Stagecoach cuts Gwent bus services

Free Press Series: Stagecoach cuts Gwent bus services Stagecoach cuts Gwent bus services

BLAENAU Gwent and Monmouthshire will bear the brunt of cuts to bus operator Stagecoach’s South Wales services, it was revealed today.

Stagecoach the changes are the result of “drastic cuts” in investment by the Welsh Government.

John Gould, Managing Director of Stagecoach in South Wales, said: “Make no mistake – ultimate responsibility for the loss of bus services and jobs lies firmly at the door of the Welsh Government following years of cuts to bus investment.

He said the company "deeply regrets" the impact this will have on their customers and communities. "Instead of protecting and supporting bus travel, ministers’ misguided decisions have dealt a body blow to the country’s public transport network and wider economy. People across Wales have repeatedly warned the government about the consequences of their actions, but sadly they have refused to listen.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “This is extremely disappointing news. The new reimbursement rate for operators in the concessionary bus fare scheme was set following an independent review to ensure operators such as Stagecoach were “no better and no worse off” by taking part.

"We continue to work with the Confederation of Passenger Transport to deliver a sustainable bus industry in Wales.”

Monmouthshire will see services between Newport, Underwood and Chepstow being withdrawn. In Blaenau Gwent the 30 from Brynmawr to Cwmbran is also being axed.

The company is also consulting with trade union representatives over the planned closure of its Brynmawr depot from July. The depot currently employs 77 staff and operates around 30 vehicles.

SERVICE AXED:

Risca
Route X16 Risca to Cardiff

Rhymney Valley
Route 7 Blackwood - Ystrad Mynach – Pontypridd
Route C16 Caerphilly to Nelson
Route C17 Bargoed to Caerphilly
Route 538 Blackwood to Penybryn

Torfaen & Severnside
Route 30 Brynmawr to Cwmbran
Route 64 Newport to Underwood
Route 74 Newport to Chepstow
Route X74 Newport to Chepstow
Route 60 Newport to Usk

REDUCTIONS:

Blaenau Gwent
Route X15 - Brynmawr to Newport (from every 30mins to hourly) Newport
Route R1 - Risca to Newport (from every 20mins to 30mins)

Torfaen & Severnside
Route 23 - Newport to Varteg Hill (from every 30mins to hourly)

Comments (21)

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4:38pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Ian (Mac) MacKinlay says...

How else do you expect to fund the bus service from Cardiff to the Carwyn Jones Airport?

Come on now. Be reasonable. Get things in perspective.
How else do you expect to fund the bus service from Cardiff to the Carwyn Jones Airport? Come on now. Be reasonable. Get things in perspective. Ian (Mac) MacKinlay
  • Score: 15

4:44pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Abertillery29 says...

What did WAG expect? They are throwing our money around like confetti.
What did WAG expect? They are throwing our money around like confetti. Abertillery29
  • Score: 15

7:58pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Magor says...

Good news,fed up with the smoking wrecks coming down my street empty.
Good news,fed up with the smoking wrecks coming down my street empty. Magor
  • Score: -15

9:13pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Llanmartin mum says...

Llanmartin says
What about the people who can't drive?. What about people with children or older people?. How are they supposed to get to Newport or to keep hospital appointments?
Llanmartin says What about the people who can't drive?. What about people with children or older people?. How are they supposed to get to Newport or to keep hospital appointments? Llanmartin mum
  • Score: 17

9:45pm Thu 17 Apr 14

cath 872 says...

Magor - some of us non drivers need these 'smoking wrecks' to get to work. NIMBY eh?
Magor - some of us non drivers need these 'smoking wrecks' to get to work. NIMBY eh? cath 872
  • Score: 18

10:18pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Manley says...

Looks like more traffic for the M4...
Looks like more traffic for the M4... Manley
  • Score: 6

10:43pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Bobevans says...

To clarify this Stagecoach are axing these routes. It is possible that some many be picked up and run on a commercial basis by other operators and some may be put out to contract by the local councils

There are likely to be further cuts to bus services. This is only the start. The major problem is the amount of funding the bus companies get for the Free bus passes is not adequate to fund the current level of services

May be an annual charge should be made for the passes. Those not paying tax say make no payment. Basic rate taxpayers say £50 a year. Higher rate taxpayers £70 a year
To clarify this Stagecoach are axing these routes. It is possible that some many be picked up and run on a commercial basis by other operators and some may be put out to contract by the local councils There are likely to be further cuts to bus services. This is only the start. The major problem is the amount of funding the bus companies get for the Free bus passes is not adequate to fund the current level of services May be an annual charge should be made for the passes. Those not paying tax say make no payment. Basic rate taxpayers say £50 a year. Higher rate taxpayers £70 a year Bobevans
  • Score: -3

1:00am Fri 18 Apr 14

JossexMaindee says...

