Aber gains improved bus services despite Arriva’s departure

Aberystwyth bus station - Tomos Nolan

Aberystwyth bus station – Tomos Nolan

BUS PASSENGERS in Mid Wales could yet end up with better services despite Arriva withdrawing from the region and the loss of 33 jobs, as seven other companies fill the gap.

There was widespread concern last autumn when Arriva announced its withdrawal from Ceredigion and southern Gwynedd, because Arriva’s services provided vital transport links for many communities. The Welsh Government is providing £162,000 of extra funding for replacement services in and around Ceredigion until June, and the services will be continued if enough passengers use them.

Several of the new services will need no subsidy, including a Megabus coach link from Aberystwyth and Lampeter to Cardiff and London from next month. Passengers travelling to Aberystwyth from coastal towns further south, such as Cardigan, no longer have to change between Arriva and Richards Bros services at Aberaeron. Some passengers will also benefit from up to 30% cheaper fares for local journeys than under Arriva.

However some passengers have questioned a number of changes to the service. Elly Foster, of the campaign Rural Areas Need Transport, said there were problems with the timetables, with no #40 service from Aberystwyth and Aberaeron into Lampeter between 7.45am and 9.45am, and the use of coaches instead of buses could make life difficult for those with mobility problems or those with prams and shopping trolleys.

She added that weekly tickets did not seem to be interchangeable between the three companies despite the council assurances tickets would be, and that the only option is the £28 West Wales Rover ticket, a huge increase on Arriva’s old £19 weekly ticket. Campaigners are also angry that Cribyn and Pengarreg have been left out and that there will be no Sunday service.