It’s a question I’ve been asking for more than 20 years and I still don’t have a definitive answer. Without knowing who’s responsible, it’s impossible to find out who to ask to come and clean them and put up correct information.

In Ceredigion I’ve understood there to be three kinds of shelter owners, Transport for Wales (TfW), Ceredigion County Council (CCC) and Community Councils. Faenor Community Council found itself in the surprising position of having one of its shelters replaced without anybody asking them. Who made the decision to do this?

When it comes to updating information, the story gets even more complicated as other organisations are involved. I went spinning on a merry-go-round a year ago when I realised the electronic information in Aberaeron was wrong. Dutifully I phoned CCC’s Corporate Public Transport Unit (CPTU) to be told it was TfW’s responsibility who in turn informed me it was Traveline Cymru’s job who circled me back to CPTU where someone else explained to me the workings. It’s complicated, bear with me. An operator registers a service with the Traffic Commissioner and sends the approved details to Traveline Cymru, who send it to TfW who have a contracted out firm that updates the electronic timetables. Many opportunities exist for things to go wrong especially when different computer systems are used that aren’t necessarily compatible.

These electronic timetables are expensive and only tell you what time a bus is due, not when you get to your destination, nor what time you can return. Should a bus be late, it simply vanishes from the display.

There are some paper timetables distributed round the county, most of them completely out of date, even back as far as 2012. For those not familiar with our despicable state of affairs, such as tourists, confusion reigns.

What about the shelters themselves? Many are inadequate. In Aberaeron and Aberystwyth you’ll end up wet as soon as it rains. South of Aberaeron most shelters haven’t seen a cleaning cloth for more than a decade. And many places don’t have a shelter whatsoever. Of course we do have a fantastic shelter that bucks the trend. It’s at Bow Street Station but no longer in use. Passengers have to stand by the side of the road instead so that the T2/T28 can save two minutes on its schedule.

Train passengers are never treated in such a shameful manner. Bus passengers, many of them the more disadvantaged members of society, are treated like second class citizens. In Ceredigion it feels more like third class. In a meeting I attended a few weeks ago with representatives from TfW, the Welsh Government and Bus Users’ Cymru, it was admitted that Ceredigion ranks among the two worst counties in Wales for services to bus passengers.

 There’s an organisation in Ceredigion called Ceredigion Bus Action (CBA), of which I’m an active member, that has offered to clean shelters and put up correct information. It seems such a simple thing, volunteers  bring their own buckets and brooms, make the shelters welcoming to visitors, encouraging more people to get out of cars and travel by bus instead.  CBA faces opposition in all sorts of ways, legal, health and safety, and most of all, a lack of information as to who is actually responsible so we can ask permission.

I haven’t even started on the level of service provision. Better, safer shelters will promote more bus use so that lack of passenger numbers cannot be used as an excuse to run services down even more. So, can somebody in authority give us a simple answer to my question, who is responsible?