Recognising concerns raised by residents over the lack of integration of the local public transport network, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has used a contribution during a Plenary debate to highlight her innovative and proactive four-point plan to help improve service quality and quantity in rural Wales.
Janet’s four-point plan of action calls on the Welsh Government to:
- Improve rural bus stop provision acknowledging concerns around a lack of basic facilities, such as shelters, seating and timetable information.
- Introduce a direct rail service from Holyhead Port and Manchester Airport to Blaenau Ffestiniog to support an increase in visitation to the area by public transport.
- Widen the area served by the Fflecsi bus service as a means of acknowledging the benefit it is having on encouraging a greener mode of transport.
- Schedule evening services between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, in recognition that the last train presently leaves at 16:17 and the last bus at 18:34.
Her intervention comes following concerns raised by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales who has outlined that, due to the availability and reliability of bus services often being scarce, there remains a lack of trust in public transport services. Heléna Herklots CBE also highlighted how older people are opting to travel to their health appointment by private vehicle, at significant personal expense.
Commenting after her contribution, Janet said:
“I have spoken in the Siambr before about the problem we have with the last bus heading from Llandudno to the Conwy Valley leaving at 18:40pm, meaning that the two areas are cut off by public transport for the rest of the night.
“Having liaised with service providers it has been made clear to me that there is a lack of appetite by people to work late shifts. Therefore, a clear action plan is needed to support bus companies in improving the attractiveness of the industry and encourage staff to work later shifts.
“Building on this necessary work, my four-point plan would support an increase in demand by improving service quality and quantity. As part of this work, I have called for clarity from the Welsh Government as to what investment will be made to improve our local and rural bus stops.
“At the moment, there is a concerning inequality in provision as I have seen first-hand residents standing in the rain to catch a bus beside the A470 in Maenan, whilst further to the north in the village of Glan Conwy a bus stop has a digital screen!
“Elsewhere, my productive plan looks to build on the considerable progress made in delivering public transport to rural Aberconwy thanks to the Fflecsi bus service and look to introduce a new direct rail services from Holyhead Port and Manchester Airport to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
“In a climate crisis, I am clear that we need to be empowering residents to use public transport. Such actions would enable Snowdonia to have truly international public transport gateways, connecting one of the most spectacular areas of rural Wales to the rest of the world.”