I don't drive so buses are essential for me. I don't live in Newport either now, though I used to, and until very recently when she passed away I used to come to Newport regularly, by train, and get the 60 to Monmouth to see my auntie in a nursing home. Monmouth isn't actually mentioned, so maybe the bus just bypasses Usk, though I can't see that's going to save a lot of money. Anyway, the point is that non-drivers need buses for many reasons, work, shopping, hospitals, visiting relations....
I don't drive so buses are essential for me. I don't live in Newport either now, though I used to, and until very recently when she passed away I used to come to Newport regularly, by train, and get the 60 to Monmouth to see my auntie in a nursing home. Monmouth isn't actually mentioned, so maybe the bus just bypasses Usk, though I can't see that's going to save a lot of money. Anyway, the point is that non-drivers need buses for many reasons, work, shopping, hospitals, visiting relations.... JossexMaindee
  • Score: 13

8:32am Fri 18 Apr 14

Nivage says...

Magor wrote:
Good news,fed up with the smoking wrecks coming down my street empty.
I'm guessing Magor lives somewhere around Withy Walk, seeming that's the only place in Magor that the 74 leaves the main road. Lets just hope you never have to rely on the bus due to poor health or financial difficulties. As for them being smoking wrecks. We do have much newer and cleaner buses but think the old wrecks fit in with your area better. Have a nice day and mind you don't trip. It's quite difficult driving with your arm in plaster and soon you won't have a bus to catch.
[quote][p][bold]Magor[/bold] wrote: Good news,fed up with the smoking wrecks coming down my street empty.[/p][/quote]I'm guessing Magor lives somewhere around Withy Walk, seeming that's the only place in Magor that the 74 leaves the main road. Lets just hope you never have to rely on the bus due to poor health or financial difficulties. As for them being smoking wrecks. We do have much newer and cleaner buses but think the old wrecks fit in with your area better. Have a nice day and mind you don't trip. It's quite difficult driving with your arm in plaster and soon you won't have a bus to catch. Nivage
  • Score: 18

9:35am Fri 18 Apr 14

rmh1989 says...

the picture used is absolutely ancient. probably not from this century
the picture used is absolutely ancient. probably not from this century rmh1989
  • Score: 8

11:18am Fri 18 Apr 14

heresphil says...

I wonder if Stagecoach are being disingenuous here. They only took over the running of the X16 from Newport Bus in January. It's already a tendered route. They knew of the financial settlement from the WAG back then so why take over a route only to then axe it?

By the way, the 60 is not run by Stagecoach at all but by Town and Country so what is that doing on the list?
I wonder if Stagecoach are being disingenuous here. They only took over the running of the X16 from Newport Bus in January. It's already a tendered route. They knew of the financial settlement from the WAG back then so why take over a route only to then axe it? By the way, the 60 is not run by Stagecoach at all but by Town and Country so what is that doing on the list? heresphil
  • Score: 9

12:26pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Llanmartin mum says...

After contacting Stagecoach I have received an email this morning confirming that the services affected will be axed or reduced from 20th July, 2014
After contacting Stagecoach I have received an email this morning confirming that the services affected will be axed or reduced from 20th July, 2014 Llanmartin mum
  • Score: 3

12:34pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Aquarius says...

I believe the Service 60 Stagecoach operate is a one trip each way service (AM/PM) between Newport and Usk, probably to coincide with college journeys.

I was under the impression that the 30 between Cwmbran and Brynmawr was subsidised by the council between Pontypool and Brynmawr?

Not terribly surprised at the Newport - Chepstow cuts; Stagecoach has been slowly cutting back in Monmouthsire for years and even casual observations show that the services are not getting the customers (poor quality buses too). I would have thought there might be a commercial opportunity for another operator but not on a half hourly basis. (First Bristol operate an hourly Newport - Chepstow - Bristol Express but that runs non-stop between Newport and Chepstow, so people in between (Caldicot, Magor etc) aren't accomodated.

Perhaps people who swallow the Welsh Government's line that they fully support public transport might like to reconsider! They are keen for voters to know that they'll still get unrestricted use of their free passes (for now anyway) but rather cynically are also fully aware that behind the scenes cuts in their support mean that bus companies will have to cut back. So there are less services to use the passes on. Nice one, WG. But you can only fool some of the people some of the time, etc etc...

