BUS company Stagecoach has cancelled hundreds of its South Wales services in recent months, the Argus can reveal.

Analysis found the firm has had to cancel 588 services in and around Gwent in the past fortnight alone, including 236 to and from Newport, 180 within Cwmbran, and 139 within Caerphilly town.

While those figures cover the past two weeks, Stagecoach services have been hit with a raft of cancellations for several months – with the firm regularly saying this is due to “driver availability”.

The company has blamed the problem on a staff shortage that has affected the sector and wider economy.

Both local services and buses between towns have been hit.

The X24 route between Newport and towns in Torfaen has had 137 cancellations in the past fortnight.

Likewise, services between Blackwood and Newport haven't run 75 times in the same period.

Within Cwmbran, local services have been cancelled 180 times and in the Caerphilly area, the figure is 139.

Other depots outside Gwent have been hit, too. In Merthyr, there have been 190 cancellations in the past two weeks, including for services to Abergavenny, Bargoed and Brynmawr. 

The Argus contacted Stagecoach to find out how serious the problem is on its Gwent routes.

A spokesperson for the bus firm said a “short-term staffing solution” had hit the sector “as with many industries across the country”.

Last year, the company eventually resolved a protracted dispute with staff who had gone on strike over pay.

But Stagecoach said its current staffing issue was a matter “out of our control due to external factors affecting the wider transport and logistics sector”.

“As a result, this is having an impact on some of our bus services and we have made some temporary changes to some timetables to improve the reliability of key services and keep passengers connected across our most popular routes,” the firm added.

Stagecoach said its staff "are working incredibly hard given the current circumstances to ensure the vast majority of local services are running".

"We are also taking proactive steps to alleviate the situation by recruiting new drivers and are focused on getting our new team members through our training programmes and on the road as soon as we can," the firm added.

"We will continue to keep our passengers regularly updated on our website and social media channels, and are working hard to resume our full service as quickly as possible, giving advanced notice of any planned alterations to our services in the meantime. We would like to thank all of our passengers for their patience.”