POOR transport links in Ebbw Vale and the surrounding areas are being blamed for business closures and overcrowding at schools.

Residents of Ebbw Vale attended a panel discussion at the Ebbw Vale Institute on Thursday to hear more about Transport for Wales (TfW) and the Valleys Taskforce’s ambitions.

Concerns were raised about the lack of buses going in and out of the town and the impact it is having on residents.


Steve Roberts, who owns Cwmglo café and shop with his wife, said that bus service cuts have led to a 50 percent decrease in footfall.

He said: “I am the chairman of the Ebbw Vale business community and at the last meeting it was indicated that at least six of the businesses would fold after Christmas and the New Year, the footfall has been hit so dramatically.

“From our point of view, we are finishing, we are folding now after Christmas and moving to an authority that can actually support the transport system to make us viable.”

Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies, who led the panel discussion said that the reduction in services had a large impact on footfall, viability and vitality of the town centre.

Shannon Robinson, development officer at Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said children are having to move schools to those with transport provisions.

She said: “The transport issues are knocked-on to the provisions in school because they are moving schools and that’s overcrowding the schools that do have transport and then underfunding the schools that don’t.

“The community transport is the key to joining up the mainstream transport links. You see a lot of community transport in the rural areas, but you don’t see a lot of it in the valleys.

“We need a far more co-ordinated approach for those that are looking at how it has impacted socially on our community.”

Christine Boston, who is the director for Wales and UK at the Community Transport Association, said: “Some communities have nothing, the bus routes have moved, there’s no taxi service, they’ve very much reliant on community transport.”

The chief operating officer for TfW Andy Thomas said that he understood the challenges and it required everyone working together from the Welsh Government to community transport.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We know that affordable and reliable public transport is one of the top priorities for communities in the Valleys.

“This is something that has come through very strongly in the work Transport for Wales has been doing through the Valleys Taskforce and the roadshow events they have held recently.

“That work has brought together representatives from across the sector, including bodies such as the Community Transport Association, The Confederation of Passenger Transport, local authorities as well as Sustrans.

“Following the final engagement event, it will be looking at ideas for how we can make the best of the major investments being made by the Welsh Government over the next few years – including through Metro – to integrate public transport more effectively across the Valleys and improve access to jobs, education and vital services.”

Blaenau Gwent council has been approached for a comment.