A group looking to improve bus services in Ceredigion is proposing the creation of what they call a ‘Strategic Transport Body.’
The Ceredigion Bus Action Group said the Strategic Transport Body would be made up of Ceredigion bus passengers, as well as councillors and officers from Ceredigion’s Transport Department.
Members of the body would meet to discuss the needs of bus users across the county and how its members can meet those needs.
The idea was raised as part of the group’s bus action day, which took place on 16 September and was attended 100 people, including Ceredigion MP Ben Lake and members of Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth University’s Transport and Health Integrated Research Network (THINK).
The event invited attendees to share their thoughts about how bus services in Ceredigion could be improved.
Ceredigion Bus Action group member Elly Foster said: “On the action day, someone said that what we have in Ceredigion is a ‘bits and bobs’ bus service – a variety of services run by different bodies with different responsibilities.
“These services don’t link up, and they are not running at the times when passengers need them.
“The strategic body will give us a comprehensive strategy that meets the needs of Ceredigion bus users.
“It will also make it easier for bus users to raise points of concern about bus services.
“At the moment it’s too complicated, there are too many bodies and service providers so nobody knows who is responsible for what.”
Someone said we have a ‘bits and bobs’ bus service... these services don’t link up, and they are not running at the times when passengers need them.
Elly Foster, Ceredigion Bus Action Group
At the meeting, the success of the Monmouthshire Strategic Transport Body was discussed – a body which was set up after a bus action group in the area successfully lobbied to stop the cancellation of the county’s number 65 bus route.
Monmouthshire Strategic Transport Body delegates a variety of different roles to its members, such as ensuring there is someone in each town along the 65 route who promotes bus use and maintains the bus stop in their town.
Elly said: “The passengers there are heavily involved in advertising the service, and hosting all sorts of activities to raise the profile of the bus.
“They make sure that all bus service times are up to date, and that bus stations are maintained.
“The whole image of bus use there is positive, whereas here, there is a lot of negativity. That’s why I feel we need to copy what they are doing.”
Other topics were discussed at the bus action day such as what attendees’ vision of Ceredigion bus services in five years would be, as well as whether there are alternatives to buses which could meet Ceredigion bus user’s transport needs.
A full list of the topics discussed and the recommendations made on the day have been compiled into a report and sent to Ceredigion County Council transport officers.