Coronavirus: Cancelled buses leaving Ogmore Valley 'under curfew'

bus stopImage source, Getty Images
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People in Ogmore Valley feel cut off because there are no bus services in the evening

Residents of Ogmore Valley say they have been forgotten and are living under a "curfew" since their evening bus service was cancelled in March.

People said they had been cut off and isolated since First Cymru stopped buses after 17:30 BST when lockdown began.

Some key workers said they could not get to work as replacement taxis were too expensive.

First Cymru warned full services were unlikely to return soon.

Carer Amanda Jane Jones, part of the Better Buses for Ogmore Valley campaign group, said people had been "cut off".

"We have been called the forgotten valley," the 55-year-old, who lives in Nant-y-Moel, said.

"It's isolating but there is nothing you can do about it.

"It's like there is a curfew to be able to go to Bridgend."

Image source, family photo
Image caption,
Amanda Jane Jones said Ogmore Valley had been "forgotten"

Care worker Lisa Cinderby, 46, said key workers were unable to get to their jobs because of the situation.

"This is impacting my job, I've always used the evening bus to get to work," she said.

"The price of a taxi is too high. It's £30."

Ms Cinderby does not finish work until 22:30.

Huw Irranca-Davies MS and Chris Elmore MP have written to First Cymru and said they would "continue to work on this".

First Cymru said it cancelled the evening service on 29 March because of "financial reasons related to the Welsh Government's lockdown restrictions".

It said discussions between bus operators and the Welsh Government about support were "ongoing" so service levels could be upped and buses brought back in selected areas from September.

The firm said it was "acutely aware" services were essential to many but it had to be "realistic".

A spokesman added: "Current vehicle capacity restrictions regarding the number of passengers we can carry safely and enable social distancing on our vehicles make it unlikely that we are able to return to full service levels in every area where we operate anytime soon."

Bridgend Council said private bus firms relied on "sufficient passenger numbers" to make routes cost effective.

The Welsh Government said coronavirus had put "significant pressure" on public transport.

"We have provided significant financial support to bus operators during the pandemic, most recently last week's announcement of a further £10m to ramp-up services as our economy reopens and schools return in September," a spokesman said.