“Our public transport system is being cut to the bone,” says a local Senedd Member.

Adam Price, MS for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, made the comments following the announcement that First Cymru has reduced and cancelled a number of services across Carmarthenshire due to a lack of funding.

The changes – alongside the withdrawal of the Bwcabus service – have come after the Welsh Government announced changes to the way it funds local bus services. During the covid pandemic, the Welsh Government launched the Bus Emergency Scheme (BES), but when deputy minister for climate change, Lee Waters, announced that the Bus Transition Fund (BTS) will replace the BES, and with passenger numbers lower than pre-covid levels, there is a gap in the funds available.

First Cymru stated that the BTF funding does not come to the same amount as the BES provided and therefore, due to the gap between passenger revenue and the cost of operating services, it has made a number of changes to its west Wales services.

From October 29, the X28 between Tycroes Depot and Llanelli Bus Station (via Hendy and Parc Trostre) and the X29 between Tycroes and Carmarthen (via Cross Hands) will both be withdrawn.

Also from the same date, the 56 between Pontardawe and Neath will only run on a Sunday and public holidays, cancelling its Monday to Saturday service. The 16, 349, L1, L2, X6, X11 and X13 services (with the X13 affecting Ammanford, Ffairfach, Llandeilo, Llandybie, Tycroes, Llanedi and Pontarddulais and the X6 affecting Ystradgynlais, Pontardawe and Ystalyfera residents and visits to Glanrhyd Hospital. The reduction of the 16 service will affect Pontarddulais residents).

This comes just weeks after it was announced that the Bwcabus service will no longer be funded and will be stopping on October 31.

Mr Price said: “This is yet another blow to public transport in Carmarthenshire. Just over three weeks ago we received news that the Bwcabus scheme was ending, and now a number of bus routes are being cut completely or operating on a reduced basis.

“Our public transport system is being cut to the bone whilst we are trying to become a net zero nation. It is vital more than ever that we encourage communities to use public transport, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to access basic bus services in many parts of Carmarthenshire.

“I fully understand the budgetary pressures on the Welsh Government, but the current situation is dire and I will be calling on the Welsh Government to do whatever possible to improve both the frequency and quality of bus services across the county.”

Doug Claringbold, First Cymru’s managing director, said: “Unfortunately, making changes to our bus network in [this] area was inevitable when the government announced lower levels of funding, which is essential given the significant, ongoing drop in passenger numbers.

“But we have done as much as we can to minimise disruption to our passengers and save services where funding allows.”