Free weekend bus travel pilot launched across Wales
A pilot bus service offering free weekend travel to passengers across Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.
It covers buses using the TrawsCymru network across Wales. Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates called it a "ground-breaking" project designed to boost visitors.
It begins on Saturday and will run every weekend until May 2018.
A budget of up to £1m has been set aside for the initiative.
"From Bangor to Cardiff, Fishguard to Wrexham, I hope to see this scheme provide the perfect excuse for people from across Wales and beyond to jump on the bus and spend their weekends enjoying the diverse beauty of Wales," Mr Skates said.
"The free service is subject to availability, but we have also provided additional funding to local authorities to ensure operators are able to deploy more buses to meet increased demand if necessary," Mr Skates added.
Which services are included?
The pilot applies to all buses on the TrawsCymru network:
- TrawsCymru T1 Aberystwyth - Lampeter - Carmarthen (operates seven days per week)
- TrawsCymru T1C Aberystwyth - Lampeter - Carmarthen - Swansea - Cardiff (daily except Sundays)
- TrawsCymru T2 Bangor - Porthmadog - Dolgellau - Aberystwyth (operates daily)
- TrawsCymru T3 Wrexham - Llangollen - Dolgellau - Barmouth (operates daily
- TrawsCymru T4 Newtown - Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil - Pontypridd - Cardiff (operates daily)
- TrawsCymru T5 Aberystwyth - New Quay - Cardigan - Fishguard - Haverfordwest (operates daily - Sundays during summer only)
- TrawsCymru T6 Brecon - Ystradgynlais - Neath - Swansea (operates daily)
- Cardiff Airport Express T9 services (operates throughout the day - seven days a week)
Arrangements are also in place to reimburse operators of other bus services if they experience any reduction of passengers as a result of the pilot, although the Welsh Government is "optimistic" it will have the opposite effect.
It is hoped the scheme will act as a "catalyst for bus travel in Wales", boosting passenger numbers and the wider use of TrawsCymru routes.
The Welsh Government said it would use the pilot to get a better understanding of how such reductions affect wider demand for public transport before deciding on its future beyond May 2018.