As parts of Wrexham are set to see bus service alterations and losses, Leader reporter Rory Sheehan spent a morning in Hightown to meet those who will be most affected by the changes...

THE loss of bus services and changes to routes in Wrexham and their impact on the community, is the focus of urgent discussion.

All 52 members of Wrexham Council have been invited to a workshop on Thursday, March 14, to try to thrash out solutions to bus services leaving the county after the decision of Arriva to change and drop a number of services across the borough.

Among the hardest hit will be bus users in Hightown and Stockwell Grove, who will lose the number 42 to the town centre, when the changes come into effect on March 31.

The Leader:

Hermitage county councillor Graham Rogers says he fears the loss of such routes will make it difficult to entice people to the area.

He asked: “What is the point of us trying to encourage people to live or work in Wrexham when we haven’t got any public transport?

“The problem with regard to the number 42 bus is that the service was not subsidised, so was reliant on people getting on with a bus pass, or the odd one paying a fare.

“As of the end of this month they are removing the service. I contacted officers at the council and requested a meeting, and lead member (for transport) Cllr David A Bithell and officers have agreed on an all-member workshop to see what can be done, even for those councillors whose wards are not affected because it could be them next time there are changes.

The Leader:

“But unless we can get some sort of subsidy, I don’t know whether we will be able to reinstate the number 42. It’s looking a bit bleak.”

He added: “It affects an awful lot of people, especially in Hightown.

“If you are on a low income, can’t drive or are elderly and there’s no bus service here, and you haven’t got any family with a car, how are you going to get to town and do your food shopping?”

One of the residents affected is Peter John Francis, 72, of Hermitage Drive on the Stockwell Grove estate in Hightown, who said about 30 residents turned up for a meeting with Cllr Rogers about the loss of the number 42.

He said: “I use the bus every day, from Monday to Saturday.

“The council asks people to support the town but how can they if they can’t get there?”

The Leader:

He added: “The majority of people at the meeting with Cllr Rogers the other night were pensioners, like myself, 20 from Stockwell Grove itself and many in their late 70s or early 80s.

“Pensioners like myself are going to be absolutely stranded. If you get a taxi you are talking about £9 as a minimum fare and it could be higher than that.

“When we lose this bus service, the nearest one will be at the Travellers Rest on Kingsmills Road, which is a long way to walk to, and a long way to walk back, especially if you have mobility issues.”

In a similar situation are Mr Francis’ neighbours, sisters Joan Williams, 88, and Ruth Williams 83.

Joan said: “There’s going to be a concern when we aren’t as active as we are now.

“A taxi to town is £4 one-way minimum. How can you afford that out of your pension twice a week?

“We haven’t got the opportunity to go to Chester or Broughton, and the bus now only goes to King Street (in the town centre) which bypasses Marks & Spencer (at Eagles Meadow) and Ty Pawb (on Chester Street).”

The Leader:

Ruth added: “How do you get home from Farmfoods with a load of shopping if you haven’t got a bus?

“We want a bus service, so the demand is there. The Government gives us free bus passes and then the chance for us to get a bus gets taken away.

“Our nearest bus now will be from the Travellers Rest but you have to walk to and from the Kingsmills Road.

“This estate we live on was purposefully built for older people originally.”

Another Stockwell Grove bus user, Maureen McKevitt said she feared the impact the end of the service would have.

“I go to visit a lady who is 92”, she said. “She can walk to the end of her road, where the bus currently stops, but if she wants to go into Wrexham now, I’m not sure what will happen.”

When the changes were announced by Arriva last month, lead member for environment and transport, Johnstown councillor David A Bithell, said they left public transport in Wrexham at “breaking point”.

The Leader:

Michael Morton, managing director of Arriva Buses Wales disputed this and said: “Services that are being adjusted are not commercially viable and are being modified or withdrawn in order to protect the rest of the Wrexham bus network.

“It is unfortunate that, in recent years, local authority funding for socially necessary bus routes has been cut to the point that Wrexham Council is finding it difficult to provide payments for services that do not make money, leaving it to the commercial bus operators to do their best.

“We do not agree that the local bus industry is at breaking point. In recent times, some operators have tried to gain work and volume by running services, either commercially or under contract to local authorities that have, clearly, been below cost and this is the only reason why there are fewer operators than before.

