Confusion over bus service
12:02pm Wednesday 15th January 2014 in News
A BUS company says it has not decided about one of its Barry services despite Welsh Government Minister Edwina Hart understanding it would stay.
Cardiff Bus met with Vale MP Alun Cairns and Barry resident and campaigner Elwyn Toozer following concerns that the company was planning on withdrawing the 98 Highlight Park from April this year.
More than 2,500 people have so far signed a petition calling for the service to be retained – some saying they would be rendered virtually housebound by its withdrawal.
Business development manager at Cardiff Bus Gareth Stevens said: “(Operations manager) Peter Heath recently met with Alun Cairns, MP, and Elwyn Toozer, 98 bus user, to discuss options about buses in the area in the future. Once the actual details of the changes to the All Wales Concessionary Scheme are announced we will be in a better situation to advise on our plans.”
But in a letter, dated January 9, Welsh Government minister for economy, science and transport Edwina Hart AM wrote: “My officials have been working with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the South East Wales Transport Alliance, representing all of the local authorities in the region, to mitigate the impact of recent or planned service withdrawals in the Vale of Glamorgan. I understand that in response to representations it has received, Cardiff Bus now intends retaining the 98 service.”
Cardiff Bus said it had not seen the letter.
Vale MP Alun Cairns said: “There is obviously great confusion over this.
"When Elwyn Toozer and I met Cardiff Bus before Christmas, they were clear in stating that the service was under threat unless there was either an increase in public subsidy or that more passengers used the route.
"Unless the Welsh Government have responded to our calls, I don't see that there can be a change.
"I am certain, however, of one thing - it is clear that the fuss, attention and protests we have created are having an impact.
“They are obviously desperate to come forward with a solution, which is great news.
“Elwyn Toozer and I have explored options, which we hope will offer the answer we all want, but the Vale Council must engage positively."
A Vale Council spokeswoman said: “At present we have had no indication that service 98 is being reduced.
“As a consequence there is nothing for the council to consider.”