A COUNCILLOR has spoken of his disappointment after transport bosses said they were unable to help struggling villagers following a bus route change.
The Leader reported in June how changes to Arriva’s 32/33 bus service route – which the company said it had to make due to the ‘increasing number of indiscriminately parked cars’ – meant passengers are no longer able to be picked up or dropped off in Watts Dyke, Llay.
Cllr Rob Walsh, along with fellow Llay councillor Bryan Apsley, wrote to the Office of Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain voicing concerns – but he said he found the response disappointing.
The reply read: “Unfortunately, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) do not have any powers to stop an operator from canceling a route.
“The advice from our bus compliance team would be to contact the local council and ask them to talk to the operator. From that they may be able to sort issues regarding cars parked on the road affected.”
Cllr Walsh told the Leader: “I am disappointed. It goes to show that Arriva have license to do what they want. I appreciate it is a private company but buses are vital to our communities and it seems the wishes of this community are being ignored.
“They said speak to the council about parked cars but I don’t know what else can be done. What other options are there? To put yellow lines down Watts Dyke road? You’re going to end up with residents who have nowhere to park. There can be parked cars in Watts Dyke but I know other roads which have far more. Why they have decided to pick on Watts Dyke I don’t know – and we may never know.”
Many residents have expressed their worries over the fact the change means elderly and disabled residents of the estate now have to walk to the main road to use the service.
Sandra Allen, of Ffordd Gryffydd, told the Leader she has a number of concerns about the route change, including the impact on the service timetable, positioning of bus stops and whether it could lead to further reductions in the village service.
She said: “They state that parked cars are the cause for withdrawal of this service. The cars are correctly parked on the left side of the road going towards the British Legion.
“This leaves ample room for buses or other types of vehicles to safely pass on what is a relatively quiet, wide road through a housing estate.
“What we’re finding now is because you’re on the original timetable, where we were going round Watts Dyke it is going straight along [the main road] so if you’re not careful you can miss it because it is there too early.
“Two or three people have missed them which means they have to wait on the other side of the road for the bus going all around the village.
“One of the Arriva bus stops in Llay New Road is just after Shones Lane and is directly opposite a ‘keep left’ road island in the middle of the road.
“Therefore, a bus stopping to pick up or drop off passengers will effectively block the road as no following traffic will be able to pass and this can cause a back-up of traffic.
“My main concern is once they start chipping away and start reducing the evening buses, how much more are they going to chip away?
“It will greatly affect Wrexham’s night-time businesses.”
In an explanation over the route change, an Arriva spokesman said: “The safety of passengers on board our buses is always our first priority and due to the increasing number of indiscriminately parked cars in Watts Dyke that are a causing a hazard, we have been forced to make the decision to re-route this service to serve another near-by bus stop.
“The changes have been made after careful consideration alongside Wrexham county Borough Council and we hope disruption to passengers will be minimal.”
The company was approached for a further response to Sandra Allen’s concerns over timetable issues, further service reductions and bus stop placement in Llay New Road.
See full story in the Leader