And Stagecoach aren't entirely blameless. Some of this is no doubt politically targetted, and a useful smokescreen to cut some services (And an entire depot) that probably were operationally were being considered for cuts anyway. But that doesn't mean that other operators aren't also having to cut services right across Wales. So much for socially inclusive Labour, eh?
I believe the Service 60 Stagecoach operate is a one trip each way service (AM/PM) between Newport and Usk, probably to coincide with college journeys. I was under the impression that the 30 between Cwmbran and Brynmawr was subsidised by the council between Pontypool and Brynmawr? Not terribly surprised at the Newport - Chepstow cuts; Stagecoach has been slowly cutting back in Monmouthsire for years and even casual observations show that the services are not getting the customers (poor quality buses too). I would have thought there might be a commercial opportunity for another operator but not on a half hourly basis. (First Bristol operate an hourly Newport - Chepstow - Bristol Express but that runs non-stop between Newport and Chepstow, so people in between (Caldicot, Magor etc) aren't accomodated. Perhaps people who swallow the Welsh Government's line that they fully support public transport might like to reconsider! They are keen for voters to know that they'll still get unrestricted use of their free passes (for now anyway) but rather cynically are also fully aware that behind the scenes cuts in their support mean that bus companies will have to cut back. So there are less services to use the passes on. Nice one, WG. But you can only fool some of the people some of the time, etc etc... And Stagecoach aren't entirely blameless. Some of this is no doubt politically targetted, and a useful smokescreen to cut some services (And an entire depot) that probably were operationally were being considered for cuts anyway. But that doesn't mean that other operators aren't also having to cut services right across Wales. So much for socially inclusive Labour, eh? Aquarius
  • Score: 11

3:41pm Fri 18 Apr 14

chelsea fatboy says...

How about some of the local authorities look into who get free passes, its no wonder routes don`t make any money when the majority of passengers don`t pay.
I would be interested to know why people that work get on a bus and just swipe their card.

On the service cutbacks, I see that yet again the long suffering customers on the R1 Route get further reductions to the service while the 151 Route remains unscathed despite its endless poor timekeeping
How about some of the local authorities look into who get free passes, its no wonder routes don`t make any money when the majority of passengers don`t pay. I would be interested to know why people that work get on a bus and just swipe their card. On the service cutbacks, I see that yet again the long suffering customers on the R1 Route get further reductions to the service while the 151 Route remains unscathed despite its endless poor timekeeping chelsea fatboy
  • Score: 4

5:49pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Aquarius says...

chelsea fatboy wrote:
How about some of the local authorities look into who get free passes, its no wonder routes don`t make any money when the majority of passengers don`t pay.
I would be interested to know why people that work get on a bus and just swipe their card.

On the service cutbacks, I see that yet again the long suffering customers on the R1 Route get further reductions to the service while the 151 Route remains unscathed despite its endless poor timekeeping
Because local authorities just issue the passes according to laid down criteria (age and some disability related factors).

Policy regarding passes is a matter for the Welsh Government itself. It could be argued that free passes - and probably stuff like universal free prescriptions - are the only reason that many people actually vote Labour any more. They always put these items front and centre of their election campaigns, hinting that voting for anyone else would put them in jeopardy.

Far better to keep stumping up for free passes, and then quietly cut funding for transport so that there are less buses to use them on, hence they'll still make savings. And of course, they hope it's local councils and the bus operators that will get the blame.
[quote][p][bold]chelsea fatboy[/bold] wrote: How about some of the local authorities look into who get free passes, its no wonder routes don`t make any money when the majority of passengers don`t pay. I would be interested to know why people that work get on a bus and just swipe their card. On the service cutbacks, I see that yet again the long suffering customers on the R1 Route get further reductions to the service while the 151 Route remains unscathed despite its endless poor timekeeping[/p][/quote]Because local authorities just issue the passes according to laid down criteria (age and some disability related factors). Policy regarding passes is a matter for the Welsh Government itself. It could be argued that free passes - and probably stuff like universal free prescriptions - are the only reason that many people actually vote Labour any more. They always put these items front and centre of their election campaigns, hinting that voting for anyone else would put them in jeopardy. Far better to keep stumping up for free passes, and then quietly cut funding for transport so that there are less buses to use them on, hence they'll still make savings. And of course, they hope it's local councils and the bus operators that will get the blame. Aquarius
  • Score: 6

6:18pm Fri 18 Apr 14

cath 872 says...

At the risk being slated, I see it as unfair that working people should get free bus passes. I paid £497 six weeks ago for an annual bus pass on Stagecoach, and that only covers Newport. I could barely afford that, and a holiday is now out of the question - again. I work full time on less than seven pounds an hour and would love to travel for free. I think that these free passes should only be available if you are no longer working or unable to. I know some people will say "I've worked all my life, I deserve it", etc., but I've worked for over 30 years and another 15 to go....
At the risk being slated, I see it as unfair that working people should get free bus passes. I paid £497 six weeks ago for an annual bus pass on Stagecoach, and that only covers Newport. I could barely afford that, and a holiday is now out of the question - again. I work full time on less than seven pounds an hour and would love to travel for free. I think that these free passes should only be available if you are no longer working or unable to. I know some people will say "I've worked all my life, I deserve it", etc., but I've worked for over 30 years and another 15 to go.... cath 872
  • Score: 7

6:57pm Fri 18 Apr 14

Aquarius says...

