Great news. You can catch a bus in Ceredigion today!
So what? you might think. Today however is August 3rd 2014, a Sunday. Since December last year, Ceredigion has (I believe) been completely devoid of bus services on Sundays. If you wanted to cross the county by public transport, your only options were the 701 coach (Aberystwyth to Cardiff) or the county’s rail link (Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury – Birmingham).
The new TrawsCymru T1 timetable, starting today, however includes Sunday journeys. So, Sunday buses have made a (very limited) come back. The Sunday timetable, just four trips each way, is rather scant compared to the hourly service that will operate the rest of the week, but it’s a start.
Less positive is the T1’s page on the TrawsCymru website. This claims that:
The TrawsCymru T1 service is your direct link between Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen offering high quality, environmentally friendly travel and value for money fares.
It is the “direct link” statement that I call into question. The T1 replaces the 40/40c and, as such, follows the same indirect route. Actually, to be honest it isn’t quite the same route. The T1 is actually two routes, largely the same but with alternate trips serving some of the villages which were not served by the 40/40c. Anyway, Aberaeron and Pencader are still served, meaning it isn’t a direct route and still takes well over 2hrs end-to-end. The page also claims Better connections with rail services at Carmarthen and Aberystwyth Rail Stations. I don’t know about Carmarthen, but the times at Aberystwyth are the same as the 40 service it replaces and, as I’ve said before, it isn’t really possible to make it connect with trains at Aberystwyth anyway.
Invitations To Tender (ITT) have been issued for two further new TrawsCymru routes, the T2 (Aberystwyth-Bangor) and T3 (Wrexham-Barmouth) and these also include a Sunday service. Perhaps then, things are looking up for a 7-day bus network, but apart from that the TrawsCymru brand is looking a bit weak.
EDIT 11th August 2014: added photograph