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Multi-million pound transport interchange fails to attract a single bus

12 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru group leader in the Vale, Cllr Ian Johnson

A brand new multi million pound transport interchange has been described as “a waste of public money” after it was confirmed that there are still no buses lined up to service it.

Barry Transport Interchange, situated outside Barry Docks Railway Station, was developed to improve connectivity in the Vale and so far includes a taxi rank, bike shelters and bus stops.

The leader of the Plaid Cymru group at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Ian Johnson, called the project in its current state, without a bus servicing it, a waste of public money.

Bus companies across Wales are struggling at the moment due to reduced funding and recovering passenger numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many services have recently been changed or cut altogether.

Cllr Ian Johnson said: “Vale of Glamorgan Council officers have done very well in ensuring that the bus station has been built, but there’s no point in a bus station with no buses.

“There is nothing new about the drop in passengers following Covid-19, and that was known well before the construction of the bus station earlier this year.

“This is a major multi-million pound project that will not be used at any time soon for the reason it was built.

“That is a waste of public money at a time when the Labour Council are telling us to get ready for large scale cuts.”

Construction on phase one of Barry Transport Interchange started in January 2023 and electric car charging points will soon be connected to the site.

Adventure Travel’s number 88 bus service was originally supposed to take passenger to and from the new interchange, but it has since been withdrawn.

Vale of Glamorgan Council said in April that Cardiff Bus was considering which of its services could operate at the interchange.

Withdrawn

The company later announced that it was also withdrawing and making changes to a number of its services from September and no services were shown to be set to operate at Barry Transport Interchange in updated timetables.

At a Vale of Glamorgan Council meeting on September 25, Cllr Ian Johnson asked what conversations cabinet members are having with other authorities and the Welsh Government with regards to ensuring that revenue funding is found for bus services in the future.

In response, Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for neighbourhood and building services, Cllr Mark Wilson, said: “We have regular meetings with our fellow cabinet members to discuss this and we lobby Welsh Government, along with other local authorities, to get a bigger chunk of available funding.”

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, the interchange has been completed at a very difficult time for the bus industry.

“Reductions in government funding, reduced post-pandemic passenger numbers, and a shortage of drivers have all contributed to reductions in bus services.

“In the short term the new interchange will be used for Transport for Wales rail replacement services while upgrades to the local train network are undertaken.

“The Council is also in discussions with local bus providers to see if the new interchange can be incorporated into any existing routes.

“In the long term as new residential developments in the area are completed we anticipate that there will be a commercial interest from the local bus operators that currently serve Barry and we still expect the interchange to come into regular use.

“This is only one aspect of the Council’s work to support bus services in the Vale.

“Since April, the Council has increased spending on local bus services by more than £100,000, taking our total investment this year to around £500,000.

“This funding has been used to provide bus services where companies do not operate on a commercial basis, including the rural Vale, and to pay operators to run services that we know are valued by the community in the evening and on weekends.”


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Karl
Karl
7 months ago

The Vale has always had bus issues, never really had a grasp on it all. Not sure this location was the best idea, except as a circular route for one service to feed other parts of Barry.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
7 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Not really knowing the area, but looking at the OS map, it looks to me as if the location chosen is sensible. However, given the size of the urban settlement it is very strange that there are no town bus services. Do residents all try to drive everywhere?

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