From next weekend, visitors to Merthyr Tydfil will be able to take a tour of its shopping, leisure and heritage attractions on a free Saturday shuttle bus.
The Merthyr Hoppa coach will link the new Trago Mills store to Cyfarthfa Park, the historical Redhouse in Pontmorlais, Merthyr Leisure Village, the town centre and Cyfarthfa Retail Park.
The County Borough Council initiative sponsored by The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil Business Improvement District (BID) will begin on Saturday 23 June as a pilot exercise for six weeks through the summer, continuing for the rest of the year if successful.
“We’ve seen a significant footfall increase in the town centre since Trago Mills opened in April,” said County Borough Council Cabinet member for Regeneration and Public Protection Cllr Geraint Thomas.
“So we’re taking advantage of that popularity to make it easier for shoppers and visitors to travel between our retail areas, recreation facilities and also our wonderful tourist attractions.
“We’re very grateful to our partners The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil and all the businesses that support it for making it possible to run this exciting new service, as a partnership.”
The Hoppa bus is low floor and Disability Discrimination Act-compliant to cater for wheelchair users and prams. It will also have a range of local tourism leaflets, and drivers will be able to inform passengers which attractions to alight for at each bus stop.
Jason Edwards, Managing Director of Edwards Coaches, which is running the Hoppa service, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and other partners on this really exciting project. We were thrilled to be chosen as the operator and we look forward to it being a great success.”
Antonia Pompa, BID Co-ordinator, said: “We are keen to maximise the benefit of so many new people coming to the area and want to encourage them to visit the town centre’s retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
“This pilot will link the town and surrounding attractions with an easy to use and highly visible service, providing visitors with an excellent way to enjoy a Saturday in Merthyr Tydfil.”
Look out for the bus, with its distinctive ‘Visit Merthyr’ branding, running from 9am to 6pm every Saturday.
For further media information, please contact Jackie Huybs on 01685 725155/07814 070239 or Nathan Griffith-Williams at Edwards on 07484 683794