Residents’ anger over changes to city bus route
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.”