TrawsCambria / TrawsCymru

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by Rhydgaled, 12 Oct 2011.

  1. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    There seems to be a lack of information on the internet regarding details of the planned new TrawsCymru services, specifically their start date, their vehicles and their effects on certain other services. Does anyone know anything?

    The offical website says service TC1 (currently the X40) (Aberystwyth – Aberaeron – Lampeter – Carmarthen) will apparently get 6 new buses (or coaches?) as will the TC4 Newtown – Llandrindod Wells – Builth Wells – Brecon – Merthyr Tydfil (Cardiff) route.

    Now, unlike the X32 and X94 TrawsCambria routes, these two already have wonderfully modern looking (although not to sufficient interior specifications for such long journeys, the X50 ones are better) Optare Tempos. The first of my questions is, what happens to those Tempos when the new vehicles appear? Personally, I hope they get put onto the X94 or X32 routes or used to expand the TrawsCambria network.

    I note that the website does not mention TC1 going to Swansea and Cardiff, suggesting WAG have seen sense (in my opinion) and dropped this part of the service which duplicates the rail network. However a news report from when the new buses were anounced suggests the Aberystwyth - Cardiff journeys will remain. If those journeys do remain, it raises a further concern. Currently, there are 3 X40 journeys beyond Carmarthen, two to Cardiff and one to Swansea. I don't think it is possible for the vehicle used on any of those three trips return trips on a given day to operate any of the others. Since Arriva only have two Aberystwyth - Cardiff branded Tempos (which have leather (or fake leather) seats, power sockets, tables and an extra luggage rack) they therefore have to operate at least one of those three long-distance return trips with a 550 or X40 Aberystwyth - Carmarthen spec. Tempo.

    Similarly, if those three services beyond Carmarthen are retained I think it will be impossible to cover all TC1 services with the 6 new vehicles, whatever they may be (here's hopeing they are not true coaches, with seat belts. Preventing passengers from being able to get up and walk to the doors before the bus stops might cause some delays).

    As for effects on other services, how many fixed timetable routes will be lost to the expanded Bwcabus?
     
  2. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Service X40 does carry a lot of passengers between Carmarthen & Cardiff.

    I personally think there should be coaches used on the longer distance journeys such as Aberystwyth - Cardiff & Llandrindod Wells - Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil/Cardiff.

    The Swansea - Brecon route is supposed to be having a lot of changes made when the contract ends in summer 2012 (expect veolia to close their abercrave depot as well) the route is curretnly using Plaxton centro's which are being hired back from New Adventure travel who bought them from the Ensign bus dealership who bought them from Veolia. These centro's are horrible, hell i had a hard time on 1 working service 116 on the gower so i dont know how anyone can stabnd driving 1 of them from BNrecon down to Swansea.

    I am hoping that stagecoach get service X63, then again there was talk of extending certain trips on service X63 through to Hereford providing some hourly service between Brecon & Hereford, so perhaps First could use drivers from their Swansea & Hereford operations.

    New vehicles are supposed to being ordered as for the tempo's they could be sold or used on other routes
     
  3. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    I assume X40 stays mostly on the dual carriageway between Carmarthen and Swansea, and the M4 between Swansea and Cardiff (does it even stop in Crosshands?). If it is such a service, I agree the Aberystwyth - Swansea/Cardiff route would certainly be better off as a coach service. HOWEVER, if a seat-belt fitted vehicle is used then these three trips should not be part of the normal hourly service between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth, which I seem to remember from my journey on it is similar to my fairly regular travels on X50 and 412, with passengers able to get on and off pretty much anywhere. That sort of service needs a propper service bus. As I said though, a coach might be good for the three Cardiff/Swansea - Aberystwyth trips if those runs are made into a propper limited-stop service with decent dwell times at each stop. In my eyes, the coach service would be TrawsCymru (as would 175 and LHCS operated rail services), while the services remaining with Tempos would stay as TrawsCambria.

    Who actually owns them? Since most of them carry WAG branding, I guess WAG had at least some part to play in funding them so I'd be a bit annoyed if Arriva cart them off to a non-TrawsCambria service, rather than the Tempos being used to upgrade the vehicles on X32 or X94, add a new route or improve the service frequency of, or extend, the X50 route. The three First X40 buses have found their way to Richards Bros and Arriva (one of which is now deceased I think) so that also points to them being WAG or Ceredigion County Council owned.

