A NEW bus service is to be launched in the Teifi Valley in a bid to improve public transport in rural areas.

Carmarthenshire County Council is to launch Bws Bach y Wlad bus as a response to the discontinuation of the Bwcabus service, which ceased operations due to a lack of Government funding, leaving parts of North Carmarthenshire with a void in its transportation services.

The Bws Bach y Wlad, designed as a village hopper style service, will launch on 29 April and is set to benefit rural residents by providing them with increased opportunities for convenient and affordable travel.

Operating as a pilot operation for 9 months, five days a week, the service will offer free concessionary travel and discounted rates for young people, making it more accessible to a wider range of community members.

The project secured vital funding from the UK Government UK Shared Prosperity Fund, showcasing Carmarthenshire County Council's commitment to addressing transportation challenges in rural communities.

The primary goal of the initiative is to connect rural residents to locations where economic opportunities exist, fostering growth and development in the region. The service will also play a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by local residents in accessing essential services such as healthcare and shopping.

Focusing initially on the surrounding areas of Pencader, Llandysul, Llanybydder and Newcastle Emlyn, as identified in the Council's 'Moving Rural Carmarthenshire Forward' report, the project aims to support the delivery of Carmarthenshire County Council’s broader 'Hwb Bach y Wlad' service. The Council recognises the shrinking of scheduled services in these areas and is committed to ensuring that residents have reliable and convenient transportation options.

To avoid duplication and optimise the overall network, the project team will collaborate closely with Community Transport providers, Dolen Teifi and Preseli Green Dragon.

This strategic partnership aims to ensure that future services complement the intended network, offering a seamless and integrated transportation solution for the benefit of the entire community.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We are excited to launch the Bws Bach y Wlad bus service, a crucial step towards addressing the transportation needs of our rural communities. Carmarthenshire County Council is proud to have successfully secured funding for this fantastic 9-month pilot operation.

This initiative aligns with our commitment to providing reliable and convenient transportation options, fostering economic development, and enhancing the overall quality of life for our residents."