Councillors in Caerphilly Town Council have cautiously welcomed Stagecoach’s decision to bring back the Heath Hospital service – albeit on a six-month trial.
In August, the bus company announced that the Number 25 Caerphilly to Cardiff service would be axed and replaced with an extended 86 service.
But since then, Stagecoach has confirmed it will re-introduce the service on a trial period from January 2020. However, councillors have expressed their concern over the revived service running hourly, instead of every half an hour like the original service.
Town councillor Simon Morgan said: “We fully support local residents who are campaigning for the full reinstatement of the service.
“I was supported by the town council at it’s September meeting, when I proposed that the council write to Stagecoach to protest to their decision. I have also been working with residents in raising another petition to reintroduce the full Number 25 Bus service.
“This decision is an admission that they have got it wrong. The whole process which led to the decision in the first place was clearly flawed and we need to look at how we can avoid the debacle of the last couple of months.”
Cllr Huw Jackson said: “Staff and visitors to the Heath hospital were confronted with an hourly journey, while shoppers reported journeys into Cardiff centre of one and a half hours.
“Instead of getting people out of their cars and into buses, the decision led to the opposite.
“The Number 25 bus service, which was the only direct public transport link from Caerphilly to the Heath, must be fully reinstated.”
Cllr Jamie Pritchard said: “Having worked closely with local residents, Hefin David AM and Wayne David MP to campaign against the withdrawal of the number 25, it’s pleasing to see progress.
“However, only when public transport Is fully nationalised will it be possible to undo the damaging cuts to bus routes since privatisation took hold in the 1980s. We will keep up the fight.”
South Wales East AM Delyth Jewell said she is glad the service has been reintroduced, but said Stagecoach “must realise that reinstating half of the buses is only half of a solution.
“I look forward to talking to the company and making the case to them that the people who rely on this bus route deserve more than half of a service.”
Meanwhile, Caerphilly AM Hefin David and MP Wayne David met with transport bosses after the service was axed to urge them to reconsider.
Dr David AM said: “Stagecoach have gone some way to recognising the political and public pressure we’ve sought to bring with this campaign and their decision to reinstate a service from Caerphilly to UHW, which will also include a stop at Thornhill Crematorium, is an improvement.”
Wayne David MP welcomed the move, but added that it is too early to say whether Stagecoach has had a “real change of heart”.