CONCERNS have been raised by Wrexham parents over the suitability of a bus service taking their children to and from school.

Parents of Ysgol Dinas Bran, in Llangollen, students who live in the Trevor, Acrefair and Ruabon areas are concerned that the Arriva number 5/5C bus service - that runs from Wrexham to Llangollen - is not fit for purpose.

The main concern raised is for overcrowding, with parents saying children are commonly left stranded at bus stops for up to two hours due to buses already being full.

Due to this, students are having to get much earlier buses to school to make sure they get there, which leaves them wandering the streets of Llangollen for up to 45 minutes until school starts.

The number 5 bus encompasses areas along Llangollen Road - including Ruabon, Acrefair and Trevor, while the 5C diverts via Cefn Mawr.

The Leader:

Arriva Buses

Children who live beyond Trevor are out of the catchment area to receive school transport, and therefore rely on the Arriva 5/5C service.

There are two buses that divert to the Llangollen Pavillion - near to the school - in the morning that only do so during term time.

But parent Donna Roberts, from Ruabon, told the Leader that the service is no longer satisfactory, with its buses being 'jam-packed' on a daily basis.

She said: "This year Ysgol Dinas Bran has had the biggest intake of Year 7s it's ever had, and it's just getting ridiculous now.

"Children have waited over two hours for a bus as the bus is already full. A number of parents have complained to Arriva as children are paying and having to also stand in alley ways and squashed to the maximum.

"With children now getting earlier buses, it leaves parents worried about their safety - especially as we towards winter with the darker mornings.

"And it's no better on the return journey - my child has already been stuck in Llangollen until 4pm. I'd like to see another bus put on by Arriva."

The Welsh Government has recently announced that it will continue to fund the service for the year 2019/20.

This led to some parents believing that the funding should be used to improve the service, and to fund another bus.

But Arriva has said the subsidy for Services 5/5C from the Welsh Government was given specifically to provide an increased frequency (every 30 minutes rather than every 40 minutes), and for services to operate via Ruabon Station entrance in both directions.

Arriva told the Leader it has already provided additional facilities to enable students to get to the school at its own cost.

Arriva said it is 'willing' to operate an additional bus should the school consider itself able to pay for the service over and above the additional bus it already provides.

The Leader:

Wrexham parents Anna Jenkins, Donna Roberts, Amanda Holmes, Susan Lloyd and Victoria Milner who are concerned about the bus service taking their children to and from school in Llangollen

But parent Anna Phillips, from Acrefair, is another who has raised grave concerns about the viability of the service.

She said: "The service to Llangollen is absolutely shocking, Arriva has received subsidies from the Welsh Government and no improvement has been made.

"Children who live passed Trevor are not entitled to school transport and we pay arriva to provide a safe service for children to attend school.

"Children, and members of the public, are crammed in like sardines, children are being left at bus stops and hanging around the streets - it's not what you want as parent when you send your child to school.

"Parents have inundated Arriva with complaints but we're hitting a brick wall."

But despite this, Arriva told the Leader it has received 'no' complaints about the 5/5C service since the commencement of the new school term.

A spokesman for the company said: "Arriva is aware that pupils attending Ysgol Dinas Bran, do not qualify for school transport if they live outside the area. The only fares paid to Arriva are those paid on the bus or in the form of weekly tickets.

"The service we provide has an excellent safety record. Arriva is not specifically paid to carry children to or from school - and it’s important to remember that this not a school service but a normal service bus provided for all customers.

"The bus times fit with the timetable for the rest of the route that considers train times and work times for customers along the route.

"Returning from school in the afternoon, Arriva has provided an additional bus that runs at 3.25pm from the Pavilion to Plas Madoc as well as the normal 5C service bus at 3.30pm from Llangollen that also diverts via the Pavilion to pick up school pupils."