Planning is under way for complete electrification of the busiest TrawsCymru long-distance bus route. The T1 runs from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth via Lampeter, at hourly frequency on weekdays and Saturdays.
Transport for Wales says it is undertaking technical work to prepare for the T1’s conversion from diesel to fully electric operation next year. The work includes a “detailed assessment of vehicle requirements, given the topography and service requirements for the route, and an assessment of the optimum depot locations”. Trial operation of services in rural Denbighshire using an electric Optare Solo in 2017 found that the vehicle was poorly suited to inter-town routes with sustained running at relatively high speeds. Rural hills were also a challenge. The T1 route, about 50 miles from end to end, has all of those features, but battery range has improved since 2017.
TfW and operators will gain direct experience of battery bus performance in rural areas from this autumn, when six electric buses funded by the Welsh Government are due to begin operating two new TrawsCymru services in Northwest Wales.