A bus route in Pembrokeshire that serves Withybush Hospital is to be affected by newly-announced cuts in bus services across West Wales.

The frequency of the First Cymru 349 route will drop from an hourly service to every 90 minutes during the winter months, with changes taking effect from October 29 onwards.

The route operates between Haverfordwest and Tenby via Johnston, Neyland, Pembroke Dock, Pembroke, Lamphey, Hodgeston, Jameston, Manorbier and Penally. Currently it makes 12 return journeys, with all but two of these taking in Withybush Hospital.

Pembrokeshire County Council's cabinet member for residents' services, Councillor Rhys Sinnett, said the authority would continue lobbying Welsh Government to increase funding for bus services.

“One of the most immediate concerns is the impact for Pembrokeshire people in accessing employment opportunities,” he said.

“With reduced bus services many residents are facing substantial hurdles in getting to work and this situation threatens not only the financial stability of people and their families but the economic prosperity of the region as a whole.

“We accept these are difficult financial times but we strongly urge the Welsh Government to reconsider its funding decisions so public transportation here and across Wales can be accessible, reliable and viable.”

Concerns have risen recently that April 2024 could see many further reductions locally and across Wales as subsidies dry up.

Welsh Government’s Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) which supported the bus industry through the Covid pandemic has now been replaced by the Bus Transition Fund (BTF) with its budget capped at £46m for the 2023/2024 financial year.

The funding, with £4m of it dedicated to the Traws Cymru Network, is allocated directly to bus operators across Wales’s 22 local authorities.

First Cymru says its reduced budget forced it to announce the cut to the 349 Pembrokeshire service.

The new 349 timetable will be made available ahead of the changes on the First Cymru website.