AFTER months of anxiety for those who cross the Pentre Bridge for work, Swansea Council has finally agreed to put on a bus to link Gorseinon and Pontarddulais. The announcement was made at the eleventh hour – just days before the bridge over the railway line at Grovesend is closed for six months so that Network Rail can carry out strengthening work.
Many residents living at either end of the route but who work in the other town, have been unsure of how they would be able to reach their workplaces if no alternative bus service was put on.
I was contacted by residents some months ago and since then I have been in touch with Network Rail, with the bus companies, with Bont councillor Kevin Griffiths and also with Swansea Council. The two bus companies involved decided that the eight mile diversion put in place by Network Rail made the route unviable as it would take much longer and also cost more to run so they ducked out of running alternative services.
Network Rail, despite pressure from myself and Swansea Council, refused to provide any funding for the bus service arguing that it was not in their remit. Both parties are also less than enthusiastic about creating a section of safe walking/cycling route over the bridge despite demand from residents. What a contrast to Mayals where residents are opposed to the Council felling 19 trees to create a cycle route!
Swansea Council has now come forward with plans to operate one of its own mini-buses which can deal with the hump back bridge on an alternative route via Alltygraban Road. Social distancing will of course reduce the mini bus’s capacity so it remains to be seen if the bus they are able to run will also be able to accommodate all those who wish to travel.
The timetable sees the first bus leave Pontarddulais at 6.49am arriving half an hour later in Gorseinon. Buses then run at hourly intervals in both directions with the last bus leaving The Bont at 10.05pm and leaving Gorseinon at 10.50pm - but always check for changes.
Services will run from this week until April when work on the bridge is due to be completed. The service will link into routes running to and from Swansea and to and from Gowerton.
For the plan to succeed, the minibus needs to be used. With Covid restrictions still in place, independent traders have worked hard to make their businesses Covid compliant. Maybe think about catching the bus a few miles up the road to check out the shops in either town, get a bit of fresh air and give Amazon a miss.