A DISPUTE has broken out between two bus operators in Cwmbran over access to the shopping centre’s bus station.

Phil Anslow & Sons Coaches have claimed they only have access to one of eight stands available in the bus station after Stagecoach entered into a new lease with Prudential, who owns the land.

Stagecoach have said they do not control the allocation of bus stand spaces at the bus station and went through the proper process of applying for stand spaces.

Phil Anslow, director of Phil Anslow & Sons Coaches, said they are a small company and feel they are being bullied by Stagecoach and Prudential.

He claimed they have locked operators out of the station, giving Stagecoach a monopoly.

Mr Anslow added: “We are looking for a bit of fairness. Can you imagine a situation where Prudential said Asda ‘you can have all the shops in Cwmbran centre except for one’?

“What we are looking for is support to fight the small man’s corner. We have had to withdraw services out of Cwmbran – we have cut five services because we had nowhere to put them.”

Initially Stagecoach took them to court for trespass after one of their buses used one of their stands, he continued.

Phil Anslow & Sons Coaches then argued the lease was illegal because it is anti-competitive.

Mr Anslow said they will be in court in May, when they will argue the allocation of the bus stands is based on an illegal and anticompetitive agreement that preserves Stagecoach’s dominance.

In a statement, Mr Anslow said: “Stagecoach, the near-monopoly provider of bus services in the area, entered into leases with Prudential that constrained Stagecoach’s competitors to the use of just one of only eight stands available in the bus station.

“This goes against the clear UK law that prohibits dominant companies from entering into exclusive arrangements that have as their object and/or effect the foreclosure of competition.”

A Stagecoach South Wales spokesman said they do not control the allocation of bus stand spaces at the bus station. He added: “However, we went through the proper process of applying for stand spaces in the same way as any other operator.

“The level of stands that we applied for and pay for reflects the extensive local bus services that we operate for the local community and there is no spare capacity on these slots.

“It is important for the smooth running of the bus station and services for local people that the arrangements in place are properly respected.”

A spokesman from M&G Real Estate, the real estate investment arm of Prudential, said they continue to liaise with all operators at the bus station, and have attempted to engage in constructive negotiations throughout.

He added that, given the ongoing legal case, it would be inappropriate to comment further.