Councillors call for re-think on vital bus route
Ted Peskett – Local Democracy Reporter
A number of Cardiff councillors have called for an urgent re-think on plans to cut a “vital” bus service which operates in their wards.
Some of Cardiff Council’s ward members for Llandaff, Fairwater and Radyr and Morganstown wrote a joint letter to the managing director of Cardiff Bus, Paul Dyer, after the operator announced major changes to its services due to a lack of funding and recovering passenger numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The changes, which are set to come into effect in September, include cuts to a number of services, including the 64 service, which takes passengers to and from the University Hospital of Wales.
In their letter to Mr Dyer, the councillors said the service is vital for residents to visit the hospital and is the only feasible public transport option for them to do so safely and reliably.
The letter, signed by Councillors Peter Jenkins (Llandaff), Sean Drsicoll (Llandaff), Claudia Boes (Fairwater), Saleh Ahmed (Fairwater) and Helen Lloyd Jones (Radyr and Morganstown) states: “The other near practical public transport option to travel from Danescourt, Fairwater or Radyr would be the Coryton train departing from their respective stations.
“However, that additional on-foot distance travel requirement, to get to their closest train station, then from Heath Low Level to the hospital itself, is simply not an option for many people who experience persistent health issues.
“Accessing a bus route that runs through our community is fundamentally different to a train station at a fixed point in relation to peoples’ homes or, an alternative bus service (the 15) that bisects Fairwater and Llandaff.”
Cardiff Bus said in its statement, published on August 7, that during pre-pandemic times, more than 90% of its revenue came from customers making journeys with its services.
At the moment, the operator is seeing just over 80% of pre-pandemic levels of travellers using its services.
It received funding support from the Welsh Government in the form of the Bus Emergency Scheme, however this came to an end in July.
The councillors added: “We appreciate that the financial situation for bus services is difficult, yet in this instance we would urge a serious reconsideration of the cutting of this route to ensure that there remains a practical option for all our residents to still access vital healthcare.
“We believe that the clear impact on equality has not been adequately considered or mitigated against, as such we look forward to a positive reply on this matter from yourself with a clear way forward.”
Cardiff Bus said it has received the joint letter and will respond to it.
The operator’s statement from last week states: “These are hard decisions, but we must make changes to maintain a sustainable network in Cardiff and eastern Vale of Glamorgan.”
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