    ------------------------------------------------

    I thought the X40 was safe from timetable changes until the new vehicles and TC1 arrived with the new 6 am to 8 pm hourly service. It appears I was wrong, Arriva (who according to one passenger today was fined last time they changed the X40 timetable and broke almost half its connections, since they didn't tell Richards Bros) have just changed it. On the plus side the service is more clockface, but it can't be the TC1 timetable since the 17:20 is still the last bus from Aberystwyth that goes through to Carmarthen. Unfortunatly, they again did not tell Richards Bros, with the result that some connections are now missed and others have increased to a half-an-hour wait, adding roughly 25mins to my jouney this morning. Since there is no waiting room in Aberaeron, or even any dry seating, these much longer waits could be very unpleasant if the weather is not on your side. Also, the new clockface arrival time in Aberyswyth is xx:37, so it doesn't connect with trains (at least at that end) either.

    EDIT: Just seen on the Bwcbus website that expansion is due on December 5th, could that be when TrawsCymru One will be launched too?
     
  4. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    Anyone happen to know exactly when Arriva ceased operating the 550 south of Synod Inn? I'd also like to know when First stopped running their share of X40, but that's not so pressing. I'd also like to know why these changes of operator were made if anyone knows.
     
  5. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    First stopped operting their share of service X40 back in may 2010 I think.

    as for the 550 i didnt know it had been cut back.
     
  6. ji459

    ji459 Member

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    That's right and no, it doesn't stop in Cross Hands. The only stops after Carmarthen are Swansea, the McArthur Glen outlet near Bridgend (off junction 36 of the M4) and Cardiff.

    As an aside, the 701 service that's run by Coach Travel Wales on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays does stop at Cross Hands (and a few other places on the way). They use a coach rather than a bus, but it's just one journey from Aberystwyth to Cardiff and back. Concessionary bus passes are valid on the entire route though (they're not valid on the X40 between Carmarthen and Swansea). I hope the 701 is retained.

    It would appear from the TrawsCambria website that the TC1 will start running in March 2012.

    The new timetable took effect on 30 October 2011, so maybe then?
     
  7. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    Thanks. I too hope they retain the 701, and make it 3 trips daily to replace X40 south of Carmarthen. That would leave the Carmarthen - Aberysytwth TC1 as an hourly propper bus service, they would need some extra coaches for 701 though I guess.

    Nope, Arriva stopped operating 550 south of Synod Inn long before that. I just don't know exactly when.

    When I was at Coleg Ceredigion Aberystywth (2007/8 accedemic year I think) Arriva ran the full Cardigan - Aberporth - New Quay - Aberaeron - Aberystwyth 550 service (as the place names down the side of some of their Optare Tempos show). However, when I returned to Aberystwyth for University from Sept 2010 Arriva were only running the hourly portion of the service (Aberystwyth to Synod Inn). Doing the full journey now requires you to change bus to a Richards Bros operated 550 which is waiting across the dangerously fast and busy main road.

    As for X40, if First stopped in May 2010 and the date on this picture is correct, then Arriva where very quick with their painting! I guess that doesn't disprove a May 2010 handover, so you could be right.

    My vauge guess was that both changes happened sometime in 2009, but I could be wrong. I wonder if the changes were the result of one operator desideing to drop out, or the result of the other operator putting in a high bid to take over operation.
     
  8. Sun!

    Sun! Member

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    I dont know if anyone has seen this powerpoint refering to the upgrade of Trawscambria to Trawscymru?
    http://www.slideshare.net/Syniadau/traws-cymru-taith-board-5th-march-2010
    In 2009/10 the service recieved a £720k subsidy as well as the 22 free buses that are still owned by the WAG.
    The commercially operated sections were Aberystwyth-Aberaeron, Bangor-Caernarfon and Cardiff-Camarthen only.
    With the new TrawsCymru servie timetables would be made centrally (ie not by Arriva) and changed twice annualy.
     
  9. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's very interesting. I agree that the service needs consistent branding and ticketing. I also agree that service levels in the evening and on Sunday needs to be addressed.

    The date of the powerpoint is over a year ago though, does anyone know if there have been any updates since then?
     
  10. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Stagecoch have currently extended their service 704 (Not sure what number it is now) Newtown - Llandrindod - Brecon through to Merthyr Tydfil.

    However 60-60 coaches have registered a commercial service 470 running in between the Trawscambria journeys which runs from Brecon - Merthyr Tyfil - Cardiff and use full size coaches some with toilets compared to stagecoach using a Optare tempo and even an Optare solo.

    Veolia operate some journeys from Llandrindod - Newtown etc so I see no reason why stagecoach couldnt run service 704 when it is extended to Cardiff using full size coaches or coach seated low floor enviro 300 bodied MAN's like they use on service X4 Cardiff - Merthyr Tydfil - Brynmawr - Abergavenny - Hereford complete with wi-fi.


