This week, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd Sioned Williams urged the Labour Government in Wales to reverse plans to introduce cuts to bus services.
Speaking during a Senedd debate yesterday, the Plaid MS for South Wales West spoke about how crucial bus services are, and called on the Labour Government to extend bus emergency scheme funding for at least 18 months to provide longer-term financial security to bus operators across Wales.
The scheme, introduced by the Welsh Government during the pandemic, has been extended for a further three months - but Plaid Cymru have pointed out that this offers little certainty to bus operators to maintain key services and routes in their area in the long-term.
Sioned Williams said:
"In the Swansea valley where I live, there are no trains—none. The same is true for the neighbouring Dulais valley, the Neath valley and the Afan valley. And although there are some great cycle paths, the geography and terrain of these valleys make active travel more challenging than in other urban areas of Wales.
"One 37-year-old woman told me that she relies completely on bus services. She used to use the bus to go to work every day: one bus from her village in the Neath valley into Neath and then one from Neath to her place of work just outside Port Talbot. But frequent delays resulted in her missing her connection, getting to work late. She no longer works there. Recent bus cuts and reduced Valleys services have meant that if she'd still been employed there, a journey that already took over an hour would now take even longer, if the bus turns up at all. As she is currently seeking employment, she says she has to take current levels of service into account when considering opportunities, which limits the jobs she can apply for.
"People in these communities are feeling forgotten about, devalued and anxious. They don't understand why there are shiny new buses and trains in some areas, constant talk of a greener, cleaner Wales in this place, when the communities they are living in are being left behind."