CONCERNED councillors have hit out at a decision to press ahead with cuts to bus subsidies totalling almost £500,000, despite widespread opposition to the move.
Wrexham Council has implemented cutbacks of £495,000 to bus services in the region, with certain villages and communities now facing the reality of a reduced early morning and evening service.
In some cases the changes will mean a complete withdrawal of Sunday bus services.
The majority of the changes will come into force on May 18.
The reduction in bus subsidies is part of the authority’s 2014-15 budget, which earmarked upwards of £13 million of savings in a wider bid to make £45 million of cuts to budgets over the next five years.
Routes such as those serving Coed y Glyn and linking Chirk with Wrexham are being withdrawn, as the council revealed for the first time the full extent of the changes to services resulting from the cuts to bus subsidies.
Johnstown councillor David Bithell believes the cuts are set to have a “massive impact” on rural wards.
“Public transport has taken yet another blow in Wrexham as the council have cut buses services as part of their budget proposals to the tune of nearly £500,000,” he said. “The reality is these alterations will have a massive impact on public transport network.”
“We have already seen the demise of the rural taxi services – which have been withdrawn – and now a series of bus services have been cut or altered across the county. Despite our concerns these changes have been implemented.”
In Marchwiel both Sunday and evening services through the village have been axed.
Marchwiel councillor John Pritchard said: “With the end of the taxi bus service as well, these changes leave our villagers completely cut off on Sundays and in the evening.
“A lot of residents have approached me and expressed their concern about how they will get to the hospital on a Sunday or how they will get about after 6pm.
“I also feel sorry for the children in the village, many of whom rely on the service to take them and from Wrexham town centre at the weekend.
They will be stuck in the village.”
Cllr Pat Jeffares, of Llangollen Rural ward, said: “Once again Wrexham Council has deprived the residents of Garth of a public transport bus service which was hard fought for.
“This is a big blow to local people to get to services such as the doctors.
“I have been in contact with Wrexham Council with my concerns on the lack of information.”
Cllr Bob Dutton, Wrexham Council’s lead member for environment, said: “It has been well documented that Wrexham Council has to find at least £45 million worth of savings over the next five years. As a result, we have had to cut subsidised transport costs by £500,000 for the 2014-15 financial year.
“Due to these severe financial cuts imposed on us by Westminster, we are no longer in a position where we can support subsidised transport costs as we have done in previous years.”
Many bus services in and around Wrexham are changing as a result of Wrexham CBC budget reductions. However, we have been able to introduce some new links as well, in cooperation with local bus operators. A summary of the changes, by service, is shown below.
Unlessotherwise noted the changes are from 18th May.
Service 1 Wrexham- Chester (Arriva)
The Monday to Saturday timetable is unchanged, but the Sunday service frequency is reduced from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes during the day, with changes to departure times.
Services 2 & 2A Wrexham- Oswestry (Arriva Midlands) An evening and Sunday service is introduced between Wrexham and Oswestry. This replaces the evening 2E service, provides a partial replacement for Sunday service 5A to Chirk and provides new links to Oswestry during these times.
From 22 April services 2 & 2A were rerouted to serve TESCO in Cefn Mawr and some 2C journeys were extended from Cefn Mawr to Chirk and Oswestry.
Service 2E Wrexham- Chirk (GHA)
This service will be withdrawn and replaced by evening service on service 2 (See above) Services 3 & 4 Wrexham- Rhos- Penycae (Arriva/GHA) The timetables for these services are unchanged, but the Sunday service will now be operated by GHA Coaches. The evening service will, in part, be operated commercially and as a result GHA will no longer be accepting other operator’s tickets on their evening journeys.
Services 5, 5A and 5C Wrexham – Llangollen (GHA) (25th May) The Sunday service 5A will be withdrawn between Llangollen and Chirk (Service 2 provides a replacement Chirk to Wrexham link) but service 5C journeys will be extended to Llangollen to provide two buses per hour between Wrexham and Llangollen most of the day on Sundays. Some Sunday evening journeys will be withdrawn. There are also timing changes on some morning journeys Mondays to Saturdays.