“Free market competition is part of the bus industry in which we find ourselves, as it is in most other industries and those who run efficiently and commercially will always survive.

“Other models, where competition is not the norm, inevitably cost much more as they are publicly funded, whereas more than 90 per cent of an, undoubtedly, excellent network in Wrexham, is commercially provided at no cost to the ratepayer.

“Bus fares in Wrexham have been reduced in recent years especially for regular customers and we have frozen the cost of whole day and weekly tickets for at least the first three months of this year.

“We welcome our regular meetings with Cllr Bithell and Wrexham Council officers and we will continue to work with them to look for better ways of operation, including the possibility of high tech demand responsive minibus services.”

The Leader:


Hightown bus users are not the only residents who will be affected by the route changes being introduced across the county.

Llay County Councillor Rob Walsh echoed the concerns for the elderly and vulnerable, adding that the village has been badly affected by other route changes in the last few years.

He said: “We have had problems in the last couple of years with bus services and residents are fed up with the changes.

“With the operators being private companies they can change their routes and the council has very limited power, but that’s the reality.

“The elderly people in Llay feel particularly dismayed, as they are the ones most affected and we want elderly people to be able to live full and independent lives.”

This was a message echoed by Penycae County Councillor John Phillips, as a number of changes are to be introduced in that area.

He said: “The news of the reduction in service delivery times by Arriva for Penycae, has caused much concern, especially for the elderly of our community. Our semi-rural bus service has been reduced yet again, some residents have voiced concerns saying they will be isolated even more, it’s extremely disappointing, goodness knows where it will end.

“There is a genuine feeling amongst residents, that if the commercial service is not viable in its present form, surely there has to be another way rather than reduce the service or take it away.

“One alternative could be to incorporate a route that could link Penycae to Ruabon, Plas Madoc and Cefn Mawr, which could potentially generate more usage, resulting in a more viable service. I would respectfully ask Arriva could they look into a viability study to see if this was possible.”


  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 4): Wrexham - Rhos - Penycae. New Timetable from Sunday, March 31. This service will only operate in the morning and afternoon peak hours.
  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 4B: Wrexham - Rhos - Afoneitha. New Timetable from Sunday, March 31. This service will only operate Monday to Saturday between 0930-1630
  • Arriva Bus Service 4A: Wrexham - Johnstown - Afoneitha. Route amendment in Johnstown. Service to operate via B5605 main road. Nant Parc and Moreton estates will no longer be served.
  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 12: Wrexham - Brymbo. New Timetable from Sunday, March 31. 0450hrs service from Brymbo to be withdrawn. 0511hrs and 0535hrs journeys to Brymbo will no longer start at Wrexham Bus Station but will start from New Broughton
  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 26/27: Wrexham - Mold. New Timetable from Sunday, March 31. All services to become service 27. Route amendment, to serve Mold Road and Old Mold Road. Summerhill Road and Pendine Estate will no longer be served.
  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 33: Wrexham - Llay. New Timetable from Sunday, March 31. The first departure from Wrexham Bus Station at 0645hrs (Monday-Friday) becomes X33 routing direct to Llay via B5425 (Llay New Road). This journey will not serve the Bradley area on the outbound journey. Evening departures from Wrexham Bus Station (Monday-Saturday) from 1830hrs will become X33 routing direct to Llay via B5425 (Llay New Road). These journeys (except for the last departure at 2245hrs) will not serve Gwersyllt area on the outbound journey.


  • D&G Bus Service 41B: Wrexham - HMP Berwyn. Fully supported service funded through HMP Berwyn development section 106 monies. New Service from Sunday, April 7. The service will provide a Sunday daytime hourly transport link from Wrexham General Rail Station and Wrexham Bus Station to HMP Berwyn


  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 42: Wrexham - Hightown. Last day of operation: Saturday, March 30.
  • Arriva Bus Wales Service 44: Wrexham - Barkers Lane. Last day of operation: Saturday, March 30.
  • Townlynx Service 28: Flint - Mold - Wrexham. Last day of operation: Saturday, March 30.
  • Townlynx Service 40: Mold - Wrexham. Saturday, March 30.
  • Wrexham Taxis Service 47F: New Brighton - Talwrn - Wrexham. Fully supported WCBC service. Last day of operation: Tuesday, March 28