I recently ran a survey about local bus services, after receiving a number of complaints from residents living in the wider Pontypridd area. Having previously raised these concerns in the Senedd, I wanted to find out more about how residents feel about the service and the impact poor services or a lack of service has been having on them.
74% of those that responded states that the service was both unreliable and not value for money, and shared the impact this is having on their lives.
The 2011 Census showed that 23 per cent of the population of Wales had no access to a car or van. For this section of the population, access to work, hospital appointments, visiting friends, shopping and leisure services is dictated by the timetable of the nearest bus stop. When this timetable isn’t kept to, it doesn’t just impact these individuals. The late employee impacts the relationship with their colleague, the missed outpatient session costs the NHS time and money and the businesses in our towns and villages lose out on custom as those that travel by bus cannot risk being stranded from home as the service fails them. Pontypridd and its surrounding villages is currently suffering this fate as day after day, the bus service they rely on just does not come up to scratch.
Last week, I met with Adventure Travel - one of the bus companies servicing the wider Pontypridd - area last week, and will also be meeting other bus providers servicing RCT, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan over the coming weeks.
It was clear from the meeting that the bus operator understands that their services have been below standard in recent weeks. They noted two reasons for this:
- A number of staff members have left recently.
- There is a delay with the DVLA processing licences due to Covid.
They noted that service users should see improvements to the bus service now, and that there will also be enhancements soon such as returning the 103 back to half hourly from the end of August. They will also have a dedicated staff member at Pontypridd bus station between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, to deal with passenger complaints.
Whilst I welcome these steps, I did make it clear that problems existed with some of the services prior to Covid. For instance, the 109 service is frequently late or cancelled. The route itself doesn’t serve the community living at the top of Graigwen, and neither is there a service in the evenings or on Sunday or bank holiday. These are all things that need to change.
Should you ever experience difficulties with the service in the future, please let me know so that I can raise this with the bus companies by emailing [email protected]
Picture used under creative commons licence: "Safle Bws" by greenhac is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/