Service 5M (early morning, Acrefair- Wrexham via Rhos) (GHA) (6 May) This journey will operated commercially and consequently other operator’s tickets will no longer be accepted.
Service 7 Wrexham - Caia Park (Arriva)
Saturday morning journeys leaving Wrexham bus station at 0625 and 0710 will be withdrawn.
Service 11 Wrexham- Minera (GHA)
Two new early evening journeys will be introduced to replace this part of former services 141/142. These will be operated by GHA Coaches, leaving Wrexham Bus Station at 1930 and 2030, returning from Minera at 2005 and 2105. The 2030 departure from Wrexham Bus Station will extend to Bwlchgwyn and Gwynfryn. Combined with service X50 this will result in an almost hourly service from Wrexham Bus Station to Coedpoeth.
Service 13 Brymbo – Wrexham- Wrexham Industrial Estate (Arriva) The section of route between Wrexham bus station and Wrexham Industrial Estate will be withdrawn. Service between these locations remains available via D Jones & Son service 13B, as well as GHA services 41, 42 and 43.
Service between Brymbo and Wrexham bus station is unchanged.
Service 17 Wrexham - Moss (GHA) The timetable will be revised and the route will be changed to cover the Colliery Houses area Stansty Road), replacing the Town Link service to this area.
Service 23A Wrexham- Coed y Glyn (GHA)
This service will be withdrawn.
Service 32 Wrexham- Llay (Arriva)
The early Saturday morning journey at 0715 from Wrexham Bus Station to Llay and return will no longer operate.
Service 34 Wrexham- Trevalyn (GHA)
The timetable will be revised with some journeys (including those serving Darland School) being withdrawn.
Service 35A Wrexham- Borras Park (GHA)
This new service will be introduced, replacing the existing 44A service on Sundays and providing new Sunday service to Mile Barn Road, Birkdale Road, Holt Road and Dean Road. In Acton the service will operate via Oak Drive and Cilcen Grove between Chestnut Avenue and Chester Road, no longer using Central Avenue and Rhosnesni Lane. The changes are to make the service closer to the route of the daytime 35 service and to provide service to more areas.
Service 37 Wrexham – Caia Park (Arriva/GHA) This Sunday only service will be operated by GHA Coaches instead of Arriva.
Services 41/41A Wrexham – Queensway – Wrexham Industrial Estate – Holt/Bangor on Dee These evening services will replace the Wrexham Industrial Estate section of the 141/142 service on a slightly revised route and timetable. Service 41 will use the same route as service 141 in the Caia Park area, while service 41A will use the same route as service 142 in this area. Both services will serve Pentre Maelor, and there will be two journeys extended to Holt (via Wrexham Industrial estate) while two journeys will operate to Bangor on Dee. The last outbound journey will extend to Overton, this partly replaces a service 146 journey.
Towards Wrexham all journeys will start at or serve Wrexham Industrial Estate, with some journeys originating from Holt or Bangor on Dee.
The daytime 41 service is unchanged, with the exception of an additional journey operating from Wrexham Industrial Estate at 1742 replacing a current service 141 journey.
Service 44A Wrexham - Borras Park (GHA/Arriva) The Sunday service will be replaced by service 35A (see above), while the evening service will be withdrawn due to low use.
Service 60 Llanarmon DC – Oswestry (GHA) This service will be withdrawn, but connections to and from Oswestry and through fares will be available by connecting with Arriva Midlands services in Chirk.
Service 64 Llanarmon DC- Chirk- Llangollen (GHA/Bryn Melyn) This service will be revised to operate approximately every two hours.
Service 65 Llanarmon DC – Wrexham (GHA/Bryn Melyn) This service will be revised to operate school days only, with one journey in each direction. Connections to and from Wrexham at other times will be available through interchange in Chirk. Service will no longer be provided to Garth.
Service 146 Wrexham- Whitchurch (17 May) The evening and Sunday journeys on this service will be withdrawn. However, partial replacement evening journeys for Bangor on Dee and Overton will be available on service 41/41A (see above) Town Link (Pat’s Coaches/GHA) This service will be withdrawn. Partial replacement for the Colliery Houses (Stansty Road) area will be available on service 17 (see above)
See full story in the Leader