A Transport for Wales (TfW) consultation on the new Fflecsi bus route to Corris was met with 50 angry residents calling for change.

The Fflecsi service introduced in mid-February, without consultation, came in to replace the scheduled 34 bus connecting Ceinws, Corris, Aberlleffenni and the Centre of Alternative Technology to Machynlleth and Aberystwyth.

According to residents of the Dulas Valley, the change came with little warning and has wreaked havoc on their livelihoods, causing missed doctors' appointments, people forced to regularly leave work early, and having their “independence taken away” those who are unable to navigate the “nightmare” booking system.

At the meeting held by TfW and Cyngor Gwynedd/ Gwynedd County Council representatives on 20 March, residents were left standing at the back, in the doorways and hallway of the Corris Institute to make their voices heard.

Aberllefenni resident Ina De Smet said: “The Fflecsi service is utterly discriminatory - it’s ageist and excludes people who are not ofay with modern technology.

“The 34 bus route gave my two neurodivergent children independence- they knew where and when it ran and could access the train station and youth club in Machynlleth. The predictability was crucial for Autistic young teenagers who should be independent.”

The Fflecsi service is booked over the phone or via an app, however complaints were made that the internet and phone signal are patchy in the valley leaving some residents unable to book the service at all.

According to them, text alerts of their arriving bus are often received 10 to 20 minutes late.

A significant portion of the valley residents are aged 50-90, excluding many who do not feel confident in using an app, whilst staff at the call centre based in Pontypridd are unfamiliar with the valley’s geography, sending buses to the wrong pick-up points, and seem unaware of when buses are already booked.

Many complained that there was no system to notify other bus users whether a bus was booked, leaving the bus to be used by one person only whilst bus drivers refused passengers onto the bus who hadn’t booked.

A Corris Community Councillor stated the council was kept “completely in the dark” around the bus changes and was “fobbed off” by Cyngor Gwynedd.

The five-year contract for the Fflecsi service was brought in at the end of the previous contract period. According to Edwyn Jones, officer at Cyngor Gwynedd, the team “had no time” to consult residents, so were forced into quick decisions to offer residents “any bus service at all”.

The panel called for feedback to be given at the meeting, advertised as a ‘drop-in session’, so they could be taken away and addressed where possible.

Mr Jones said: “I don’t disagree with anything anyone’s said. I can’t use apps myself, I can barely change the telly. We want to make it work.

“Unfortunately the big picture is the number 34 was not environmentally or economically sustainable. We want to try and make the Fflecsi service more attractive and more used by people than the 34.”