An on-demand local bus service, ‘Bwcabus’, tailored to the needs of rural passengers has helped improve accessibility, reduced car dependency and assisted in lifting rural communities out of deprivation.
An initiative in west Wales is showing that new approaches can deliver a sustainable model of integrated rural public transport. In addition to a number of fixed bus routes, it operates an on-demand bus service, which registered users can pre-book using a dedicated telephone booking service.
All Bwcabus buses have low, wide, accessible entrances and can pick up and set down passengers with reduced mobility or those in particularly remote locations at/near their home address.
The service addresses the issue – faced by many villages and small towns in rural areas across Europe – of increasing isolation in cases where ‘uncompetitive’ bus services are cut to save costs. As a result, local people and especially the most vulnerable can find it increasingly difficult to access employment opportunities and the services they need.
Bwcabus enables people to travel between local towns and villages or connect to the main line bus or train services.
The service helps those without cars to access key services including health and education services, as well as to employment opportunities. It makes a particularly significant contribution to the lives of people with reduced mobility
The service has increased the frequency of public transport use and encouraged a reduction in car use.
Bwcabus has provided a boost to local businesses and the local economy by generating an overall increase in passenger journeys – including by workers and customers.