Livelihoods threatened because of loss of bus service

Mabon & Jane BallingerCalls for reinstatement of key bus services

A hospital worker says council cuts to bus services have put her job at risk. Now campaigners and Plaid Cymru are calling for Wrexham Council to reinstate the bus services in rural areas.

Jane Ballinger, of Glyn Ceiriog, works at the orthopaedic hospital and used to catch the Number 60 bus service. This was cut in April and, as she cannot drive due to being partially sighted, she faced losing her livelihood. Fortunately she has been able to get a lift from friends because the reduced bus service will not get her there and back in time for work.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Clwyd South, warned that losing the number 60 bus service could threaten the livelihoods of many people in the same situation as Jane.

He said: “The number 60 bus was a lifeline to Jane and others like her. For the sake of saving a few thousand pounds peoples lives are being impacted upon, with some having to consider leaving their communities in order to keep their jobs. Providing public transport that is accessible for all is a key public service which both the Government and Council should ensure is available. By cutting these service not only are they denying people their independence, but it will have a damaging impact on the local economy and will contribute to the slow death of our villages.”

Jane Ballinger said:  “I have used the bus number 60 for many years now.  I currently work at the Oswestry Orthopaedic hospital and have done for over five years.  I am partially sighted so will never be able to drive.

“I used to catch the 60 in Glyn Ceiriog at 07:50 to take me via Chirk, via Gobowen and stopping at the Orthopaedic before going on to Osewstry. In the evenings I stay a little late in work catching the No 60 home at 17:46 at the hospital, back through Gobowen, Chirk and back to Glyn Ceiriog.

“The Number 60 was discontinued and these are the alternatives.  I currently start work at 8:20/08:25 when I arrive and usually finish at 17:00 but I stay a little later to catch the bus so work til 17:30.

As WCBC recommended I contacted Travelline Cymru.

Here are copies of the live chat I had with their operators:

The Morning
Hello Jane . My name is Phill how can I help you?

Jane says:  Thank you Phil. I currently travel on the no 60 bus from Glyn Ceiriog at 07:50 am directly to the orthopaedic hospital near Gobowen. This service is being discontinued next week and I need an alternative way of getting to the hospital from 19/05/14. Please can you advise?

Phill says:  looking at the timetables for after the 18/05/2014 the bus service does discontinue but the only alternative route would mean traveling to Chirk and Oswestry first and getting another bus to gobowen but would not arrive until 08;50 at Gobowen

Jane says: Can you tell me which buses I have to catch and where from please?

Phill says:  yes it’s a bus service 64 with Bryn Melyn buses at 07;55am from New Road Glyn Ceiriog to Chirk getting there at 08;10am , then the Bus 2 with Arriva bus leaving Chirk to Oswestry at 08;15am getting to Oswestry at 08;35am and the bus 2a leaves Oswestry to Gobowen at 08;42am and you would be in Gobowen by 08;50am

Phill says:  gobowen at 08;50am

Jane says:  Thank you for your help. Hope you have a pleasant day.

“So I will be a minimum of 30 minutes late.”

The Evening
Hi Chris. I currently catch the no 60 bus at 17:46 from the Oswestry Orthopaedic hospital to take me back to Glyn Ceiriog in the evenings. This bus is being continued on Sunday. Can you give me an alternative way of getting home from Monday onwards?
Chris says:
  I’ll have a look for you now.
Chris says:
  The latest possible journey from Monday onwards, will start from the hospital at 17:02, and will involve changing buses in Oswestry, and again in Chirk.
Chris says:

  Would you like the full details for that journey?
jane says:
  Yes please –
jane says:

  Also is there a bus that could get me to chirk after the 17:02 as this is a ittle early
Chris says:
  I’m afraid there is no later journey available.
Chris says:
  You would need to catch the Arriva Midlands service 2 from the ‘Pentre Clawdd Junction’ bus stop near the hospital at 17:02. That will get you to Oswestry Bus Station at 17:08.
Chris says:

  Then, catch the Arriva Midlands service 2A from Stand 1 in Oswestry Bus Station at 17:12. It will get you to the Hand Hotel in Chirk at 17:31.
Chris says:
  Finally, catch the Bryn Melyn service 64 from the Hand Hotel at 18:06. You will arrive in Glyn Ceiriog at 18:20.
Chris says:
  Is there anything else I can help you with?
jane says:
  So there is no later bus from the hospital to Chirk?
Chris says:
  I’m afraid that there will be no later journeys available from Monday onwards.
Chris says:
  The only way you could travel later is if you find alternative transport to Oswestry Bus Station.
jane says:

  Thank you for your help.

 

“So basically, I cannot get home, Even if I left my office at 5 o’clock I couldn’t get to the bus stop by two minutes passed: without cutting my hours at work I cannot use public transport and continue to work as I do.

“I could potentially lose my job and my home because of this.  Subsidised bus services surely were for exactly this purpose so people in rural areas had as much chance as anyone else of being able to get to work to pay their taxes and contribute to the economy.  I am heartbroken by this news.  I am lucky to have friends who will help ferry me back and to, however, it shouldn’t be like this, I should have the opportunity to get to work myself.     The No 60 only did these two journeys to Oswestry 6 days a week, surely stopping this can’t be saving a huge amount.  I am willing to see the posts of Mayor and Mayoress cut….  they don’t get me to work and I am sure this would generate a large saving for the council.

“I would be very sorry to leave the orthopaedic, I love my job and have a fantastic set of colleagues.   Similarly, I cannot just leave the job as bills, mortgage etc still have to be paid.”

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