    I know there was talk or upgrading the Carmarthen - Llandovery & Llandovery - Brecon services up to Trawscambira services and run them as a through route with an extensions from Brecon to Hereford with the X63 Swansea - Ystradgynlias - Brecon service betwen extended through to Abergavenny.
     
  11. Greenback

    Greenback Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think this would be an excellent idea. Services from West Wales to Brecon and Hereford would be very useful.
     
  12. ji459

    ji459 Member

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    It's the T4. I did the route the other week - on an Optare Solo!
     
  13. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    I did Llandrindod Wells - Newtown - Builith Wells on it a few years back when it was still Newtown - Brecon only. Even with the shorter route, my northbound journey was still operated by a Solo. Still, at least they use a modern-looking Optare vehicle when they have insufficient Tempos, Arriva are throwing just about anything at 550 and X40 now. That includes a double-decker (and before that Solos from Aberystwyth town service) on 550 and Darts on both routes. I once even had a step-access bus on 550 after Arriva had claimed Wales was 100% low floor, that was quite a way back now though.


    Enviro 300s for Traws? I hope not, from a quick glance at wikipedia, it appears Enviro 300s are the new 2008 and 2010 registered buses Richards Bros of Cardigan now operate, with 'urban 90' on the seats. When a Tempo is unavailable, it is often one of these Enviro 300s that deputises and compared to the 55-plate Tempos these newer buses feel cheap, nasty and old. The Tempos look much smarter, both internally and externally, too. Here's one of them, just in case I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion that it's an Enviro 300.

    I've suggested a New Quay / Aberaeron / Lampeter - Llandovery - Brecon - Abergavenny service before, and I think the TraCC document I read recently suggested a Cardigan - Hereford service. Also mentioned was an Aberystwyth - Cardigan - Fishguard - Haverfordwest service, though I'd prefer the X50 to be extended from Aberaeron to Aberystwyth and from Cardigan to St. Davids (going to Haverfordwest from Cardigan via Fishguard is just too indirect to be called a TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru service in my opinion, if they want X50 to go to Haverfordwest that badly they should leave the 412 alone and make the X50 go the direct route across the Precellis).
     
  14. Sun!

    Sun! Member

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    The powerpoint was published at the start of the change from Trawscambria to Trawscymru, but before any consultations and anything was fully decided.

    Yeah Arriva has been putting Solos and Darts on the 550 service recently and some X40s arent being operated by Tempos, not very good. We need the best buses for the Trawscambria services.
    The Enviro 300s arent that bad from Cardigan to Aber, the same as the Tempos on the inside comfort wise, though obviously unsuitable for 2 hour plus routes.
    We really need disabled accesible coaches on the long distance services.
     
  15. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    These are the new vehicles we are having to replace the Volvo B10m's on service 172 Aberdare - Porthcawl from March 2012 with some similar coach seated versions working service X4 Cardiff - Merthyr Tydfil - Brynmawr - Abergavenny - Hereford:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/david_92/6241802093/


    As for a wheelchair acessible coach wright did come up with this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/eybusman/6427545845/

    I know there are a few working over in Ireland a 1 or 2 working in scotland/north of england, I think there is 1 operating in North wales now as well.

    Of course they could order some double deckers fitted with comfortable coach seats a bit like those vehicles used by First on the X53 Exeter - Weymouth - Bournemouth service, that said there may be an issue at Carmarthen bus station (should be fun when stagecoach start using the 1st of the new double deck coaches on their south wales - London Megabus services from later this month)
     
  16. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    We certainly do need the best buses for TrawsCambria services.

    As well as failing to even have a Tempo on some X40 runs, Arriva are always getting the route-branding wrong when they do manage to run a Tempo. I often see Cardigan - Aberporth - New Quay Aberaeron - Aberystwyth ones on X40 and Carmarthen - Pencader - Lampeter - Aberaeron - Aberystwyth ones on 550. This doesn't normally matter (they are the same except the place names on the side), but for the Aberystwyth - Cardiff/Swansea trips they really need one of the two Cardiff - Swansea - Carmarthen - Pencader - Lampeter - Aberaeron - Aberystwyth buses on. Admittedly, given there are three trips (2 to Cardiff plus 1 to Swansea) it isn't really possible to have a Cardiff bus on all of them, WAG should have ordered another. I've used the 13:05 Aberystwyth - Cardiff as far as Aberaeron a few times in the past few weeks and I don't think either of the Cardiff buses have been on it any of those times. Once, they even duplicated the service (two Tempos, one saying X40 Cardiff and the other X40 Swansea) and neither bus was one of the Cardiff ones.

