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Plea to keep buses running on rural Anglesey routes

FEARS over the ending of an “essentially important” scheme to keep buses running on Anglesey has prompted council action.

The Welsh Government’s Bus Emergency Service (BES3)  support is due to end on July 24.

It has sparked concerns that many rural routes could be axed leaving island residents, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, cut off.

During a meeting of the Anglesey County Council full council meeting on Tuesday (May 23) an appeal went out for the Government to revisit its plan to end the funding.

A Notice of Motion was proposed by Ynys Gybi Councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas.

“We are calling on Welsh Government to re-visit the decision to bring the BES3 financial assistance to an end on July 24, 2023, for public buses.” he said.

“This funding is of essential importance to safeguard bus services on the island.

“During Covid the Government realised a lot of bus services would go bust without assistance.”

“BES3 was supposed to come to an end in October, but if BES3 is cut, we will lose 35 – 50 percent of bus services.”

“Public buses are crucial for communities and usually it is the most vulnerable who rely on these services.

“These are the ones who miss out in cuts, the elderly, young people, those who can’t afford a car, they need these services to get to shops, to work, to socialise, to see the doctor.”

He also highlighted the lack of carers on the island saying a lack of bus services would “add to that issue.”

The same bus services that “took young people to colleges and schools” and he pointed out the island had a lot of small bus companies.

“Public services are different in rural areas of Anglesey than in Swansea, Cardiff or the Valleys,” he said.

Although “glad” that the Government was looking at the issue, he called for it to support bus companies and “to understand the importance and difference of arranging buses in rural areas.

“We want make sure they are funded with core money, it is impossible to plan ahead with the current system, not know what money is coming.” He said.

He also “looked forward” to working with the Government to “move forward” with the issue.

Cllr Aled Morris Jones was ” happy to support the motion,” and  hoped the Welsh Government was listening, and that there would not be a BES4 –  but instead “a long term transport policy.”

“We  have lost a lot of big employers on the island, people have to travel further for work,  transport has to work for people trying to get to work.

“We also want to reach carbon targets for Wales and UK, public transport has a huge part to play.”

Council leader Llinos Medi was happy to support the proposal saying

“The council is always to blame when buses are cut – but people need to realise it is not our decision, those decisions happen far, far away from Anglesey.”

Cllr Jeff  Evans also supported the motion, saying rural life was going to be “decimated.”

The motion was seconded by Seiriol ward councillor Gary Pritchard, and unanimously agreed by the council