Lifeline bus service to bypass rural village in timetable change
Transport bosses at the Welsh Government are being urged to reverse a decision to axe a bus route through a rural village following a packed public meeting opposing the sudden withdrawal of the key service.
Up until recently, Garndolbenmaen was served by eighteen T2 Traws Cymru bus services each day, with five services on a Sunday.
However, following the publication of a new timetable, all those services have now been axed, leaving the local community in uproar.
Community calls to restore the service have been backed by local Councillor Steve Churchman and Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd Mabon ap Gwynfor, who both addressed the public meeting at Garndolbenmaen Village Hall.
The T2 bus service was well-used by residents of all ages and for many, it was their only means of travelling outside the village in order to access services such as attending medical appointments, grocery shopping and other day-to-day tasks.
Speaking following the meeting, Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS Mabon ap Gwynfor said that the lack of meaningful consultation with the local community showed a woeful disregard for the needs of his constituents, especially the elderly and those who rely solely on public transport.
A petition has been set up calling for the return of the T2 to Garndolbenmaen.
Mr ap Gwynfor said: “The sudden removal of the T2 bus service through the village of Garndolbenmaen has caused great anxiety and worry for local people, especially for those who rely on public transport to go to work, school or to access essential services such as attending medical appointments.’
“Garndolbenmaen has an aging population, many of whom don’t drive and therefore their only means of travelling outside the village is by bus. There is no shop, so people must travel to Porthmadog to do their shopping.
“Many residents frequently attend Ysbyty Gwynedd for their health needs, and the T2 provided a reliable, direct transfer from Garndolbenmaen to Bangor.
“Axing the T2 service will have a significant adverse impact on journey times, adding an extra forty minutes to the Garndolbenmaen – Bangor route. It is somewhat ironic that many living in Garndolbenmaen have a bus pass yet now have been left without a bus!’
“Withdrawing this vital community link without any regard to the needs and welfare of local people is blatantly unfair and makes a mockery of the Welsh Government’s own Well-Being and Future Generations Act (2015).’
He added: “I fear that this decision will only compound the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on our most vulnerable, with the elderly becoming more isolated and those on low incomes unable to access alternative means of transport.
“I call on the Welsh Government to come back to the table with a revised timetable which addresses the concerns of the local community, restore the T2 service to Garndolbenmaen and put the needs of transport users before any commercial decision.
“I would also encourage as many people as possible to sign the petition calling for the restoration of the service.”
Councillor Steve Churchman said: “Drastic changes to bus services through Garndolbenmaen and Penmorfa were introduced with no consultation.
‘The changes have resulted in residents being unable to get to or from work and denying them a social life, students have been left marooned and access to medical care at Ysbyty Gwynedd for anyone without a car is impossible in the evening and on Sundays.
“If the community had been consulted on these changes in advance these deficiencies could have been raised and possibly addressed. Instead, the service is completely impractical and leaves residents high and dry.
“Residents demands for an urgent review are based upon genuine concerns. I ask that the Welsh Government reconsiders the decision that has left our communities almost completely isolated.”
A spokesperson for Transport for Wales said: “Following recent changes to the T2 TrawsCymru route, the village of Garndolbenmaen will be served by the brand new T22 service, which launches in February using state-of-the-art electric buses.”
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