CHANGES to a long-distance bus service will leave a village centre off-route.
Bus operators Arriva are making some changes to “improve the punctuality” of the X94 Trawscambria service next week.
The bus serves Llangollen, Corwen and Bala, running from Wrexham to Barmouth and back.
But not everyone is happy with the changes. From August 18 villagers in Llandderfel, near Bala, will have to walk to a stop by the war memorial outside the village as the bus will no longer enter the village centre.
Gwynedd County Cllr for Llandderfel, Elwyn Edwards, said he had been approached by a number of “very worried” residents.
In a letter to Arriva, he said: “It will cause hardship for a number of elderly people in the village, they will have to walk about half a mile or more to meet the bus in all weather and there is no bus shelter at your new proposed pick up point, nor is there room to put one there.
“It seems to me that this is a penny pinching exercise by Arriva as you are not going to save thousands of pounds by not driving to the village.
“Also it shows your complete disregard for the wellbeing of the residents of Llandderfel.”
He told the Free Press he had timed how long it currently took the bus to get from the current stop to the proposed one outside the village.
“It’s one minute and forty five seconds away,” he said.
“They’re saying it’s dangerous to turn around in the village but they’ve been turning around there for 30 years, there’s no problem.”
Meanwhile users travelling from Aberystwyth and changing to the X94 in Dolgellau may face more than a two hour wait.
The X94 bus to Wrexham leaves Dolgellau at 9am, but is due to change to 8.54am - a minute before the service from Aberystwyth arrives.
The next bus to Wrexham is not for another two hours and 18 minutes.
Regular user Gwen Evans, of Ruthin, said: “At the moment the service is very effective, allowing me five minutes to get from one bus to the other. “This new service will leave me stranded in Dolgellau for 140 minutes.
“This is called the Trawscambria because it’s meant to serve the whole of Wales – that won’t be the case any more.”
North Wales Plaid AM Llyr Gruffydd raised the matter with the Transport Minister for Wales, saying: “There doesn’t seem to be any joined-up thinking in terms of connections.
“This is why we need a public transport policy for Wales that considers the needs of bus users rather than the convenience of bus operators.”
A spokesperson for Arriva Buses Wales said: “From the 18 August 2013 there will be a number of changes along the X94 route in order to improve the punctuality of the service.
“In Llandderfel there was an additional issue to address as the bus was required to make a potentially dangerous manoeuvre to exit the village.
“We know from recent correspondence from our customers, local councils and Bus Users UK, that punctuality and reliability of a service are a priority for our customers, and we need to take reasonable steps to ensure that the routes we use allow us to run to timetable.
“Changes to the route will inevitably change timing points along the route too. We apologise to our customers who are adversely affected by any changes. “In order to improve punctuality without any changes, we would need to put more resource in to operating the service.
“This service is operated on a commercial basis with no public subsidy and we are not in the position provide the additional resource required.
“However, we would be willing to work with the local authority if they were able to offer support.”