North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called for a Welsh Government Statement on local bus services following the demise of Acrefair-based bus company D.Jones and Son before Christmas.
Raising the matter in Monday’s Business Statement, Mr Isherwood referred to the concerns of local residents and said a Statement is needed to reflect these concerns and give residents some assurances that they are being listened to.
“Can I call for a Statement on local bus services? This follows the announcement on 16 December, Saturday, that Acrefair-based bus company D. Jones and Son were ceasing trading, two months after being the subject of scrutiny by the Traffic Commissioner for Wales at Public Enquiry.
“No doubt like others, I received concerns from affected residents who had lost local bus services, asking for help in replacement of bus links. I submitted a Written Question to the Cabinet Secretary two days later, on the following Monday.
“I’m still waiting for a reply to that. I also contacted Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Environment and Transport, who told me that Officers were continuing to look at options, but this is difficult as a number of operators have ceased across the region; that despite the Cabinet Secretary’s (Ken Skates) Bus Summit, they’d seen no tangible actions coming forward; and that having attended two to three bus workshops, this was most certainly a wider issue across Wales.
“The Cabinet Secretary held his Bus Summit a year ago, in January 2017, stating that this was to halt the demise of the industry, following the collapse of Ruabon-based GHA coaches the previous summer.
“So, given the concerns being raised not only by affected residents, who often are on commercial rather than on commissioned routes, and given concerns being expressed that, still, no tangible actions are coming forward from the bus summit and subsequent workshops, I would welcome a Statement to reflect their concerns and hopefully give them some assurance that they’re being listened to.”
The Leader of the House Julie James AM replied: “In terms of the local bus services point, he raises a very important point. He did say he was awaiting an answer to his Written Question, and I would suggest that the Member waits to see what the answer to the Written Question is, and if there is a more general point that he then wishes to raise with the Cabinet Secretary that would be of interest to the entire Senedd, I’m sure that the Cabinet Secretary will be prepared to look at that, since it is a year since the bus summit took place.”