VARTEG coach company Phil Anslow and Sons has saved the route 30 bus service which was due to be axed later this month.

The family-run company is taking over the route, which was due to be slashed by Stagecoach, following 10 per cent cuts in Wales.

Stagecoach also said it was discontinuing or reducing the frequency of a number of services, due to ‘drastic’ cuts in investment by the Welsh Government.

Route 30 Brynmawr to Cwmbran was one of those which would be withdrawn, it was said

But now, Phil Anslow and Sons, which has been operating for 35 years, will take over the route from July 21.

Company owner, Phil Anslow, said they had actually operated the contract before Stagecoach took it over.

He said: “As we are locally based we operate a lot of local services and after we saw the media coverage about the cuts, we saw it as an opportunity to expand our current services and help the people that would be affected.”

The bus route has been split into two, with service 30, running between Blaenavon, Pontypool and Cwmbran and service 31, running between Forgeside, Blaenavon and Brynmawr.

The company have taken on three new drivers so that they can deliver the service.

Mr Anslow said: “Splitting the service will make it more reliable for people, as a shorter distance means there is less chance of disruption from traffic that impacts on the running of the service.”

Mr Anslow, whose sonsChris and Kevin Anslow are both drivers at the company, and traffic manager, Terry Wyburn, consulted with Torfaen council to take over the route. The council also agreed to part subsidise the service.

The executive member for neighbourhoods, cllr John Cunningham, said: “It is fantastic to see a well-established local company step in to take over the operation.”

Route 23 Varteg Hill to Newport was also due to be reduced by Stagecoach but they are currently continuing to run a half-hourly service, albeit which terminates in Cwmbran instead of Newport.

The plans to cut services raised major concern among the community.

Blaenavon resident Christine Lee said she could have cried when she heard the news, calling the service her “lifeline”.