MORE than 800 people have signed a petition calling for the Fflecsi Bwcabus service to continue after the news that it will come to an end at the end of October.

The service provides vital transport for some of the most rural communities in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, which has led to concern from residents – some of whom use it as their only way to get to medical appointments, go shopping or to socialise.

Cefin Campbell, MS for Mid and West Wales, is calling for reinstatement of the service’s funding which has been withdrawn after losing the EU-funded Rural Development Programme following Brexit, and a lack of funding for the Welsh Government to continue to fund it.

Mr Campbell said: “Communities across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been shocked by the announcement that Government funding for the Bwcabus service is coming to an end, and that the service itself will be terminated at the end of October.

“For years, this unique service has been a priceless resource for so many residents across west Wales. Truth be told, the service is more than a bus; in several cases, this is the only way that people can reach medical appointments, can go to the shops and socialise.

“The irony is that we hear the Government speaking time and time again about the importance of public transport to connect communities and the positive impact that that then has on the environment. But what happens is that these vital services are being cut, especially in rural areas. So, may I urge you to work hard to ensure that this service is re-established and to provide long-term assurance for this very important scheme.”

Adam Price, MS for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said: “It’s extremely disappointing to hear the announcement that the Bwcabus service will come to an end. Whilst passenger numbers may seem low on paper, it’s value to so many residents and rural communities cannot be understated.

“It seems paradoxical that at a time when Welsh Government are encouraging residents to use public transport and decrease their reliance on private transport, funding for this valued rural service is cut. It’s vital Welsh Government review this decision with haste and look at what support can be provided to those likely to be affected by the terminating of the service.”

Samuel Kurtz, MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, spoke in the Senedd about the impact. He said: “A constituent of mine, Mr Davies, gives lifts to neighbours to shops etc, and I’m sure we can all agree that this is a kind gesture, but it’s not available to everyone.

“The Bwcabus is for the most vulnerable residents. Welsh Government has known the RDP funding was coming to an end so why is the service being terminated with only a month’s notice, and why are the rural communities suffering while Cardiff gets what it wants.”

Lee Waters, deputy minister for transport, responded that the service – which he was a supporter of – was run by the local authorities and not the Welsh Government, and stated that they have been clear for some time that there were no resources to keep it going.

“Resources from the EU have come to an end as a result of Brexit and that’s a direct consequence of that. Those who advocated for Brexit made promises to Wales and need to explain why that money hasn’t been replaced.”