Monmouthshire County Council are to reinstate the bus services between Chepstow and Monmouth after plans to axe the first and last services on the 65 Bus caused uproar from students and workers.

Parents and students highlighted the difficulties they will face getting to and from school or work if those bus services were to be cancelled altogether.

Catrin Maby the County Councillor responsible for bus services she has confirmed that the 7am 65 Bus from Chepstow to Monmouth and the 5.30pm from Monmouth to Chepstow will be reinstated from Monday 8th April.

A parent of a student who uses the buses told the Beacon that the early morning 7am Chepstow to Monmouth service which some of the 6th formers use, is the only way of getting to school if their parents can’t take them.

Mrs Susie Fudge said “There isn’t always a space on the school bus given post-16 concessionary school transport and 6th formers come way down the list”.

Chepstow resident Diane Collins said she would lose two days of work as she catches the first bus from Chepstow which gets her to Monmouth before 7.45am so she can get the early bus to Ross, “then when I get back to Monmouth, I catch the 5.30pm bus service home but this now means I will have to give my job up in Ross,” she said.

The service has been run by Monmouthshire for many years but has been put out to tender and will be run commercially by Newport Bus (the operating name of Newport Transport Limited) from April 1. 

Trellech resident Caroline Roberts added that her son was in college at Cardiff, but “he won’t be able to get back if this happens and if my daughter goes to an after school club, she won;t be able to get back either as I will be at work

“For many, the first service is vital,  if they need to cut services, cut one in the middle of the day,” she added.

The proposed changes were condemned by the County Councillors for Mitchel Troy and Trellech, Richard John and Jayne McKenna, and by the County Councillor for Devauden, Rachel Buckler. 

Cllr Rachel Buckler said, “We are very concerned about the impact of these changes on residents getting to and from work or school, but also on the sustainability of the service.  The Council claims to be committed to tackling climate change but preventing people using the bus for work or school will result in more cars on the road, reduce public transport use and increase carbon emissions.” 

Cllr Jayne McKenna said, “This is a much loved service, which is a lifeline for so many residents in rural communities.  We have spoken to residents who will not be able to get to and from work as a result of these changes as well as school pupils who will be forced to give up after school extra-curricular activities to get the earlier bus. 

Cllr Maby said it is in no way MCC's intention to lose any bus services, what they want to do is increase them – but they are totally dependent on Welsh Gov funding to do this, and have to compete for funds with everything else. 

She added that it's difficult to argue the case of low usage services like the 7am and 5.30pm, but the county council is concerned about tackling rural isolation.  Usage data will continue to be monitored to determine the proven demand for these buses and she therefore strongly encourages everyone to make use of these services so that they can be secured for the longer term.