‘Absolute disgrace’: Residents have been left ‘high and dry’ as a Gwynedd bus service is set to be temporarily cut due to issues finding a buyer for a new electric route. 

A company to take over the contract to run evening journeys on the 3B, which runs between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog, is yet to be found which has resulted in Lloyds Coaches running a reduced timetable from next Monday (31 July). 

The service is subsidised by Gwynedd Council and those reacting to the alterations on social media have criticised the authority for not resolving the issues before the tender expired, leaving people ‘in the lurch’. 

The problems stem from difficulties finding a purchaser for the contract to operate the new T22 electric service – which would replace the 3B bus and has been heralded as a modern solution to the loss of services in rural Gwynedd. 

The reduction to the 3B bus is particularly concerning for those who rely on the service to get home in the evenings. 

It comes despite rural bus services in Gwynedd and Ceredigion receiving a lifeline after the Welsh Government pledged £46million to avoid ‘mass cancellation’ of national routes struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Blaenau resident David Jones told the Cambrian News: “It’s an absolute disgrace. It’s part of the problem that the council can't secure a tender for the electric T22 service which is a year and a half behind schedule. 

“There is no bus from Porthmadog to Blaenau after 16.40 or from Blaenau to Porthmadog after 17.20. 

“Some are in danger of losing their jobs due to this. They have been left high and dry.  

“The timetable was rubbish before now it has got worse, and no one knows when or if the electric bus service is starting.” 

Lloyds Coaches announced the changes on Facebook and said the council would reveal who was taking over the tender soon. 

A spokesperson said: “Due to a delay in the award of the new T22 contract we have revised the timetable for Service 3B starting on Monday, 31 July. 

“Evening journeys on the 3B are currently out for tender by Cyngor Gwynedd Council, we will inform you of these when we find out.” 

A Cyngor Gwynedd spokesperson said: “We are working with Transport for Wales to establish a new TrawsCymru T22 bus service running between Blaenau Ffestiniog – Porthmadog – Caernarfon.

"This will substantially improve the travel options for Gwynedd residents and provide direct links to key services at Ysbyty Alltwen as well as journeys to/from Caernarfon without the need to change buses at Porthmadog.  

"However, a service provider has not yet been contracted following an extensive tender process and there may be the possibility of re-entering the tender process should we not reach an agreement in current negotiations. 

"Service 3B operating between Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog was due to be replaced by the T22 service and a cancellation of the service was submitted to the Traffic Commissioner, in good faith, to coincide with the introduction of the new TrawsCymru route.

"The 3B service has been temporarily and partially reinstated by Lloyds Coaches to provide continuity of service whilst we are working on launching the T22. Unfortunately, we did not reach an agreement with the current operator to continue with the evening journeys and Cyngor Gwynedd officers are working with other local operators, the local elected members and the voluntary sector to find viable alternatives as a temporary solution.  

“As a Council, we appreciate how frustrating the current situation is for local people and visitors alike, who depend on the bus service for work, education and leisure. We continue to be in negotiations with local companies and we are confident to be able to launch the new all-electric T22 service as soon as possible.” 

On social media, a resident said: “Myself and a number of others work until 8pm or later. How are we supposed to get home?  

“Not everyone has access to lifts and taxis are prohibitively expensive particularly over that distance. 

“Also, plenty of people on day trips, shopping trips and who have been out visiting friends or family or out for the evening use the evening buses.” 

Another said: “The tender should have gone out before stopping the service surely. People are relying on these buses.”