A NEW bus service to improve transport links and access to employment is set to be trialled in Blaenau Gwent.

The two-year pilot project will form part of Transport for Wales’ new ‘Flecsi’ service, which allows passengers to request a bus to pick them up for essential travel.

Bookable journeys will also connect with rail and other commercial routes under the Integrated Responsive Transport (IRT) pilot project, which is also to be trialled in Pembrokeshire and Conwy.

Two buses will initially operate in the Ebbw Fach and Ebbw Fawr valleys under the plan.

Services will also provide links to industrial estates, another bus route to Nevill Hall Hospital and a link with rail provision to Cardiff.

A bus operator will run the service on behalf of Blaenau Gwent council, which is working with Transport for Wales, Welsh Government, Job Centre Plus and the Community Transport Association on the project.

“The project will pilot a new way of delivering bus services in Blaenau Gwent, working closely with the existing commercial service providers and plugging gaps within these services,” a council report says.

“The project is also working with Job Centre Plus and will aim to improve access to employment for those without access to a car.

“During times in the day when the demand for IRT service is lower, the buses may be available for journeys for shopping trips or other community provision.

“There is also scope for the project to support provision for school transport where this is needed – this will help support the viability of the project longer-term.”


The pilot project is aimed at providing more flexibility and certainty for passengers, while testing the demand for particular routes and services.

The timings and coverage of the service are still being developed, with once viable routes for operators now seen as ‘un-commercial’ due to coronavirus, a report says.

But the scheme is seen as a way of evolving with the “change in needs and patterns of travel as the area recovers post-Covid-19”.

“The project presents an opportunity to address some of the challenges facing residents in accessing employment and services via public transport,” the report adds.

“The project will work with a range of partners to establish a longer-term solution as we move towards a low carbon economy and a post Covid-19 economy.”

Blaenau Gwent council’s regeneration scrutiny committee will consider whether to recommend the project progresses at a meeting next Tuesday, September 8.