TORFAEN council has stepped in to take up a bus route dropped by Stagecoach after announcing plans to subsidise the service with another bus operator.

In April, Stagecoach said it would have to cut the size of its fleet in Wales by 10 per cent, while discontinuing or reducing the frequency of a number of services, due to ‘drastic’ cuts in investment by the Welsh Government.

It was announced that route 30 Brynmawr to Cwmbran will be withdrawn, while route 23 Newport to Varteg Hill would be reduced to hourly runs, instead of 30 minutes as at present.

A Torfaen spokesman confirmed that they have been in discussions with a local operator in relation to route 30.

He said: “They have now provided us with a timetable for a two-hourly service which they would run along this route on a commercial basis. We are working with them to enhance this service, and plan to subsidise it so that it operates on an hourly basis, meaning there will be no change for passengers.”

Stagecoach has also agreed that route 23, that currently travels between Varteg and Newport, will now remain half-hourly but terminate in Cwmbran instead of Newport. Passengers will be able to board the X24 bus service from Cwmbran to Newport.

The Torfaen spokesman added: “We have been assured that all other changes will only impact positively on Torfaen.”

Torfaen AM, Lynne Neagle, welcomed the news: “The council have been working really hard since Stagecoach’s announcement, so I’m very pleased they’ve found an alternative operator to take over this much valued service.”