Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Growth plan for rural Wales door-to-door bus service

A Bwcabus
Bwcabus is a three-year project which is budgeted at 900,000

New bus services picking up passengers from their front door in rural Wales have been hailed a success, with plans to extend the routes next year.

Bwcabus, which is costing £900,000 over three years, is aimed at people who live off existing routes.

It is running in the Teifi Valley, north Carmarthenshire and south Ceredigion.

More than 4,000 people have used the smaller Bwcabus service since it started in August.

About 500 people have used the larger main route service.

It is now benefitting some communities that haven't had a bus service for 10 years
Prof Stuart Cole, Wales Transport Research Centre

Bwcabus aims to encourage more people to use public transport and reverse the long term decline of rural bus use.

Professor Stuart Cole, of the Wales Transport Research Centre at the University of Glamorgan, devised Bwcabus for the Welsh Assembly Government.

He said additional routes would be added to it next year.

'Best possible use'

"A combination of frequency and convenience has made Bwcabus a success," said Prof Cole.

"The key was, when we started working on the project, to improve the rural bus service for the same money.

"It is now benefitting some communities that haven't had a bus service for 10 years."

Prof Cole has held talks with a senior civil servant about expanding the project next year.

"We could see additional routes added so that we're getting the best possible use from the vehicles," he added.

"There are plans to convert routes to the Bwcabus between Carmarthen and Lampeter, Carmarthen to Llandovery and Cardigan to St Clears."

People living within the designated area phone a centralised number to book a bus that will stop close to their homes and drop them off at a bus stop on a main route.

In August, officials said the service, available from 0700 to 1900 Monday to Saturday, was the first of its kind in Wales.

Money from Carmarthenshire council, Ceredigion council and the Welsh European Funding Office is paying for the scheme.

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