Arriva accused of “scaremongering” as drivers tell passengers a vital service through Deeside is being cut
A bus company has been accused of “scaremongering” over the scrapping of vital bus services in Flintshire.
The Arriva Wales 12 and 13 buses which serve large part of Deeside including the community hospital are set to be cut next month according to Flintshire County Council leaving many users facing long walks to catch alternative services.
Several bus users have reportedly been told by drivers that the service is being cut.
Speaking to Deeside.com, Cllr Sean Bibby said one local resident reported to him their bus stopped at Ash Grove in Shotton, the bus driver then made an announcement to the all the passengers that the service is being axed.
Cllr Andy Dunbobbin has been told of similar cases, he tweeted: “I’ve had numerous people mentioning this to me @arrivabuswales Would you please make a public apology to our residents? It’s scaremongering.”
In response to Cllr Dunbobbin ^SJ – Arriva’s social media person said: “Hi Andy sorry that passengers feel as though they are not informed enough however in regards to service changes there are updates on our website in our service update pages.”
One local resident Helen Brown said: “They [Arriva] are telling their customers that the service 12 is mostly used by the elderly with bus passes so not cost-effective, They are blaming the council for not paying enough for the bus pass concession”
Cllr Bibby said: “I have been contacted by residents very concerned about comments being made by bus drivers regarding No.12 & 13 Arriva services.
Drivers are saying the services are being withdrawn and for passengers to contact their Councillors “To ask why”.
Arriva’s No.12 and 13 Service are wholly commercial and not in receipt of any bus subsidies, as such Flintshire County Council has no say in how both services are run.”
Its understood a petition has been signed by those likely to be most affected in the Higher Shotton area while a public meeting to discuss the axing of the service has been organised in Mancott.
WITHDRAWAL OF Nos 12 & 13 BUS SERVICE
PUBLIC MEETING WEDNESDAY 13th MARCH 12.00 NOON@DeesideDotCom @SandycroftCP pic.twitter.com/V46m4VCysh
— Mancot Com Library 🏴 (@mancotlibrary) February 26, 2019
Arriva Buses Wales hasn’t confirmed the 12 and 13 services are being cut on its website, it has however confirmed some 11A buses running between Mold, Flint, Queensferry and Chester will no longer operate from 1 April 2019
“We regret to advise that from Monday 1 April 2019, 11A evening journeys from Chester at 8.45pm, 11.00pm and from Mold at 7.17pm and 9.50pm will be withdrawn.” The website states.
Flintshire County Council’s Chief Officer for Streetscene and Transportation, Steve Jones, told Deeside.com on Friday:
“The Council does have concerns over the reduction in the number of commercial bus services which have been announced over the past few weeks but does not have any input into these decisions, as a bus operator can start, alter or withdraw any commercial service as they see fit, by providing the Traffic Commissioner with the required notice period.
“The Council has been informed that Arriva intends to withdraw the No 12/13 bus service from 28 April 2019 and officers are currently reviewing the impact of the announcement to be able to advise residents on any potential alternative bus routes that can be used, once this service is removed.
Where no alternative bus service is available, the Council will work with the affected communities to look at options to introduce affordable and sustainable Local Travel Arrangement to link passengers to main hubs in town centres or to the core bus network for onward journeys.”
Deeside.com has attempted to get a comment from Arriva Buses Wales via its public relations firm Smoking Gun PR, they are yet to reply however the Local Democracy Reporter service has been more successful.
Arriva spokesman told them: “We can confirm that from 28th April 2019, the number 12 service will be withdrawn and the number 13 will only run between Chester and Mold via Buckley and Nat Mawr Road in both directions.
“Despite giving much thought on how to save the service, due to low passenger numbers it is no longer commercially viable to operate, and we would like to sincerely apologise to passengers for any inconvenience caused.”
Meanwhile Arriva’s social media bod ^SJ was tweeting: “nothing has yet been confirmed please keep an eye on our website ‘service updates section’ for further information.”
An email seen by Deeside.com from an Arriva customer service advisor states: “The Chester depot have confirmed that at the end of April, the 12 service will be withdrawn. The 13 service will go back to the old 3 service, with a few additions, full details of which are to be confirmed.”
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