ABERSYCHAN residents have expressed concerns over bus services being cut in the area.

From Sunday, November 3, the 23 service will be cut to operate between Newport and Pontypool. The service currently runs up through Pontnewynydd, Abersychan, and Talywain before stopping at Varteg Hill.

Residents are fearing the changes may leave them isolated and trapped in their homes, as many rely on the bus service to get around.

Carol Gulliford, 63, said the changes to the service will contribute to her losing her independence.

"I am semi-disabled, to the point I can’t walk up and down stairs," she said. "When they stop the service that’s me finished. I can’t get out and see people and can’t go to the shops. I won’t be able to do anything for myself, and would have to rely on other people.

"That’s my independence gone out the window.

"A lot of people are in my position as well. My daughter relies on the bus to take her children to school in the mornings and pick them up at the end of the day.

"She’s got a three-year-old so walking isn’t really an option.

"For them to say the bus isn’t being used is ridiculous. Lots of people up this way use it to go to the shops or to go to work.

"I would ask them to think again."

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(Abersychan ward councillor Giles Davies.)

Abersychan ward councillor Giles Davies said the changes to the service could leave residents as "prisoners in their own homes."

"People here rely on public transport in this ward. It's a lifeline for many people," he said.

"It's all very well Stagecoach saying the X24 service is still going to the Varteg and they can still walk to their homes from there, but a lot of the residents here are very elderly. "You can't expect them to walk up Varteg hill.

"It's going to keep a lot of people as prisoners in their own homes.

"Even if there is only four or five people on each bus, it's still providing a vital service.

"The service is now stopping at Pontypool. It's like we have been left out once again. Why should people be punished for living further up in the Valleys?"

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “I have asked Stagecoach to reconsider this decision and am deeply disappointed that they have not done so.

“I am very worried about the residents that this will affect - bus routes are a vital lifeline for many people and these factors should also weigh heavily alongside commercial considerations.

“Even at this last stage, I ask them to think again.”

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach in South Wales said: "The section of Service 23 between Pontypool and Varteg Hill has been running at a loss for some time, with the majority of trips north of Pontypool carrying fewer than three customers per journey.

“When considering the future of the service, Stagecoach met with Torfaen Council to discuss its plans for the service change, and what may be done to minimize the impact of the withdrawal of this section of the 23 route.

“It is through these discussions that the adjustment to their supported Service 10 (Pontypool-Garndiffaith) has been agreed to replace Service 23 along Freeholdland Road, as well as it continuing to operate into the Garndiffaith area to provide those essential connections for residents.

“For the majority of our customers, the frequent X24 service may provide a reasonable alternative from Abersychan and Varteg Hill, providing a more rapid journey to Pontypool and beyond.

“We very much regret that a small number of customers may be inconvenienced by this change, however we can no longer continue to run services that have been loss making for some years."