- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Categories: Feature, Media
ARRIVA Buses could perform a dramatic U-turn and carry on in Aberystwyth, if it can renegotiate its contract for the area, according to an Assembly Member.
Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson met Unite union representatives from the bus company, Nigel Hughes and Steve Howard, last week.
Forty-six jobs are under threat at the Arriva depot on Park Avenue, Aberystwyth, after the firm said it was pulling out on 21 December.
The firm deregistered three commercial routes last week and the Welsh Government must now either issue a stop-gap contract of three or six months, or issue a new five-year tender on the routes.
Ms Watson said the 46 drivers, bus engineers, administration workers, managers and cleaners who could be affected were all skilled people and it was “a big loss to the area”.
“But the issue that came up was that Arriva is still interested in running the services,” she said.“The problem is the contract, but if they can renegotiate it they might be willing to carry on. That 21 December date is fast approaching and it’s the worst time to lose a job.
”Arriva’s union representative Nigel Hughes said routes had lost money over the last 18 months and that smaller companies might have folded much earlier.
He said: “The company wrote to the Welsh Government in August warning they were struggling, but did not receive a reply. It will be the end of an era if Arriva goes.
“As a company they pay well, have a good pension scheme and an excellent health and safety policy, but the problem is we’ve got city managers trying to run a rural depot.”
Ms Watson AM also met with the Rural Areas Need Transport group and one woman from Temple Bar who had just got a job and relies on Arriva to get to work. “Any disruption would affect her greatly,” she said.
Click here for the full story, or see this week’s Aberystwyth edition of the Cambrian News