Frustrated passengers have called on Arriva to provide an additional bus service at peak time after a number of workers have been left “stranded”, with Arriva telling us they are not adverse to tendering for the route “if the council decide that it is required”.
The 41/41a service has been operated by Arriva Buses Wales since the closure of Acrefair-based D Jones & Son in mid December.
The company had 20 buses covering a number of routes across the county borough. However the sudden closure left a number of communities and bus routes without transport.
Just days after the closure of D Jones & Son, Wrexham Council announced that alternative providers had been secured for four routes – including the 41 through the Wrexham Industrial Estate, which has been operated by Arriva since December 19th.
The route has since been operated by Arriva Buses Wales, however as readers who keep an eye on the @Wrexham twitter feed embedded on here will know there has been criticism from some passengers over the lack of bus service at peak time in the evenings – along with some buses being very busy – along with some praise for running the service!
On Wednesday a petition was launched calling on Arriva Buses Wales to provide a bus between 5pm and 6pm from the Wrexham Industrial Estate – noting that the current provision means some workers are left stranded for over an hour with the current service either being a little to early or too late based around common working hours.
The petition states: “Following the cessation of D Jones & Son, Arriva Buses Wales have registered the 41/41a bus service to/from the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
“However, the new timetable has no return bus during rush hour (between 5pm and 6pm) to Wrexham town centre from one of the largest industrial estates in Europe.
“There is a bus at 4.50pm and then nothing until 6.10pm. This means anyone finishing work at 5pm must wait over an hour just to get into Wrexham town centre.
“So far, some people have been stranded due to missed connections, have walked miles home in the cold due to no suitable services, have had to change their working hours (assuming they’re able to), or have been forced to rely on the kindness of relatives or co-workers to give lifts just to get home.
“Not only has the bus frequency drastically reduced to one bus per hour since the cessation of D Jones & Son but the bus fares are more expensive. As such, it is short-sighted for an Industrial Estate route to completely miss out the crucial rush-hour on a route predominantly servicing employees commuting to and from work.
“Please sign this petition if you or someone you know is affected by this and would like to see a rush-hour bus reinstated! Hopefully, if the demand is there Arriva will rethink the timetable.
But Arriva Buses Wales say it is operating the service on a temporary basis and currently is not operating on a full contract with Wrexham Council.
A spokesperson from Arriva told Wrexham.com : “After D Jones ceased trading, Arriva decided to operate one Route 41 per hour on a temporary basis to ensure that a service remained in the short term and to see if it was commercially viable for the longer term.
“We do not currently operate it on a contract with Wrexham County Borough Council but would potentially tender for the contract if the council decide that it is required.”
We asked Wrexham Council what discussions had taken place with Arriva and if there were any plans to tender for a permanent operator for the industrial estate route.
Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We have noted the on-line petition, but I should note that that – as with all commercial bus operations – timetables are a matter for the providers.
“To be fair, Arriva has provided additional routes at short notice following the cessation of D Jones and Sons. We have regular meetings with Arriva Buses and will bring this to their attention.
“We are aware of the loss of bus services and officers are still working to fill the gaps. I have also written to the Cabinet Secretary, Ken Skates AM, and my counterpart Lead Members at Flintshire and Denbighshire, to note our concerns regarding local bus services across the region.”