Brand new electric buses were unveiled on Thursday, March 16 for the TrawsCymru T1 route between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth by Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.

The state-of-the-art buses will enter service from March 26 and will be based out of a new charging depot in Carmarthen.

Speaking at the event the Deputy Minister, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said: “Buses play a vital role in keeping our communities connected and offer people a sustainable transport alternative to the car.

“The introduction of brand-new electric buses will provide a great boost to the TrawsCymru service and is another important step forward in achieving our ambition for a high-quality, multimodal, integrated and low-carbon network of public transport across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS was joined by officials from Transport for Wales (TfW), Carmarthenshire County Council, route operator First Cymru and bus supplier Pelican at an event in Carmarthen today before taking a trip on one of the new fleet to officially open the new purpose-built depot and charging facility at Nant-y-Ci.

The T1 tender awarded to First Cymru is the first TrawsCymru contract to be managed by TfW.

Marie Daly, Chief Customer and Culture Officer at TfW, said: “An incredible amount of hard work has taken place behind the scenes in order to make the launch of this improved service possible, bringing together experts in our bus team from commercial bus operations, transport planning and network development.

“TfW is committed to being a truly multi-modal organisation, improving links between bus and rail through joined-up timetables, ticketing and technology to make a network which works for everyone.

“These brand-new buses are setting new standards for customer experience and comfort.”

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste, and Infrastructure Services at Carmarthenshire County Council said: “I welcome the introduction of this fleet of brand-new electric buses that will provide modern low carbon vital public transport services for the people of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

“Carmarthenshire County Council is very proud to have worked alongside Welsh Government and Transport for Wales in delivering this project, which included the procurement of the bus fleet and the design and construction of the new charging depot facility at Nant y Ci, Carmarthen.”

It is estimated that taking the T1 bus from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth would result in 14804g of CO2 savings compared to driving - the same as keeping a lightbulb on for 4174 hours (174 days).

Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability at Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It’s excellent to see the T1 bus service, between Carmarthen and Aberystwyth, upgraded to include a fleet of low emission, sustainably powered vehicles.”

He added: “By moving away from using fossil fuels to power the buses, a more environmentally friendly public transport service option is provided. These electric buses will make an important contribution to the decarbonisation of public transport services in order to address our local, national and global commitment to net zero carbon.”

A number of showcase events have recently been held in Carmarthen, Aberystwyth and Lampeter, where passenger feedback for the new buses has been extremely positive.

The buses offer a number of modern features including reading lights, tables, cordless charging and USB sockets, arms rests, information screens and an air purification system.

“Buses have an important and exciting role to play in Wales’s ongoing move to more sustainable travel,” says Chris Hanson, General Manager of First Cymru.

“We are absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to run the T1 route and the stunning electric fleet. People use First Cymru transport every day to move across towns and counties in South Wales. But we know many more will do the same as buses evolve to bring all the benefits of electric to customers and their communities.”

Ian Downie, Head of YUTONG UK, Pelican Bus and Coach, said: “We have worked with Carmarthenshire Council and TfW to develop a bespoke specification for this service. The collective team have produced a customer centric specification, with coach-style seating which will enhance the smooth, quiet journey.

“The vehicles are the fastest overnight charging available, with the vehicles being able to be recharged in less than 1.5 hours. We are so proud of the result, and these vehicles will make a compelling case for passengers to make a modal shift to zero emission vehicles. One vehicle can replace 14 cars with 5 people inside each, making a significant contribution to reducing emissions.”