Res­i­dents’ anger over changes to city bus route

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

OUT­RAGED res­i­dents feel that changes to a Cardiff bus route have “de­stroyed” their area.

Res­i­dents in the Thorn­hill area have com­plained that re­cent changes to a NAT Group ser­vice route are “un­ac­cept­able” and have ques­tioned its safety.

The amended X8 bus ser­vice now trav­els through the res­i­den­tial roads of Launcelot Cres­cent and Camelot Way, away from Ex­cal­ibur Drive.

NAT Group said it has had both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive feed­back on the change, and said staff have been sub­ject to “to­tally un­ac­cept­able” abuse since.

Dr Nat­acha Ip­seiz, who lives on Launcelot Cres­cent, said: “In­stead of go­ing on Ex­cal­ibur Drive, it [the X8] is now go­ing through Launcelot Cres­cent and Camelot Way, re­ally nar­row roads.

“These streets were, un­til Tues­day April 3, re­ally peace­ful and quiet.

“Peo­ple were walk­ing stress­less, chil­dren were walk­ing to school on their own.

“NAT group has com­pletely de­stroyed this area, with­out even no­ti­fy­ing the res­i­dents be­fore.

“These streets in­sane.”

Res­i­dent An­thony Thirion said the sit­u­a­tion was “un­ac­cept­able” and he was pre­pared to stop buses in the street as a protest.

He said: “These roads are quiet, nar­row res­i­den­tial streets un­suit­able for buses.

“Many chil­dren walk to school us­ing these streets and are now in dan­ger of be­ing hit by buses. There is no need at all to drive them along these streets.”

The X8 ser­vice runs ev­ery 15 min­utes dur­ing the day, six days a week, and ev­ery 30 min­utes on Sun­day.

NAT Group manag­ing di­rec­tor Kevyn Jones said the change has stirred up “strong feel­ings” which has led to “mis­in­for­ma­tion and ru­mours”.

Mr Jones said: “In terms of the rout­ing, there is ab­so­lutely noth­ing il­le­gal or im­proper about the route of the X8.

“It was changed to ben­e­fit our cus­tomers by giv­ing wider cov­er­age of Thorn­hill.

“We his­tor­i­cally op­er­ated a num­ber of school bus ser­vices along this route with far larger ve­hi­cles than what’s used on the are now com­pletely X8, and there are no spe­cific safety is­sues along this route what­so­ever.

“We op­er­ate in far nar­rower res­i­den­tial streets than this both within Cardiff and through­out South Wales.”

Mr Jones also crit­i­cised Cardiff coun­cil’s in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion for the lack of aware­ness of the route change.

The bus com­pany said it would send a ques­tion­naire to af­fected res­i­dents, and once the dead­line for re­sponses had passed, it would meet with the coun­cil’s trans­port team and lo­cal coun­cil­lors and AMs to dis­cuss the re­sults.

Mr Jones said the com­pany would de­cide what ac­tion to take, if any, af­ter the meet­ing.

He added that ev­ery X8 driver would be spo­ken to so they “ex­er­cise cau­tion” while driv­ing fol­low­ing con­cerns of chil­dren play­ing in the road.

Labour coun­cil­lor Phil Bale for Llan­ishen said: “Most peo­ple think that NAT should have en­gaged with the com­mu­nity be­fore they im­ple­mented it.”

He added: “I very much wel­come and look for­ward to the con­ver­sa­tion fol­low­ing the ques­tion­naire.”

Cardiff coun­cil said NAT does not need per­mis­sion from the coun­cil, but it is re­quired to check any traf­fic reg­u­la­tions re­lat­ing to road safety, and that the Traf­fic Com­mis­sioner must be no­ti­fied of any route changes.

A spokesman said: “The coun­cil has also re­ceived a copy of the ap­pli­ca­tion when the new route was reg­is­tered with the Cen­tral Li­cens­ing Of­fice in Leeds.

“Op­er­a­tors are also ad­vised by the Traf­fic Com­mis­sioner to dis­cuss their pro­pos­als with the lo­cal au­thor­ity re­gard­ing timetable in­for­ma­tion, bus stops and lo­cal in­for­ma­tion. Coun­cil of­fi­cers have car­ried out a site visit and agreed where the bus stops will be lo­cated, which in­cluded a health and safety assess­ment.

“The coun­cil also at­tended the pub­lic meet­ing and lis­tened to con­cerns from res­i­dents and will con­tinue to work with all con­cerned to make im­prove­ments.

“We will also work with New Ad­ven­ture Travel (NAT) to en­sure that bus driv­ers abide by the speed lim­its.”

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