Cath, I see your exactly what you're saying and I agree. Personally I think pass holders should pay a small charge per journey, OR pay a yearly charge for their pass.

They're currently issued to people over 60 (or disabled people). Should the age limit be raised? I think it probably should be. The original thinking I suppose was that predominantly retired people would avail of the passes, but most people now have to carry on working til they drop and I would imagine that a number of people in employment are using passes. But many of those would also claim they can't afford bus travel otherwise.

Its a difficult issue. I think unrestricted 'free' travel is unaffordable. And when the Government cut the rate at which the bus operators are reimbursed for carrying each pass holder, it seems the whole thing needs looking at again.
Cath, I see your exactly what you're saying and I agree. Personally I think pass holders should pay a small charge per journey, OR pay a yearly charge for their pass. They're currently issued to people over 60 (or disabled people). Should the age limit be raised? I think it probably should be. The original thinking I suppose was that predominantly retired people would avail of the passes, but most people now have to carry on working til they drop and I would imagine that a number of people in employment are using passes. But many of those would also claim they can't afford bus travel otherwise. Its a difficult issue. I think unrestricted 'free' travel is unaffordable. And when the Government cut the rate at which the bus operators are reimbursed for carrying each pass holder, it seems the whole thing needs looking at again. Aquarius
  • Score: 4

9:23pm Fri 18 Apr 14

cath 872 says...

Aquarius - Thank you for your comments. I got shouted at in work, once, for suggesting something similar to the above!
Aquarius - Thank you for your comments. I got shouted at in work, once, for suggesting something similar to the above! cath 872
  • Score: 4

9:06am Sun 20 Apr 14

emmaw86 says...

I live in Caldicot and use the 74/x74 service, I could understand them reducing the service but axing it completely!? So all we'll be left with are the few evening buses that are run by Newport Bus, and an occassional , extortionate First service? Nice!
I live in Caldicot and use the 74/x74 service, I could understand them reducing the service but axing it completely!? So all we'll be left with are the few evening buses that are run by Newport Bus, and an occassional , extortionate First service? Nice! emmaw86
  • Score: 5

10:46am Sun 20 Apr 14

ross45 says...

My son works in Magor for Monmouthshire County Council if the 74 and 74X are axed he will not be able to get to work. Has Stagecoach considered the workers at all, not everybody drives.
My son works in Magor for Monmouthshire County Council if the 74 and 74X are axed he will not be able to get to work. Has Stagecoach considered the workers at all, not everybody drives. ross45
  • Score: 7

2:16pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Aquarius says...

I would imagine there is commercial potential for someone to operate a Chepstow - Newport service on that corridor. Possibly even Newport Bus. But I doubt it would be a half hourly service. We shall have to wait and see. The various cuts by the Welsh Government don't help encourage operators now to take a chance on setting up new routes.

Failing that, I imagine that Newport and Monmouthshire Councils could put together some sort of subsidised service, but again the issue of funding. Thanks to the WG money for transport is very tight indeed.

But those ol' cynics in Cardiff Bay think that if you've still got your 'free' pass, you won't blame THEM for the cuts in service and that you'll blame the operator. Which is of course what a lot of people are doing.

Some people need to wake up and see that the fault lies with champagne socialists who wouldn't know how to travel on a bus if it parked outside their front door. And mediocre ministers like Edwina Hart. Anyone remember her p*** poor performance as Health Minister?
I would imagine there is commercial potential for someone to operate a Chepstow - Newport service on that corridor. Possibly even Newport Bus. But I doubt it would be a half hourly service. We shall have to wait and see. The various cuts by the Welsh Government don't help encourage operators now to take a chance on setting up new routes. Failing that, I imagine that Newport and Monmouthshire Councils could put together some sort of subsidised service, but again the issue of funding. Thanks to the WG money for transport is very tight indeed. But those ol' cynics in Cardiff Bay think that if you've still got your 'free' pass, you won't blame THEM for the cuts in service and that you'll blame the operator. Which is of course what a lot of people are doing. Some people need to wake up and see that the fault lies with champagne socialists who wouldn't know how to travel on a bus if it parked outside their front door. And mediocre ministers like Edwina Hart. Anyone remember her p*** poor performance as Health Minister? Aquarius
  • Score: 3

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