    The offending Enviro that replaced one of the X50 Tempos fairly recently is very much NOT the same as the Tempos on the inside. Ok, so I noticed today that they say Enviro 200 on the back (so maybe an Enviro 300 is different) but they really do feel older than the Tempos to me.

    The two X50 Tempos are actually the best on the network, providing sufficent legroom for me to be comfortable at 16 forward-facing seats. They are wasted trapped between Aberaeron and Cardigan and really should be sent up to Aberystwyth much more often. That compares to sufficent legroom at 4 forward-facing seats on the two X40 (Cardiff) buses and at absolutly no forward-facing seats at all on any of the others. The sideways-facing seats do of course provide loads of legroom, but I don't much like going sideways.
     
  17. anthony263

    anthony263 Established Member

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    Maybe they should cut back the X40 to run between Aberystwyth - Carmarthen only with there being 3-4 journeys extending to Swanea/Cardiff being numbered service 701 and these would use full size coaches (Like 60-60 coaches are doing on their service 470 Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil - Cardiff route which duplicates service T4 partially.) and run more direct rathern than serving every small villiage.

    I think that coach travel wales service is good and it is always well used whenever I see it although it should run daily, but coach travel wales only operate 1 vehicle which is used on different routes on different days, I remember the Aberystwyth - Manchester service that used to run.
     
  18. DaveHarries

    DaveHarries Established Member

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    I had hoped that vehicles like the one in the above picture might come for the TrawsCymru services. However this is not to be. The vehicle pictured in the above link is, btw, a Volvo B7RLE / Wrightbus Eclipse Commuter and Stagecoach Scotland have two (I think - might be three) on Service 500 between Dumfries and Stranraer.

    Have posted information on changes for Services X4 and T4 in the next message.

    HTIOI,
    Dave
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Hi all,

    Information obtained by email from Stagecoach Cymru:

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Changes to Services X4 (Cardiff - Hereford) and
    T4 (Newtown - Merthyr Tydfil) from Monday 30th January 2012

    On Service X4:
    - The short journeys between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil will now be replaced by journeys on Service T4.

    On Service T4:
    - Most journeys between Newtown and Merthyr Tydfil are extended through to Cardiff with no need to change buses at Merthyr Tydfil.

    - Service T4 will give two journeys per hour between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff. These will combine with journeys on Service X4 to maintain the 15-minute daytime frequency between the two towns. Tickets will be fully interchangeable between the two routes and the only change between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff will be the colour of the bus and the route number on half of the journeys.

    - Between Merthyr Tydfil and Newtown there are some minor adjustments to the timetable and route but the frequency will be unchanged and the journeys available will be broadly similar.

    New Vehicles:
    - Six new Optare Tempo buses similar to those currently used on T4 but incorporating certain enhanced features are on order. The existing Tempos will also be used. It was hoped that the existing Tempos would be repainted into the new TrawsCymru livery with some refurbishment prior to 30 January but late delivery of the new vehicles means that this will now have to be done retrospectively.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Hope this is of use.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2012
  19. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    Thanks Dave.

    Sounds like somebody's made a mess of things:
    • Route number not changing to TC4 anymore (says it will be TC4 on TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru website)
    • Newtown bus (ex-704) now being extended to Cardiff (only says Merthyr on TrawsCymru website) which I'm guessing is the reason for having to keep the old Tempos (not suited for a journey of that length unless something is done about the legroom, which means losing seats) and means TC is duplicating rail services, rather than serving corridors which are not rail-served
    • Old Tempos being kept on 704/T4/TC4 means less improvements can be made to the wider network by way of cascades from the investment in 12 extra vehicles, and suggests they will also be keeping some of the old Tempos on X40 to allow the Cardiff trips to continue without Dart-itustions, with further impact on any potential cascades.

    When were the extra Tempos ordered? Will they be the old design or the new one, and will they be in service by Jan 30th (and on X40/TC1 too)? If they are the new design, I'm disapointed, and even more importantly I hope the maximum length has not been reduced to the 12m of most of the current TrawsCambria fleet (only some of the 12.6m ones have sufficent legroom, and the Optare press release for the Tempo SR didn't list 12.6m as an available length for the new Tempo SR, 12m was the longest).
     
  20. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Sounds a positive move, giving a lot of areas a direct Cardiff link (Llandrindod Wells etc) - does anyone know whether this is a commercial change by Stagecoach Cymru, or at the request of TrawsCambria/TrawsCymru?
     

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