A holiday bus service used by thousands of walkers and visitors to the Brecon Beacons could be cut as the National Park looks to make big savings. But there's still time to register your views.
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has been required to save more than 13% from its budget over the next two years, prompting a review of its current spending. Among the services in the cross hairs is Beacons Bus, a commissioned network of buses which brings passengers into the National Park from surrounding towns and cities such as Cardiff and Swansea on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Over the 10 or so years it's been operating, the service has been funded in part by the National Park Authority and neighbouring Local Authorities, as well as partner organisations such as Natural Resources Wales and the National Trust - all of whom are now facing similar budgetary restraints.
Though over 5500 people used the bus last year, giving it the chop would save the authority £26,000.
Julian Atkins, Director of Countryside and Land Management for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:
'We understand how very disappointed many of our regular passengers will be at this proposal and would like to thank them very much for their support over the years.'
'Even if Beacons Bus has to be lost, passengers would still be able to travel to the National Park and enjoy a day out using the current weekday bus services. We have been working to promote these recently, for example, creating a range of leaflets outlining the destinations and attractions along the T4 bus route from Cardiff to Brecon & Newtown and along the X63 from Swansea to Brecon.'
Of course that's not much good for anyone planning to go out on a Sunday or Bank Holiday.
Angela Charlton, director of Ramblers Cymru, said:
'Losing a bus service on weekends and bank holidays, the times when many have the opportunity to walk would be unfortunate and we would hope that all avenues are explored to ensure that access to one of the most popular areas in Wales is maintained.'
Since the partnership behind the Beacons Bus service has already accepted there are insufficient resources available to support it, the proposal to close it in 2014 looks like a fait accompli.
Nevertheless Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is inviting people to take part in a public consultation over the impact of withdrawing the Beacons Bus.
Passengers, user groups, visitors and residents are being invited to make comments. The deadline to submit views is midday on 12th February.
You can send comments directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Annie Lawrie, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, Powys LD3 7HP.