week only, with further service changes coming into effect on Sunday 29 March. These changes are subject to a further announcement.
“It’s important to emphasise that this is a fast-moving and unprecedented challenge. We are monitoring new developments as they happen and will respond accordingly to keep all our customers informed of any further changes.
She added: “This is not a decision we take lightly. However, with more and more people choosing or being directed to stay at home, this is the most sensible approach to ensure services continue running and are as close to ‘business as usual’ as we can possibly make them.
“In addition, we are working closely with our trade union leaders and will do everything possible to deploy staff across our operations with a view to minimising the impacts for everybody. I would like to thank our staff for their support and our loyal customers for their understanding; they can be assured we will endeavour to keep services running through this unprecedented time of uncertainty.”
Given the nature of the situation it will be difficult to keep all our communication channels updated with the latest information. The service information in the First Bus app for example, will not reflect updated timetables or live bus times, so customers are advised to refer to the First Cymru website for the most up-to-date service information, travel advice and information about Coronavirus.